If your windows are smaller or longer than average, you may have trouble buying off-the-shelf window dressings, check out these money-saving hacks to get around the problem.
I have always admired Lucy Tiffney's designs and was super excited when she teamed up with Next to create a reasonably priced capsule collection for Next Home. Unfortunately, however, the curtains I wanted for my living room were too short, but I had an idea. I ordered them and set about lengthening them.*
And, here is the finished result. I added a green header fabric which covered the eyelet holes and fixed a liner and tape for curtains hooks at the back. Best not look too closely at the stitching, which was half done by hand and half with a sewing machine, but I'm pleased with the result. And so is Domino Dog! It was also a fraction of the cost of having them made bespoke.
If you have the opposite problem and find that off-the-shelf curtains are too long for your windows, you could shorten them by cutting off part of the excess at the bottom and hemming them to the desired length. Another great curtain hack for bespoke curtains on a budget.
*The curtains were gifted by Next
The best living room stools
Now, it's unlikely that you can squeeze an extra sofa into your lounge, but you might just have the space for a comfy stool. This Ripley drum stool from Dormy House is available in three sizes and multiple colours and you can even have it upholstered in your own fabric. It's perfect to pull out as an extra seat when entertaining; and when you're not, it becomes a cosy foot rest or additional perch for books or nibbles.
As you can see through the legs of this Perch Upholstery stool into the room beyond, it helps to create that illusion of space that you're forever chasing. Although, if you wanted to make it more stylised and a useful storage area too, you could pop a few small books in a pile under the legs or a neat stack of magazines.
This stool with an on-trend metallic base also contains a useful storage space beneath its seat. Useful for toys, chargers or arts and crafts materials.
Clever WFH hidden desks
Working from your tiny home and desperate for a smallish or even secret workstation that is hardly noticeable when not in use? This guide to secret desks is just what you need
Wall-hung secret desks
It looks like a chalk board and in this mode it is a chalk board and can be used as one. But the front of this wall-hung Phoenix Desk unit from Amazon folds down and folds out to rest on the floor to become a fantastic WFM secret desk.
It even conceals a storage area that will hold a small laptop, booksand stationary, so all trace of your work can be hidden away at the end of the day. It's reasonably priced and can double up as a kitchen table too.
Click on the image above to see the transformation.
Designed to look like a suitcase with a soft upholstered front, this wall-hung hidden desk drops down to reveal a roomy desk area and a storage support for a laptop and books, plus there is a slit for cables to be fed through. Designed by Gam Fratesi for Ligne Roset, you can find much cheaper hidden desks than this one, but here you will be buying a design classic that could well become a collectible in the future.
This SoBuy wall-mounted desk from Amazon doesn't quite fit within the hidden desks category, but with the laptop removed it appears to be a regular bookshelf, so it's one of those secret desks in plain sight.
As wall-mounted desks can be positioned at any height, they make great standing desks too. Just position them at the height you need to stand rather than sit.
Bespoke hidden desk ideas
It may cost more, but when you really want to maximise the space you have the best option is often to go bespoke. This secret desk and home office is cleverly concealed within a bank of kitchen units.
Similar bespoke hidden desk ideas could work equally well in a bedroom, hallway or living space too. Plus, when you go bespoke you can have the desk built to your exact height requirements and choose the mix of shelving and drawers to fit your particular storage needs.
Hidden home office armoire
You can also find a range of traditional and contemporary hidden home office stand-alone units. You can choose the paint colour, notice board fabric and handles for the armoire shown above from Dormy House, which also comes with cut outs to thread cables through.
Hidden sideboard desk
When the top is pushed in on this sideboard desk, it looks like a standard sideboard. When it's pulled out it turns into a desk top with a hidden office storage organiser beneath. While two drawers and two cupboards flank the central display shelf beneath. At less than £200, this modern sideboard desk is good value too.
The new season's sofas have landed. We've trawled the world to find the very latest best sofas for compact living spaces. Sofa.com's Isla has a timeless classic beauty and could you get any plumper upholstery? We love the natural linen colour too, but if you fear it being too difficult to keep clean, don't worry it comes in a host of other hues. Plus, the covers are removable for washing too.
The raised legs will make your room feel larger, but don't overdo the cushions, it will make your space feel more crowded.
Another super snugly sofa in on-trend mustard, Rose & Grey's Mabel sofa also comes in a rainbow of colours. Plus, it's stylishly raised off the floor and it has neat little low arms so that the eye can easily see under and and around it, helping to enhance the illusion of space.
Did you ever see a more aptly named sofa? Loaf's Layabout Sofa Squidger. It's a hug in a seat and with no hard edges, it's a winner for anyone that is easily bruised. It's bulky, but at just 167cm wide, it's quite weeny. Nevertheless, with people perched on those squidgy arms it should still seat four, more or less comfortably. When it's just being hogged by you, it will be difficult to drag yourself out of this one to bed at the end of an evening!
Raised elegantly off the floor with mid-century modern style slim legs, this curvy number from Oliver Bonas manages to look sophisticated and cosy simultaneously. What's not to love? Coming in at just under £900, it's pretty affordable too.
Discover how to choose a sofa for a small room
Space-saving dining tables
You probably won't find all of these super space-saving features in one dining table, but if you can find a space-saving dining table with one or more of these features, you will free up valuable space in your small home
Pedestal dining tables
Pedestal dining tables that balance on a single central column are not only space-saving dining tables they are space enhancing too, meaning that they will make your eating area appear a little larger than it is.
As there are no legs around the outside of a pedestal dining table, you can sit more people and fit more chairs comfortably around it.
The lack of legs also means that you can see more of the room behind a pedestal dining table too and the more you can see of a room the larger it feels.
Although most often matched with round or oval table tops, you can find more contemporary square and rectangular table tops being supported by a single pedestal as well. And you can find them in a host of different materials.
Extending dining tables
Extending dining tables are perfect for small homes that can't accommodate a largish table for the bulk of the time, but can on occasion for entertaining a crowd.
Look for extending dining tables that can store the extra leaves required for extending within the body of the table when they're not in use. You don't want to have to find a place to conceal them elsewhere in your home.
Extending console tables
Extending console tables are the latest take on the extending dining table design. These tiny tables, best placed against a wall, extend from a slim console table that would seat one at the most, to a long dining table that can be pulled out from the wall to seat twelve or more.
The extending console table shown above is the Mobili Fiver extendable console table, which grows up to 305cm. Click on the link to see how far it can grow. You won't believe how reasonable it is either!
Perfect if you live in a very small home and don't want to have to find room for a long dining table permanently. And, it can also double up as a desk. It's a win win.
Dining tables with drawers
Dining tables with drawers are invaluable where space and storage is tight. Drawers can be used to store cutlery, table mats, napkins or even a laptop, if your table doubles up as desk. More traditional dining tables with drawers styles tend to feature a drawer at each narrow end of a rectangular table. In more contemporary styles, like the one above, you'll often find drawers on the longer sides.
Drop-leaf dining tables
With drop-leaf dining tables, often also called gate-leg dining tables, the sides of the tables can be dropped down when not in use. You can then drop one or both of the leaves down when the table is not required fully extended and push the table against a wall to save space.
Drop-leaf dining tables date back to the sixteenth century and were particularly popular up until the 1950s, so if you're an antique or vintage furniture fan scour antique markets and car-boot sales for them.
The ten best extending dining tables
A fantastic and stylish extending table is hard to find, but I've done the searching for you. Here is my top ten of the best extendable dining tables
It's lovely to be able to entertain occasionally, even if you don't have much space. You might have to push some furniture around and ask your guests to bring their own chairs, but, even if it's just for a few hours, you should always be able to get several people around a table for a meal. The best way to achieve this is with a dining table that can grow.
1. The Lucia extending console table
Extending console tables that morph into dining tables are becoming popular at the top end of the market. I don't think it will be long until they start turning up in stores such as Ikea and Habitat.
This Lucia Multi-Function extending console table, shown above from Amazon, can sit neatly against a wall for use as a desk or console table, measuring 90cm wide by 50cm deep. When needed, its legs can then be telescoped out so that several more leaves can be added growing to 237cm deep, comfortably seating ten or more. There are three sizes in between too, for more intimate gatherings.
2. The Double Cross extending dining table
The Steuart Padwick Double Cross extendable dining table can also be pushed against the wall to be used as a wide console table or desk or perhaps a breakfast bar; but by folding out the double legs and flipping over the table top you have a dining table ready to feed a crowd. It's available with matching benches too and the legs can be painted in any colour of your choosing.
3. Como Black extending dining table
This slim-legged, fifties-style glam Como dining table extends from 130cm to 260cm. Although super comfy and sophisticated looking, the chairs displayed with it here are quite bulky. You could squeeze a few more bums around it if you opted for bench seating along each width.
More on space-saving benches
4. Skovby circular extending dining table
Round tables can grow too. The three leaves in the Skovby SM32 extending circular dining table are stored in its central column and there are no legs to get in the way of guests. In its compact form it seats six and grows to seat eight. It's available in several wood finishes.
5. Tulsa extending dining table
If you're looking to add an urban edge to your room, with its powder-coated metal U-shaped legs and reclaimed wood table top, the Tulsa extending dining table will do just that. When not required, the extension leaf can be hidden underneath the table top.
6. Vox Spot extending dining table
Not only can this table grow to three different sizes, up to 198cm, it also has a clever storage cubby hole, sold separately, which is ideal for storing condiments and cutlery or even a vase of flowers. The matching stools and bench come with integral drawers too.
7. Bonaldo Prora extending dining table
This smart glass-topped acid-treated dining table will never date and it comes in a variety of finishes and in two sizes: the largest of which will extend to 330cm. As it's supported from the centre, no diners will have to arrange their legs around this table's legs either, allowing you to squeeze a few more people around it.
8. Annecy extending dining table and chair set
This classic French farmhouse-style extending table is timeless. It grows from 140cm to 180cm and it comes with a set of chairs included. It's reasonably priced too.
9. Parquet Pie round extending dining table
This Parquet Pie round extending dining table from Loaf is our favourite small extendable dining table. It has a classic homely feel and converts from an intimate circular table to a cosy oval. It extends from 120cm to 165cm; officially growing from a four-seater to a six seater, but we reckon that you could get eight around it with a push and a shove. The leaf has to be stored separately, but you can stow it under a bed or sofa when not in use.
10. ercol for John Lewis Shalstone table
This sleek mid-century-modern-style table has rounded corners, which softens the design and helps to protect the head's of small children should they bump into them. Its description says it seats up to eight when fully extended from 170cm to 215cm, but we think you could squeeze two at the head and foot sides of this table too.
Stylish and practical glazed cabinets
Glazed cabinets will help your small space to feel larger. Find out why
Contemporary glazed cabinets
Open shelving makes a wonderful display area for crockery, glasses and vases that are just too pretty to be hidden away behind closed doors when not in use. The problem is, open shelves are also a dust trap. Glass-fronted furniture, such as this contemporary Large Norway Cabinet from Cox & Cox, is a much more functional option. And, because you can see inside the cabinet, it makes your space feel subtly larger and more spacious too.
Opt for semi-translucent glass if you only want to provide a teasing glimpse of what colourful items you have stored within. This industrial-style metal and glass cabinet from Vincent and Barn is fitted with linear fluted glass; as it is running vertically, it will help to make your room feel taller too.
Glazed cabinets don't only come in tall and thin shapes either, as this contemporary glass display cabinet from Rose & Grey demonstrates. Being raised up on elegant slim legs so that you can see the floor beneath, enhances the spacious feel in the room as well.
If you don't want everything your unit contains to be out on display, opt for a glazed cabinet that also comes with some hidden storage. This mid-century modern style unit from Cuckooland has two deep handless drawers beneath the main glazed area. Remember, glazed units take the eye further inside and help to add depth to even the smallest rooms.
Traditional glazed cabinets
For a more homely, period feel, look for a traditional glazed cabinet. The Halifax white storage cabinet, shown above, has a dresser-like look and works equally well in a dining room for books and chinaware, as it does in a bedroom, where colourful neatly stacked sweaters can be piled up behind its glass doors.
Corner glazed cabinets
Make a feature of a corner and increase your storage and display space with a triangular cabinet designed to fit snugly in to the corner of a room. The Florence Corner cabinet, shown above from Amazon, is available in four Farrow & Ballesque colourways: navy, grey, truffle and white, and it comes with a mix of hidden and glazed storage.
Glazed wall cabinets
Glazed cabinets can look great fixed to the wall too. This Homecharm International wooden glazed wall cabinet, shown above from Amazon, has panelled window-style cabinet doors on top and open shelving beneath and is particularly suited to a dining or kitchen area. Just check that your wall can take the weight of the unit and whatever you plan to store within it before purchasing.
Read on for 25 ways to make the most out of your small home
With more of us working from our little homes, a desk that we can hide away at the end of each working day is hugely beneficial when it comes to creating a work-life balance. The Arnie. M. hidden desk shelving system enables this and it looks great too
Designed in Manchester, England, the Workspace Arnie. M. desk is part of a frame-based wall storage system. The frame fixes to the wall and various inserts, such as the Arnie. M. desk, can then be slotted on to it and arranged to your own requirements.
The desk is particularly well suited to working from home, because when your working day is done, you can pack all your work equipment in to the main body of the desk, flip up the hinged table top and hide it all away. There is no constant reminder on display of all the work that you've still got to plough through. With this modular hidden desk shelving system you can forget about work as soon as you sign off for the night.
A modular flexible storage system
With this modular hidden desk shelving system, crafted from sturdy 18mm birch plywood, you can add additional hidden and display storage options underneath, on top and to the sides of the desk. Each unit is ordered bespoke, select the configuration that works best for your space: – the number of frames, door units, inserts and desk spaces – and that's what will be delivered to you.
This frame-based wall-storage system is smart enough to take up a living room or bedroom wall, and, in its most compact form, the hidden desk could be squeezed into a hallway or landing. It's a good option for a child or teen's bedroom too.
And, if your space is a little too small for the standard configurations you can talk to the designers about creating a smaller bespoke hidden desk shelving system. Plus, you can ask for it to be crafted in a specific colour.
The TV that looks like a painting
Finally it's been invented. The TV that looks like a painting. It means that your living space no longer has to be dominated by a big dark screen when the TV is not in use.
The Samsung Frame TV attaches to a bracket that fits it snugly to the wall and a single wire that attaches it to its 'set top' box. This wire can be chased into the wall, as has been done here. When the TV is in art mode, it displays art picked from the Samsung library, or photos or images from your own uploaded library.
Switch it to TV mode and you're ready to watch whatever you want. Up until now we've made do with a mini TV that sat on top of a sideboard, because I didn't want our compact living space taken over by a giant screen. I've gone for the Samsung Frame TV in the 43 inch size. Any larger and, even in art mode, it would overpower the relatively small wall. It is available starting at 32 inches.
The TV that looks like a painting is a winner for those who want to create a stylish compact living space that isn't dominated by a TV. Prices for the Samsung Frame TV start at around £500..
Hide a TV with art
Regular readers of this blog will know that when TVs are not in use, I think they should not be seen or heard. So, I am always interested to hear about stylish new ways to hide a TV screen. Check this out
Regular readers will also know that when I am not writing the Don't Cramp Our Style blog, I am working as a journalist and interior stylist. And, last week I was on a magazine shoot at a fantastic, but tiny cottage on England's south coast, and I came across this super hidden TV idea.
One of the homeowners of this property is an artist, and he dreamt up this idea to hide a TV with art. He creates a canvas that fits snugly over a TV, paints it with a wonderful image – seascapes are one of his signatures – and then uses it to hide the TV. When that TV is required, the lightweight canvas is simply lifted off the screen, the popcorn comes out and the film title rolls.
Why hide a TV with art?
There are other ways to hide a TV. I have a TV that can be made to look like a painting, but the Samsung Frame is pricey and, unless you are willing to subscribe to its premium artwork offering, the choice of artwork is limited. Plus, having the art on display on the Samsung Frame means keeping the screen always on, not the most environmentally friendly way to hide a TV.
Maybe I should have just invested my money more wisely in a cheaper TV and a not-too-pricey, bespoke, made-to-measure piece of artwork instead, a much more original hidden TV idea. If you want to hide a TV with art, use my contact page to get in contact with me and I can put you in touch with the artist.
Just be sure to always turn off your TV at the wall when it's hidden behind a piece of wall art.