If you’re living in a small house or apartment then you know that space is always at a premium. You can’t always knock out walls to create more living space, so you have to use the space as efficiently as possible.
Downsize Furniture and Appliances
One of the best ways to achieve the feeling of more space is to not fill your room with oversize furniture. Use smaller pieces such as a love seat instead of a couch.
This is true even of appliances. A large refrigerator will overpower a small kitchen. Try finding narrower appliances to maximize your kitchen space.
If you have a small space for laundry facilities you might want to use a stacking washer and dryer.
Use pieces that have more than one purpose. A coffee table can have hidden storage. A Murphy bed or day bed can be used in a second bedroom that you use as an office but can then double as a guest room as needed. This can also be done in a studio apartment that doesn’t have a separate bedroom.
Look for special types of furniture that are designed for small space living. Some coffee tables have stools underneath that can be pulled out for extra seating. Another type of coffee table pulls up to become a table tall enough to eat at. This is a great option if you don’t have a designated dining space. Here’s a coffee table with lots of built-in storage:
(Coffee table available from Amazon)
A dining room table can also be used as a desk.
Add a cubie as a side or lamp table. Then you can use the storage shelves underneath for books or other items.
Consider using a C table beside your bed so you can work on your laptop in bed or have a place to eat breakfast in bed. Some even have a lift up tray for storage.
Use Nooks and Extra Closets
Desks can sometimes be built in an extra closet to create a small office space. When you’re done for the day just shut the doors. You don’t even need to clean off your desk for company.
Brighten Up Your Rooms
- Add better lighting. Brightening a room can help it feel larger.
- Use window treatments that let in as much light as possible.
- Adding a bright focal point such as a large colorful painting to a room helps visitors focus on the art and not the size of the room.
Finding Storage Areas
Look for any unused space that can be used for storage, such as under a bed or under a staircase. Place items that aren’t used often on high shelves in closets. Add an extra bar in your closet so you can double the amount of pants and shirts you hang there. Use bookshelves that go all the way to the ceiling and use the top shelves for storing books or items you don’t use often.
This bedroom has some smart storage areas. There are drawers, two layers deep, under the bed mattress; shelves and cabinets on the wall, and the unusual desk that sits on a platform that provides an extra seating spot, plus having a small-footprint desk chair.
Find places you can add floating shelves. These can be decorative but also work as storage. I’ve seen them used in small bathrooms, with cute containers to hold the toiletries and bathroom items. Check out these, or other floating shelves at Amazon.
Consider using a media center that has concealed storage. This means all your cords and remotes and other electronic equipment can be kept out of sight.
- Not enough counter space? Use a small rolling cart that’s counter height. Keep it out of the way against the wall when not in use and roll it out when it’s needed. Some have shelves underneath for extra storage.
- Consider stashing away an air mattress for guests.
- Stacking seating is a good way to keep extra chairs out of the way until you need them for company.
- A big mirror in a bathroom or bedroom can make the space feel larger.
- Glass tables can make a dining space seem larger.
- Decide on what you need most and don’t worry about the traditional uses of space. If you need an office instead of a dining nook then use the space as needed.
Cut the Clutter
Minimize clutter as much as possible. If you have magazines lying around for long periods of time, unread, then cancel your subscription. Keep only the ones you actually read and then toss them after they are read or donate them to a local nursing home. Trade used books in at a used bookstore or donate them to charity. Buy books on Kindle or Audible when possible.
Use neutral colors such as grays, light blues or light browns. Then accent with a brighter color on one accent wall or with accessories. Painting all the walls a bright color can make the room seem smaller.
By using some versatility you can still have everything you need in a small space.