Downsizing from a large flat to a small studio space does not necessarily mean an equivalent scaling down of comfort or living standards. People who are serious about living in a confined space can use a number of tricks to make their home as comfortable and efficient as possible. The key is to keep things visually clean and simple. 'Avoid clutter and use furnishings that have more than one use wherever possible,' says interior designer John Shostrom (pictured above right) of JS Design. 'If you are into antiques, then one good piece will have far more impact than several small pieces,' he adds. Also, upholstered pieces should be simple and very comfortable; avoid the 'leggy' look if possible. Too many furniture legs create visual clutter, according to the designer. Another tip is to use a main, unifying, colour theme. This can be played up by using only one or two other colours for accents, such as on pillows or a chair, or in the trim detailing of upholstery. A simple window treatment, which is more architectural than decorative, such as using opaque roller blinds throughout, also helps to achieve this effect. One easy option is to fit blackout roller blinds behind opaque blinds, for use when sleeping, Shostrom says. Roman shades and plantation shutters also form effective, clean and architectural window treatments. An easy way to create more space is to make one's bed into a daybed, so that it can also be used as a sofa when you are not sleeping in it. 'If you eat out more than you cook in, then a dedicated dining table may not be necessary and valuable space is gained,' Shostrom says. 'When entertaining, you can serve items on trays placed throughout the flat.' Lighting can be minimised by using tracks with spotlights, rather than one big central fixture. Swing-arm wall lamps and simple stainless steel or brass tubular pharmacy lamps, likewise, occupy little space. 'Try to avoid too many small pieces of furniture, as they will only make an already small space seem even smaller,' Shostrom says. 'Fewer pieces, but larger, are more comfortable to live with.' It is equally sensible to hang large pieces of art, as they create the illusion of greater space and add depth to a small apartment's interior. The only exception, however, is to arrange four to a dozen smaller pieces of art, all of which are on the same topic, on one wall. They should all be the same size, in the same framing and grouped together, he says. Squeezing in your possessions when making a significant downsize can be a challenge. Downsizing forces one to be extremely organised and to get rid of everything that one does not use. Furniture that performs more than one function is also a key. Storage should be arranged wherever possible, for example in coffee tables. 'Instead of using tables at the end of a sofa or bed, opt for low cabinets, ideally with a drawer or two and some shelving below, concealed behind doors,' Shostrom says.