Life in most major cities teaches you many things but one of the most obvious is that space comes at a premium. This means large apartments, houses, rental units and the like, are few and far between and when/if you find them, you can expect to pay a high price. With space at such a premium price, the desire for more storage is a request I encounter quite often in my line of work. Here are my top five recommendations for how to design for a small space:
1. Invest in multi-purpose furniture and accessories. A console with a second shelf or drawers and/or doors is a good investment for the homeowner looking for more storage. It provides a place for everyday use items on the top and those items that are not used as often (i.e. books, stemware, bar items) underneath. An ottoman with storage can function to store items, you want to keep handy (throws, albums, DVDs) but don’t necessarily want to display.
2. Use your wall space. Bookcases, shelving, display cases, etc. can turn vertical space not currently being used into functional, decorative storage. Don’t be afraid to stack and/or place shelving askew to other shelves or casings. Be creative and you can turn these storage solutions into attractive yet functional wall art.
3. Stack. Stack. Stack. Purchase pieces that allow you to store and stack. Vanity boxes for cosmetics and toiletries are an excellent way to turn a small bathroom space into an organized oasis of calm. Use vintage luggage to store out-of-season clothing or extra linens.
4. Bigger isn’t always better. Using smaller furniture items will accomplish your ultimate goals, while also creating a more airy and open feel in your space. Be willing to make concessions on size and you’ll soon find that your concessions are a win-win as it relates to style and free space.
5. Embrace work zones. To keep small spaces functional and organized, create specific work areas or zones. These work zones will provide designated space for specific tasks. You should keep all things related to that particular task in the specified zone. In an open floor plan, work zones can be created using rugs, color, decorative screens, and lighting.
A small space doesn’t have to limit your creativity. In fact, a small space should spark your creative imagination. Be open and flexible. Figure out those things which are most important to you and design with them in mind. Don’t design for what ifs, design for who is living in the space right now. Make fair assessments about how you use your space. Be honest and don’t rush to figure out all the details right away, tackle the obvious and leave the smaller, inexplicable details to after you’ve settled in.