You probably know Bobby Berk as the resident interior design expert of Queer Eye’s Fab Five–you know, the man who somehow, miraculously, transforms entire homes in just a week. As fans excitedly await season three of the beloved Netflix series (slated to premiere in early 2019), there is a way to get your Bobby Berk fix in the meantime, all thanks to his recent partnership with . The online hospitality service enlisted Berk to redefine small space living with some of the company’s most miniature listings–transforming each area into something comfortable, functional, and, of course, chic.
We talked to Berk about this recent Airbnb Plus project, how to maximize a minimal space, and the importance of uniting function with style. Read below for Berk's take on how to live large with small square footage.
"People are often tempted to break up a room with color-blocking or by sectioning off spaces in an attempt to make it feel larger," Berk says. Instead of dividing a room into sections, he recommends sticking to one cohesive design style and carrying it throughout the entire home. If your room is small, long, and narrow, for instance, incorporate complementary colors, textures, and patterns across the entire space to create a sense of harmony.
Berk also recommends opting for light, clean-lined furniture as opposed to clunkier, more cozy alternatives. “People think that big, cushy furniture can make a small room more comfortable, but in reality, it weighs down the space and takes up an unnecessary amount of room.”
“When you’re working with a small space, a neutral palette is ideal,” Berk says. Go for subdued, natural colors, and stick with them throughout the space. From there, focus on textures and patterns that fall within the same color scheme. “Not too flat, not too busy,” he advises. In a bedroom, for instance, opting for white cotton sheets, a white linen duvet, and a neutral quilted throw can achieve a layered look without relying on bold pops of color, which can feel cluttered.
If the architecture of your home makes it feel smaller than it is, there are easy adjustments you can make to adapt without fully renovating. “If you have a home that’s cut up into many small rooms, replacing doors with see-through alternatives can instantly open up the space,” Berk says. Frosted glass or multi-paned wood framed doors allow light to flow through your home, which naturally makes the interior feel larger.
“Double-duty furniture is a small-space must-have,” Berk says. There are so many options for coffee tables, sofas, and ottomans that double as storage, which is especially important for people who lack closet space. If you have a dining table, Berk recommends selecting chairs that can fit underneath the table for times when they're not being used.
“I’m a huge fan of platform beds with dressers underneath,” Berk says. “There’s so much real estate under your bed that can be maximized with proper storage.” To optimize that space, Berk recommends using vacuum-sealed bags for clothes you don’t wear, storing them in stackable, organized boxes. At the foot of the bed, consider storage cubes that can double as seating, and always opt for nightstands with multiple drawers. “It’s all about the little things,” he says.
Getting rid of items you no longer need is one of the hardest, but most important parts of optimizing small-space living. People tend to hold onto things for irrational, emotion-based reasons, which is at the root of most home clutter. “Does it work for you? Does it function? If the answer is ‘no’ to either of those, get rid of it,” Berk explains. In small spaces, everything needs a purpose, and (rationally) assessing the function of each item is necessary when deciding what to keep, and what to ditch.