Living in a small apartment or condo can be a tremendous challenge for first-timers. Without spare rooms, like an office or den, residents have to get creative with their space. And if the place doesn’t have a garage or an attic, finding places to keep extra boxes and storage turns into a creative task. Even though your home may be modestly-sized, you don’t have to settle with stacking things to the ceiling. And don’t even think about throwing away those decor ideas. There are plenty of ways to make a small space work.
Everything gets used in a cramped space, often for multiple purposes. If you don’t have a guest room, you’ll probably be using the couch for overnight visitors. Air mattresses are more trouble than they are worth: you have to find a place for the furniture you’ve displaced, they’re noisy, and they often deflate by morning. Slip covered sofas or daybeds are ideal for a high-traffic living room because it’s easy to keep clean, crisp and comfortable for guests and residents alike.
Light it Up
Mirrors make your space feel bigger and reflect light, perfect for spaces without a lot of natural light. You can put them in just about any room – even a galley kitchen or a living room. A small room can often handle a larger light fixture, but it will be a focal point so choose items that will serve you in both form and function. If you need to circulate air, go ahead and get a ceiling fan with a lighting fixture, but look beyond the standard models for something that fits the style of your home and is pleasing to the eye. Chandeliers are another good way to draw the eye up and create visual interest. To control the mood with your blackout roller shades, put lighting fixtures, whenever possible, on a dimmer switch.
If you’re reading this before you move to a more economic abode, take note. You do not need everything you have. You probably don’t even need most of the things you have. The more you can jettison before you move, the easier it will be to settle in and live in a small space.
For those of you already in a smaller dwelling, never stop editing. Be ruthless when deciding whether to keep an item you haven’t used in the last year. Before you bring home something new, think if you really need it. If it’s replacing something, will you be cleaning out the old item(s) right away? Clutter is the worst enemy of the modest domicile. There’s often no place to put a spare case of soda, and you will likely find yourself shopping more often for fewer items and this is a good thing.
As for furniture, don’t feel like you must fill every square inch of available wall space with bookshelves or storage either. If you overfill the room it will feel claustrophobic.
Emphasize Vertical Space
Make your space feel less cramped by drawing the eye up. Instead of blinds or drapes that frame windows, emphasize the vertical space with floor to ceiling window treatments. Emphasize or install crown molding to pull the eye upward. Don’t be afraid to paint the ceiling, especially if it’s a stock builder’s white. A few shades of light color can make a big difference in how a room feels.
Create a Gallery
Instead of trying to find the perfect arrangement of frames and items on your walls, install coordinating floating shelves and picture rails. Art and decorative items can be displayed easily, and they can be rearranged or rotated seasonally without further damage to your walls. A picture gallery can be a great way to disguise your TV, if you’re not wanting it to be the centerpiece of your living room. This will allow you to get creative and draw attention to your home’s inner beauty.