DATE: 05/21/2015

It appears space is now a luxury – not a given.

The size of the average office has decreased by as much as 21 percent since the 1990s, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is often said innovation springs from necessity, and when it comes to office design this is no exception.

Numerous tools, furnishings and layout solutions have been adopted in recent years to maximize utility without sacrificing aesthetics. And hey, if a hipster in NYC can transform his 300 square-foot studio into the envy of his country-dwelling counterparts, why couldn’t you do the same with your workspace? Apply these core design principles to the decoration of your small office space and watch the magic unfold:

1. Maximize Horizontal Sight Lines

Sight Lines are what you see from any given point in a room; whether sitting at your desk or standing in an entryway. As your eyes “move” through the workspace, you want to feel like one thing flows into the next.

According to a 2011 study in the Journal of Environment and Behavior, horizontal area had the biggest effect on a room’s perceived level spaciousness. You can accomplish this by NOT obstructing view points (when possible)and by opting for “hidden” storage systems over “stacking” ones. Consider layering storage so its hidden underneath desks, along with other “below eye-level” compartments.

2. Choose The Right Colors

Choosing the right colors can go a long way toward enhancing the perceived size of your space. Professional designers have long known that lighter colors make small spaces seem bigger. Pastels, neutrals and whites are your best options. And don’t forget – the floor and ceiling are walls too. Choosing lighter colored flooring and overhead options can make the room appear even bigger!

Choose a monochromatic color scheme for your office’s furniture, rugs and accessories. Enhance the look by showcasing various shades and textures of your chosen color focus. Additionally, light has an enlarging effect on room spaces. Take advantage of natural light whenever possible and/or strategically placing soft lamps in darker areas.

3. Select Dual, “Multi-Purpose” Furniture

Get the most “mileage” out of your space, by electing for multi-purpose furnishings whenever possible. Fabric-covered file cabinets can double as chairs. Ottomans can function as “hidden” storage bins. And certain desks can be configured for sitting or standing, allowing room for more space when needed.

By carefully choosing fewer furniture pieces, you’ll be “forced” to make smarter choices that often result in more unique pieces. So, go ahead – make a statement!

4. Make Bold & Unusual Choices

  • Add a bold, large mirror to reflect light and color.
  • Erect custom whiteboard or chalk-paint walls for brainstorming.
  • Feature glass tables for a modern, streamlined look.
  • Sprinkle your workspace with a few “non-corporate” furnishings for a more innovative look.

Put these 4 tips into action and you’re well on your way to creating a hip, savvy office space for yourself, your employees and your clients.