Daniel Hopwood | Architecture and Interior Design, London

Studio Hopwood
86 Gloucester Place
W1U 6HP :




Site Credits
Made by Six

British Institute of Interior Design Member
Small Footfall Maximum Impact

Small Footfall Maximum Impact

Small flat living can be pleasant, after all there is the convenience of having everything close to hand. Fancy a cup of tea in bed? The kitchen won’t be too far away.  Enjoy the smallness, by making it work for you. As a lover of living centrally the size of my flat is modest, let me show you how I replaced claustrophobia with comfort.
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If you can work on spatial planning, here is the main opportunity to make a space work well, both practically and visually, it will mean moving a few walls around though. Line up doorways so that the full stretch of the apartment can be seen. By being able to stand in the living room and see though the hall straight through into to the bedroom the flat will no longer feel so small. Aim for flexibility, open the kitchen to the living space but have sliding doors to separate them too. Pocket sliding doors are perfect for small flats. With doors being left open most of the time, what better than tucking them away out of sight.




Think hard about the furniture that you install. The key is to have less in order not use up valuable floor space. Question if you need a coffee table, instead use small side tables that can tuck under the base of the sofa, Tom Dixon and West Elm have a good range. I like to use furniture that is a little longer and slimmer than expected especially consoles and sideboards such as mine from Alternative. They stretch the eye making the room feel bigger. If you need a little space to display books, ornaments and family photos, try a simple a wall-mounted shelf to provide some extra surface area, without requiring any floor space.

Art should be large scale. One large painting, not a poster. Preferably on a stretched canvas, hung low, centred on the wall will create a focal point, a mood and doesn’t use any space up. The large scale deceives the eye to thinking the room is bigger.

Tips for small apartment living, London. Daniel Hopwood interior design. Daniel's apartment - corridor

Dramatic effect always work. Paint the hallway in a dark, colour including the ceiling, it will make what is normally a tight space feel cavernous. On entering the bedroom or living room it will feel bigger, higher and brighter heightening the contrast with the sultry hallway.  When decorating the main rooms, aim for a scheme that blends rather than contrasts. Try painting the skirting and other wood work the same colour as the walls. Avoid pure white paint as in this county it will always look cold. Paint Library have a clever range of paints which are tonal variations of the same colour. You could use them around the flat slightly altering the shade depending on how bright the room is.

If you have a low ceiling avoid using too many spot lights. Instead coffer the ceiling, that is boxing around the perimeter then back light with LED tape. This will make a room appear higher because of the backlighting and add a little sophistication. Alternatively fit LED tape behind a pelmet and light the curtains. Use rectangular shades rather than round on table lamps, mine are by Roberto Lazzeroni for Luminara. In small apartments, there’s no commodity more precious than floor space. One way to free up a bit more is to opt for wall or ceiling mounted lights over floor lamps. Hang over bedside tables or in the dark corners of a room. My bed side lamps are from Bert Frank.


Tips for small apartment living, London. Daniel Hopwood interior design. Daniel's apartment - bedroom

In a small flat decent storage will be crucial, to make use of every square inch you will have to splash out on bespoke joinery. Keep it simple though avoid too many details and try and make the units feel like they are floating. It is easily done, just set back the kick plates as far back as you can. Use bronzed mirror on doors for full effect or cover in vinyl wallpaper so that the units integrate into the overall scheme.

I like to use window treatments to manipulate the scale of a room. Rather than just dressing the window, I will dress the entire wall. I use voile because it is inexpensive which means I can be generous with it. I use Vescom York because it lets light in during the day but look metallic and expensive when lit at night. Alternatively I would just use roller blinds which match the wall colour and are concealed behind a mini pelmet.


Life is good in the centre of town if you are young or downsizing as the kids leave home. The West End could be your living room. Inevitably you won’t be living in a mansion but as said life can be good in small place, especially if you follow a few of tips.