Thursday, January 19, 2012

Small Space Living

Since our next place is going to be significantly smaller than our current home, I've been trying to decide what to take with us, and what to get rid of. 
I'm also brainstorming up decorating ideas like crazy. (umm hi pintrest. Yeah its awesome.)

So, I decided to stop by the library and grab some books.
One of them was "500 Ideas for Small Spaces"
A lot of it was stuff I can't do since we are renting  (good stuff, but things that would require painting trim or redoing a bathroom, ect)
But the things that I can do, were pretty helpful.  I wanted to keep the ideas on hand for myself. And I thought maybe someone might enjoy the help as well.  So I thought I'd blog them up.

Ideas for Small Space Living

In the Living Room:
  • When possible guide foot traffic around (rather than through) conversation areas. Position main seating in the center, in a tight U-shape.
  • It is preferable to choose an ample two-seat sofa rather than a small three-seat sofa. The slightly smaller sofa allows room for an end table. 
  • Select upholstered sofas and chairs with narrow arms waste less space physically and visually.
  • Incorporate negative space. Furniture with legs, rather than skirts, and chairs with open backs allow light to travel more freely through the space.
  • Transparent furniture = more negative space
  • Mirrors visually expand --- On the walls or mirrored furniture.
  • Nesting tables multiply on request
  • Try assembling furniture on an angle. This may provide opportunity to squeeze an extra chair into the seating arrangement.
  • Place a narrow console table behind the sofa if space allows.  Allows for more lamps or storage.
  • If there is even more space, instead of a console table, a desk could be used so as to double as a workspace, or a serving space for parties.
  • Banish room dulling shadows. Use a combinations of light sources.
  • Light cool colors recede seeming spacious. Bold warm colors appear cozy.
  • Keep lampshades in colors that blend so as to not disrupt a room's visual flow.
  • Using draperies in colors similar to the walls provides less visual disruption. 
  • To stretch the perceived size of windows hang draperies outside the window frame and as high as possible.
  • To distract from low ceilings use a lively patterned rug; larger rugs create  the illusion of a larger space. Avoid borders on rugs which draw attention to space constraints.
  • Consider the merits of a well placed focal point that extends above eye level
  • Consider placing flat plastic storage bins beneath a sofa. These are perfect for containing stacks of magazines, cds and dvds.
  • A simple bench with storage could act as a sort of mud room at the entrance.
  • Metal cookie sheets are easily adapted to boot storage for wet weather. Add felt guards beneath to prevent  scratching the floor. 
  • Install a full length mirror on a wall adjacent to a front door to expand the view.

In the Kitchen:
  • Monochromatic color schemes (with subtle changes in color and texture for interest) help small kitchens feel substantially larger.
  • Store things in baskets. Reserve one basket for everything you need to setup when dining guests pop in unannounced --  include the tablecloth or placemats, napkins wrapped around silverware, and centerpiece.  (Not sure this has much to do with living in a small space, but it was in the book and I thought it was a nice thought.)
  • Store dinnerware and cutlery near the dishwasher so that it can be emptied quickly and easily.
  • Only keep appliances that you really get use out of.
  • Keep small appliances put away when not in use.
  • Every room, even the kitchen, should have a focal point.
  • Placing the table against the wall, keeps the room's center free of clutter.
  • Tables with hinged sides are perfect for expanding for guests.
  • Where space allows, a round table is less likely to interfere with traffic.
  • Round tables where the leaves are stored beneath the tabletop are preferable --- thus avoiding the need for additional storage.
  • Avoid temptation to buy additional sets of dishes and silverware
  • Although not a typical choice for the kitchen, a large mirror amplifies availble light and doubles apparent size of any room. This works best where natural light is available. Avoid placing a mirror in a dark or dreary corner as it only amplifies its setting.
  • A mirrored or highly reflective backsplash casts available light on countertops and work surfaces, brightening the kitchen.
  • Adding lights under cabinets maintain a bright and open feeling even after the sun goes down.

  • Monochromatic color schemes create the illusion of vastness. Incorporate judicious hits of color.
  • Pear or semi gloss finishes, and metallics can add some dazzle.
  • Avoid dotting the room with color. Shower curtains, if allowed to dominate, are frequently the biggest offenders. Choose a shower curtain that is slightly darker or lighter than the wall color. For a really tiny bathroom, consider an opaque or clear curtain.
  • If your bathroom doesn't have windows it can feel stuffy. Consider adding a mural, such as a landscape scene that allows the eye to view into the distance.
  • Hang a longer shower curtain higher
  • The larger the size of the mirror, the larger the room looks.
  • Set a lamp out for more light
  • If the flooring is uninteresting or tired looking choose an area carpet that covers nearly all of the floor space. Minimize the contrast by allowing the carpet to blend into the surroundings. 

  • Bedrooms appear larger when the head of the bed is positioned against the the longest wall, preferably away from the door.
  • For narrow rooms, leave one side of the bed against the wall, so you can have a night stand on the other side.
  • Furniture can exist in front of a window.
  • For occasional overnight guests an inflatable air-bed is a comfortable option.
  • Large art work, floor to ceiling book cases, floor standing mirrors, tall headboards -- these can all add a sense of grandeur.
  • Mirrors adjacent to windows amplify light
  • Multi task your furniture. For example use a chest of drawers on one side of the bed to double as a night stand.
  • Choose a nightstand with closed doors to add storage
  • Take advantage of space beneath the bed. Bins can add extra storage. 

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