Small Space Tip: How to Maximize Vertical Space


When you live in a small space, you need to maximize every inch. By that I don’t mean fill every inch, but rather, make smart use of every available bit of space. I talked a little about utilizing vertical space in my home tour video, so I thought today I would share some strategies for doing that. Check ’em out after the jump! 



Will from Bright Bazaar designed this room for a GMA segment, and he painted blush pink 2/3 of the way up the wall, leaving a white space on the top that appears to visually raise the ceiling height. Genius! I never would have thought of that.

A Tall Mirror


Mirrors are a great way to visually “trick” the eye into seeing a space as larger than it is…and a tall mirror – all the better! I like that this mirror has height, but since it’s delicate (rather than clunky), it doesn’t feel heavy or overwhelming. One mistake I sometimes see is a lot of giant, hulking storage pieces in a small space (like big armoires) – great for storage, but bad for imparting a spacious and airy feel. You can of course achieve this look on your own by leaning a tall mirror against a wall atop a dresser (be careful to stabilize it!), or simply hanging a tall mirror.

Wall-Mounted Lighting

bedroom upgrades-8393

Why use up floor space on something that you can hang on the wall? Or in my case, you don’t have any floor space so you use the wall. A swing-arm lamp is a great way of adding lighting without sacrificing precious space – plus they honestly just look great, adding a sense of permanence (even if they’re not built in, which if you’re in a rental, they probably won’t be).

Wall-Mounted Anything! 


Basically think about taking anything you would normally have taking up floor space, and putting it on the wall instead (within reason!). In this example from Lonny, small-space dweller Matthew Knowles puts his “bookshelf” onto the wall instead of letting it take up valuable square footage. It makes an incredible and modern design statement while also being practical.

Vertical Bookshelf

Small Space Decorating Ideas // Vertical Bookshelf

I love my vertical bookshelf so much – it’s super modern and unusual (well not in the blog world, but to regular people), and a perfect use of vertical space. This pic is from my home tour on Apartment Therapy – RIP, pink chair.

Tall Gallery Wall


A tall gallery wall draws the eye up, which is what you want to be doing in a small space. When I think of tall gallery walls, I can’t help but immediately think of Hanya Yanagihara’s NYC apartment, featured in Metropolitan Home and boasting one of the most epic gallery walls I’ve ever seen. On a hot pink wall. Across from an equally epic bookshelf. Be still my gallery-wall-bookshelf-loving heart.


(I realize this is not the best example because her loft apartment already has incredibly tall ceilings, but you get what I’m saying!).

Have you utilized vertical space in a unique way?

image sources: 1 2 3 4 and 5

Leave a Comment

  1. Will wrote:

    Fantastic post! I love the idea of a whole wall of books, and the gallery wall from ceiling to floor is SO dramatic! P.S. Thanks for the link love on my GMA segment! 🙂

    Published 9.8.16 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      You did an amazing job on it! And yes, an entire wall of books is my dream 🙂

      Published 9.9.16 · Reply
  2. Dorothy wrote:

    Great ideas for any space really. I never heard of painting just 2/3 of the way up but it really is making that ceiling look very high and very airy as a result. Thanks for a great post and photos.

    Published 9.8.16 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      Very true, these would be great for any space!

      Published 9.9.16 · Reply
  3. Phylicia wrote:

    I love your apartment! Where did you find the vertical bookcase? I’ve been wanting one forever, but can’t find the right one for my space.

    Published 11.30.16 · Reply
    • York Avenue wrote:

      Thank you! I got mine from Design Within Reach but it seems they don’t have it anymore…if you search “sapien bookcase” on Google a few options come up!

      Published 11.30.16 · Reply