Books: ‘Designs for Small Spaces’

People who reside in small quarters can still live large. Naturally, their design choices have to be well-edited, with a more attuned sense of proportion and scale than those who live in roomier digs. But it can be done, and with flair.

Designs for Small Spaces, by Jennifer Hudson (Laurence King Publishing, $30), provides ideas for a downsized décor while still keeping an eye on style. And no, it’s not by that Jennifer Hudson, of American Idol and Dreamgirls fame.

In real estate, small is a relative term; it can mean a 500-square-foot shoebox apartment in Manhattan or a modest 1,100-square-foot ranch in the suburbs. Regardless, the 500-plus products in this volume can work in any compact space. There are pictures of each, along with websites where they can be ordered. Products are divided into six categories: structural, compact, flexible, illusory, multifunctional, and organizational.

Stacking and folding chairs, nesting tables, dinky stereo speakers, and room dividers are some of the more expected elements, but the book is also strewn with more unusual, cleverly designed pieces. There’s an oval-shaped combination mirror/ironing board/closet/lamp; collapsible tables; a wall lamp/shelf combo; a chopping board with integrated colander; a round washbasin with storage; and even a compact tabletop dishwasher.

Call them small wonders.