The Genius Space-Saving Technique HGTV's Hilary Farr Uses For A Small Space

Small spaces can present several challenges, including the conundrum of how to provide ample seating for guests while not overwhelming the room with sofas and chairs, which can physically and visually take up a lot of space. In an episode of HGTV's "Love It or List It, " host Hilary Farr shows us an ingenious solution to small space furniture challenges. Instead of using free-standing sofas or chairs in a remodeled home library space, Farr creates built-in seating options by placing a loveseat in a bookshelf wall and an expansive window seat that provides ample space for sitting, lounging, and reading. 

The room is meant to be a retreat for the homeowners and is decorated in soft blues and neutrals, with adaptable seating including not only the built-ins but additional smaller pieces like a chair in the corner and an ottoman to provide many options to sit even in a room with large windows and wall-to-wall bookshelves and storage. Farr's success lies in keeping the furniture streamlined and at the perimeter of the room while smaller pieces, like the ottoman and two small circular coffee tables, are the only objects in the center, resulting in an open and spacious feel.

Comfortable and streamlined seating

By leaving a dedicated cubby for a small loveseat in the wall of shelves and cupboards, the homeowners get the look and function of wall-to-wall bookshelves while maintaining a seating configuration that does not require placing furniture in the center of the room, which can look way too crowded in a small space. Farr also created a large window seat for even more seating and storage, which makes for a comfortable spot to enjoy books or take in the view from the window.

The concept of built-in seating is repeated in the home's dining room as well. Instead of chairs on all sides, it features a more streamlined banquette bench that extends along one wall and is upholstered in a stylish matte black fabric. This allows the table to be placed closer to the wall for easy passage and offers room for more guests than chairs could provide. 

Getting the look

While custom built-ins can be beautiful and stylish, they can also prove expensive if you are starting from scratch. Several DIY approaches can get a similar look to Hilary Farr's professional remodel. Ikea units, like the HAUGA system of shelves and cabinets, can provide the appearance of stylish built-ins with a much more budget-friendly price tag. Use two or more along a wall, leaving a space below for a sofa or loveseat. Include some wall-mounted floating shelves above, like Ikea's LACK shelves, to create a full wall of storage and seating.

To create a banquette or window seat as Farr has done, budget-friendly benches like IKEA's PANGET  or the DAJLIEN  are perfect for lining up along a window or in an overlooked corner, especially if you install them with additional shelves or storage on the bottom. You can also craft an inexpensive DIY window seat from IKEA BESTA cabinets