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Helpful Styling Tips When Your Space (or Budget) Is Smaller Than Your Ideas

Leading interior designer Steve Cordony shares his expertise so you can create your dream home.
By Reema Hindi
May 06, 2022
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By Reema Hindi
May 06, 2022
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in partnership with

As the colder months approach and more days inside are on the horizon, you might be thinking it's time to give your pad a little refresh. Creating a beautiful living space will help you cherish more time spent at home — but actually creating that personal space can feel like a daunting task.

Sure, your Pinterest board is a work of art and you binge celebrity house tour videos on YouTube. But, when it comes to recreating that stylish feel in a small space or a rental (without dropping $400 on a cashmere pillow), it's hard to know where to begin.

Luckily, we have interior designer Steve Cordony on our side. In partnership with Samsung, Steve has given us some top tips to help you create the home of your dreams no matter how tight the budget or space you're working with is.

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START WITH A MOOD BOARD

Good news: your endless scrolling on Pinterest, TikTok and Instagram isn't all in vain. In fact, according to Cordony, this is step one for any design project.

"My approach is always the same. No matter if I am styling a tablescape or a whole house, I always mood-board reference images and visuals that create an overall concept, and subsequently blueprint, for the project," he says.

Collect your favourite design images to form your own aesthetic. Whether you are drawn to a colourful, eclectic style or you're more into neutrals and minimalism, creating a mood board will help you establish the look you are going for.

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DEVELOP YOUR OWN 'STYLE DNA'

While creating a mood board is an excellent way of getting inspired, it's important to not get too swept away with what's in vogue. "Just like your fashion choices, you should never try to be 'on-trend' rather than create your own unique style for your home," Cordony explains.

Sure, trends are fun. But if you're on a budget, it won't be worth investing in something that'll soon feel outdated. Instead, find styles that resonate with you personally and fit in with your lifestyle. Once you develop your own sense of style, you'll know how to adapt to changing design trends and create a space that is both contemporary and timeless.

As Cordony puts it: "Because I have a strong sense of my style DNA, I can allow these changes to develop and shift my work, but never alter it."

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FUSE THE PRACTICAL AND AESTHETIC

The most important element of design is ensuring your space coincides with your lifestyle. This means choosing a couch that elevates your space while being comfortable, not opting for fabrics that look nice but are impossible to clean, and having a functional space that suits your Netflix ritual.

Let's face it, the TV is a pretty central component of any home but can be tricky to style. "So many spaces I visit always try to hide it which often makes it look out of place," Cordony says.

With the option to have the legs on or off, Samsung's The Serif TV will easily adapt to your personal style. "The reality is television is part of most people's everyday lives. And with incredible technology and design options at our fingertips, styling an interior with the TV in mind, and thinking of it as a piece of art or sculpture, allows you to fuse practicality and aesthetics, which is the hallmark of a successful interior," Cordony explains.

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PLAY WITH LIGHT

For those working with a less-than-ideal smaller space, a few easy changes can brighten things up. Cordony's tip? "Keep it light! A white paint like Porters Popcorn or Dulux Vivid White instantly creates a crisp background to build your space and bounces light from wall to wall," he says.

And, don't forget the magic of the mirror. "Mirrors are my go-to tip for making spaces feel larger than they are, as well as choosing bigger furniture rather than petite pieces to mirror the smaller scale space".

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SMALL DETAILS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE

According to Cordony, simple changes can make a world of a difference when refreshing your space. "My biggest budget styling tip is hardware — think new door and joinery hardware. They will instantly lift any space and create a bold statement with a metallic accent," he says.

Cordony is also a believer in the basic rule of thirds to create layers and contrast in a space. Understanding placement can make a big difference to your space without breaking the bank.

"If you have amazing pieces but they're all spread out with no thought or consistency, then your eye has too many places to travel and often items get overlooked," he tells us.

Instead, he suggests making smaller scenes with contrasting objects. "Creating vignettes in the space and thinking about balance and layering is key to a well-curated interior".

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If you're looking to add a touch of designer aesthetic to your living space, check out the products Steve Cordony used in our recent styling videos. 

To find out more about Samsung's The Serif, created in collaboration with celebrated industrial designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, visit the Samsung website

Images: Jarrad Shaw

Published on May 06, 2022 by Reema Hindi

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