Nov 30, 2011

Ideas for small spaces.

Whether your small space is a bedroom, apartment, or home, here are five ideas to help you maximize the space you have:

One wall of shelves adds storage and opens the floor space.
1) Raise the heights of storage. Keep things off the floor and use taller pieces to make a small room appear larger. For example, a bookcase that spans the entire floor-to-ceiling distance makes a ceiling seem higher. Dedicating one wall to bookshelves that takes advantage of every inch, or using a large armoire or storage piece on only one wall, will make a room look bigger and eliminates the feeling of a cluttered space. Close off a few shelves with doors for neatness.  Stack file cabinets or chests (safety first) on top of one another rather than lining them up along the wall. Left a bed off the floor to add storage drawers, and if the ceiling is high enough, perhaps making a space underneath for a desk, lounge area or reading nook.

Loveseats make a narrow apartment comfy but not crowded

2) Use furniture wisely & make every piece count.  For a small living room use a backless chaise or daybed to divide adjoining space or functional areas; for example, separate the kitchen area from the family room or the living room from the dining room. Downscale your seating and even tables so you have the function you need while retaining an open feel. Try using a storage bench instead of dining or desk chairs to serve a dual purpose. Open backed shelves make great room dividers but look nice from either side. 

White works in this tiny bedroom with stacked storage.

3) Keep it light. While you don't have to use white paint, a lighter color background (floors, walls and even shelving) will help make a small room feel more open. Monochromatic color schemes are great for small spaces since they blur the boundaries between walls and furniture to make a space feel expansive. Don't hide windows, rather make them appear larger by placing window coverings above or to the sides. Position a mirror to capture light and reflect it back into the space.

4) Take it off.  If you can remove doors to rooms that don't need  Opening a small bedroom to a hallway makes the room seem more connected to the other spaces, may add light, and there are many uses for the doors so they don't need to be stored ( a desk top, a panel for an appliance, a new back to a bookshelf).  Hanging a curtain or beads instead provides a more open divider but eliminates door swings and maintains a more open feel.

5) Glass (or other transparent material :)) is your friend. Need a privacy divider but it blocks light? Tempered glass walls and door inserts allow light to pass through rooms but create privacy. New resin and plastic products with embedded designs are also available. Can't do a whole wall? Create a small interior 'window' or even an over-door transom to allow light in.  Glass tabletops help a room feel more open than wooden tops.