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Rents are on the rise in Canada’s hottest cities, and as prices go up, the size of living spaces will inevitably go down. But a smaller home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style and comfort. With the right decorating tips, 500 square feet can feel like a palace.

Here’s how you can make the most of your pint-sized pad:

Think vertically. Sure, you’ve only got so many cabinets to choose from. But if you’re creative about how you use the upper half of your wall space, a whole new world of storage opens up. Buy wire baskets to sit on top of your fridge or medicine cabinet, and install hanging shelves for knick-knacks and books to live. You’ll be amazed at the amount of space you’ve been missing out on.

White is the new black. When it comes to a small space, bright colours are key. Avoid bold choices that can make a room feel claustrophobic. Instead, opt for bright white walls, ceiling, and furniture choices for a home that feels much larger than it actually is. (Craving some colour? Throw cushions and pillows are a great way to spice up an otherwise white room.)

Keep surfaces clear. In a small space, a little bit of clutter can seem like chaos. Be sure to put everything away at the end of the day, and keep your tables, shelves and countertops as clear as possible. Consider storing appliances you don’t use every day. A clutter-free home is a stylish home.

Storage boxes are your friend. Boxes don’t necessarily have to be out of sight, out of mind. Pick up some attractive wicker, wire or cloth storage boxes, and place them in prominent locations throughout your home. They’ll add extra storage space, while keeping a clean and aesthetically pleasing look.

Invest in some trays. Even in the most organized home, there will always be little items that never find a home. Instead of leaving these about (or banishing them to the dreaded junk drawer), buy some decorative trays to leave on key shelves or tables, to create an organized and attractive space.

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