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{guest Post} Drawing Design Inspiration from Apartment Therapy’s ‘small Cool’ Contest

By Nookandsea @KristinaMGulino

{guest post} drawing design inspiration from apartment therapy’s ‘small cool’ contest

The design solutions available on the web never cease to amaze me. I stumbled upon the interior design community at Apartment Therapy not too long ago when I was searching for inspiration for my new apartment, and I was blown away.

The editors at the site offer a huge variety of tips and helpful suggestions on how to make the best of any space, and I warmed up to their ideas immediately. But the thing that I love most about this site is the ability to see how a multitude of people from all sorts of backgrounds design their spaces with little money and lots of creativity. That’s why I was so excited to see them kickoff their annual Small Cool Contest (the 8th one so far) to showcase the best-of-the-best from their devoted and talented readers.

The contest pits dozens of spaces against each other, all of which range in size, geographic location, and stylistic influence. Readers get to vote on their favorite spaces to determine the apartment that’ll win it all. It’s quite a feast for the eyes and for any interior design buff!

{guest post} drawing design inspiration from apartment therapy’s ‘small cool’ contest

The “Small Cool” Spaces

The featured homes in the contest are divided up by square footage. No space is bigger than 1,000 square feet, and there’s no limit to how small a featured apartment can be. In ascending order, the spatial categories are: “Teeny-Tiny” (the smallest of the small), “Tiny,” “Little,” and “Small.” I saw a one that was just less than 200 square feet in the “Teeny-Tiny” category, and was blown away by the breathtaking detail and lack of clutter that the contestant was able to showcase with so little room to worth with.

A lot of the spaces are well-staged, with smart color combinations and clever placement of comfy furniture; but some of them are so breathtaking that they seem like a form of high art.

The Prizes

Although many of these contestants are using the competition as a way to show off their interior design chops, most of them are also in it for the win. The finalists will be determined by the readers who cast a single vote for their favorite small space. The top winners in each category will win a gift certificate to Apple that has enough cash for an iPad. Then all the top players in each category are voted on once again to decide the best of them all. The big winner gets $5,000 in cash — not bad considering most of these contestants aren’t even professional designers!

A friend of mine who knows more about the Small Cool Contest says that it’s exploded in popularity over the past few years, with the cash prize getting bigger and bigger every year.

{guest post} drawing design inspiration from apartment therapy’s ‘small cool’ contest

Oh, the Inspiration!

There’s no shortage of inspiration to draw from with any of the spaces featured in this contest. Even if you were to pick two or three homes at random, you’d be able to find a few things that might work in your own home. One of the contestants taught me the value of vertical space in a small room (which helps me because I have a ton of books in my place and nowhere to put them) while another gave me inspiration for a wallpaper print. I guarantee you’ll find something that inspires you - so give it a try!

This guest post is composed by freelance writer, Lauren Bailey, who regularly contributes to Best Online Colleges. She welcomes any comments or questions at her email address here.

(photo sources)

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