Cozy, Minimal, and Bright

Small Space Style: Because You Don’t Need to Live Large to Live Beautifully, written by Whitney Leigh Morris

A review by Jenna Collignon, Editor, Matrix Group Publishing

Living in a small space can be tricky, especially if you don’t really know how to design the space to fit both your personal style and lifestyle. Most everything you include in your living space must be not only multipurpose but styled in the right way to ensure that your spaces are not cluttered up with pieces that make your space feel small. 

Whitney Leigh Morris, mainly known for The Tiny Canal Cottage on social media, has created this book as a guide to designing and living in small spaces happily. Small Space Style: Because You Don’t Need to Live Large to Live Beautifully focuses on the elements that one can implement into small spaces, using up as much as they can without visibly crowding your home. 

This book is incredibly beautiful. The front cover is textured in an incredibly luxurious, fabric feeling way; while the photo featured is inviting and bright. The book begs to be picked up and flipped through, read, and devoured.

First Impressions

Small Space Style is divided into four main sections: Living, Eating, Sleeping, and Bathing. Within each of these, there are numbered mini sections that make up the tips and tricks that Morris has compiled within these pages. From “Create a Warm Welcome” to “Put Unexpected nooks to Work,” and “Decorate Simply yet Spectacularly” to “Streamline with a Mini Sink,” this book is jam-packed with detailed ideas that will enhance your small space style. After all, you don’t need to live large to live beautifully.

Throughout the book, there are various elements that Morris has included to add flavour to the tips. In each chapter, there are “Stylish Space-savers,” DIY advice, “Advice from the Cottage,” and profiles where Morris has highlighted other small space owners’ homes wherein they have injected their own style. These added sections, such as the Stylish Space-savers, are depicted by beautiful drawings and illustrations, which adds a certain whimsical feel to this book. 


As arguably the most important part of your home, the living spaces of such small spaces must be designed with attention down to the minutest detail. Because these kinds of spaces are so compact, there is a lot that must be on display – such as keys hanging on hooks behind your door. Instead of keeping a mass of keys, keychains, and a mess of other things people keep on their keys, consider streamlining your set of keys to only what you need, and storing those keys you don’t use as often somewhere else. 

Because small spaces often are difficult to include lots of storage in, the larger pieces of furniture you choose must be versatile and have various purposes, such as storage underneath built-in couches and a coffee table that could perhaps double as a storage space for toys. As well, there is a definite need to use up the vertical spaces as well as the little nooks and crannies and corners that are often left empty. 


The second section of this book focuses entirely on the eating and dining spaces of your home. Morris focuses on crafting a small and functional kitchen. Again, like in your living spaces (and will be a trend throughout your entire small space), the most important aspect of any kitchen is storage and using things for multiple uses. When you strip back everything in your kitchen to only exactly what you need and what you use, you’d be surprised at how little you truly need. And, of course, there are often pieces that you really can’t part with – which need spots in your kitchen too. This is where, again, using all the unused spaces come into play! You can install toe-kick storage underneath your cabinets, and this previously unused space now has a function. For dining, Morris offers up the option of turning your living room into your dining room, by using foldable tables that can be easily stored away, and our couch as partial seating. 

Sleeping and Bathing

The bedroom is an interesting space when it comes to going tiny. Morris believes that your bedroom should be focused on being cozy and minimal, which is often easier said than done in a small space. Again, though, this is where versatile storage options come in! These are the spaces in which using your vertical spaces is a great option for extra shelving, storage, and décor as well. Bedrooms should always be calming, streamlined spaces, and so much of what you implement in your design must reflect that. As well, Morris highlights the importance of down-sizing your wardrobe down to only the essentials. 

In the last section of the book, Bathing, focuses on streamlining your bathroom so that even the tiniest of rooms in your house can be functional and comfortable. 

This book is truly incredible. Though there are hundreds of tips and tricks in this book, they are each vague enough that you can easily implement them into your own life and style. Flipping through this book, each page is welcoming, bright, and gives off a happy vibe. 

I highly recommend this book for anyone, even if you don’t live in a small space or want to in the future. It contains wonderful tips that can work for any space, not just the small ones because living in a scaled-down space isn’t only doable, but incredibly delightful. 

Cozy, Minimal, and Bright

About the Author

Whitney Leigh Morris is a Small Space Lifestyle Consultant based in Venice, California. A firm believer that you don’t need to “live large” to live beautifully, Morris uses her blog and Instagram account to share tips and ideas geared towards helping individuals, couples, and families live comfortably, contentedly, and less wastefully in compact quarters. 

Morris also shares her experiences and advice via a diverse array of editorial outlets and speaking engagements, and via her mini video series, Tiny Takeaways. Her book, Small Space Style: Because You Don’t Need to Live Large to Live Beautifully, is available for purchase here

Morris is an engaged member of the Venice community, is on the Board of The Rightway Foundation, and was named a Wall Street Journal Woman of Note. She lives at the Cottage with her husband, their child, and two rescue beagles.