Family Life Interiors

Olivine Life : Hacks For Small Space Living

When space is limited, practicality often takes precedence over style, but with a few design tricks, storage hacks and a little flair, you can have the best of both worlds. Victoria Gray and Taline Findlater, Founders of Olivine Life have shared their advice on small spaces with us.

Thank you ladies, take it away and enlighten us!


We love experimenting with colour, but it is important not to forget that lighter colours will give the illusion of space, whereas darker colours will give you a cosier feel. By painting your walls and ceilings a pale colour, the light will bounce around your room more effectively. Try different shades of the same colour to avoid it all looking too severe.

Paint & Paper Library have a clever range of paints that include five shades of the same colour – each with the same tone – so you can’t make any mistakes!

Farrow & Ball also offer guidance readily in their stores on varying shades of white that work well together and complement each other. With these, you can create a seamless transition between skirting, joinery, walls and ceiling, which makes for a more calming space. Having said that, if your space is lacking in natural light, don’t be scared to opt for a deeper colour – it may not give you the illusion of a larger room, but it can give you a warm cosy design that you may find works well for the space.



When you start to consider the layout of a room, think about who uses it, when they use it and what functional areas you need to include. It may be that your sitting room needs to have a work space or a dining area or even both. When you have mapped out these areas on paper, you can then begin to look more closely at the detail.

Avoid pushing all the furniture in the room against the wall – it limits your design and becomes one dimensional. Pull pieces into your room, for example armchairs, and then anchor a small table or floor lamp alongside, so that it doesn’t look like it’s floating on its own in the room. Look carefully at how you will move through the room and then avoid placing larger pieces in your path.



In a small space, you need to be practical about storage – make sure it is working hard for you. Less clutter will automatically lead to a calmer living space, and in turn this will make the room feel bigger.

When it comes to furniture, think smart and opt for beds with drawers underneath; side tables with shelving or upholstered rather than hard dining chairs as these can then be used as extra seating in the living room when you have guests over. If built-in shelving is an option for you, make sure it extends to the ceiling – this will draw the eye up and give the illusion of extra height in the room.

A low bookshelf can double up as additional counter space if you need it and shelves hung from the wall will free up more floor space. Don’t forget to make the most of space under a staircase by incorporating a cupboard, or under a window, where you can add a window seat. By making the most of every corner you have, you’ll instantly feel you’ve gained space.



Wall space is certainly your friend in smaller rooms, so make the most of it! And don’t forget the space above the doors and windows. Mirrors are ideal as they can double the feeling of space, so don’t be afraid to use more than one.

Add more character to the space by adorning your walls with pictures and paintings – group them together in clusters to create drama and impact. When determining where to hang your art, eye level is always the best place to start. If you’re feeling unsure about the layout, it always helps to lay it all out on the floor first before taking out the tool box!


You may already have carpet or wooden floors in your space, but you can always add rugs to help mark out functional areas in a room, such as a seating area and a dining area. Rugs also bring colour and texture to the space without impacting too much on the flow of the room.

Ideally, in a sitting room you want the front feet of your sofa just resting on the rug. However, if you can get a bigger rug that sits under all your furniture, you can create the illusion of a much bigger space.



For more information contact Caitriona Roy or 07970 164372

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