Posted by Darcy Valline
Bigger isn’t always better. Living in a smaller space reduces your energy bills and decorating costs, forces you to minimize clutter, and lightens your footprint on the earth. According to Graham Hill, American homes now have three times the square footage they did 50 years ago, yet we lease 2.2 billion square feet of additional storage space. With some planning, organization, and creativity, you can simplify your life and find ample room in your cozy home for everything you need.
As a general rule, unless you’re starting from scratch, get rid of something for each new item you bring into your home. If you’re not willing to give up something old to make space for something new, then you probably don’t need the new thing. Before you purchase something to add to your home, ask yourself, “Is this really going to make me happier?” Although advertisers can do a good job of attracting our attention to the latest and greatest the marketplace has to offer, more stuff leads to more stress, higher expenses, and less space of your own
2. Turn wasted space into storage.
Efficient storage is critical in small spaces. Look around your home to see what wasted space you can find and transform it into well-organized storage.
- Roomy under-bed drawers can eliminate your need for a dresser or provide additional storage for linens or other items.
- If your home has a staircase, make sure to make use of the space underneath! Depending on its size and location, this might make an ideal pantry, bookshelf, or area for shoes and coats.
- Make use of vertical space. High shelves can store items that you only need to access occasionally. If you add a wardrobe, make sure it utilizes this space as well. Ikea’s PAX system, for example, is available in models that rise to nearly eight feet tall.
- Use organizers to make optimal use of your closet space.
3. Think multi-purpose.
Using space and items in more than one way will help make your modest square footage seem spacious.
- Can a room in your home serve double duty as a guest bedroom? Modern Murphy beds come in a wide variety of styles, from basic to elaborate pieces with lots of extra storage.
- The living room coffee table takes up a lot of floor space. Consider swapping it out for small end tables, or consider a dual-purpose table that can convert from coffee to dining table.
- Do you use a home office? Instead of dedicating an entire room to this purpose, consider placing a narrow desk along the wall of a bedroom or living area and hanging shelves above to create an efficient workspace.
- Trundle beds are great space savers for kids who have outgrown the bunk bed stage. One bed can easily be stowed away under the other during the daytime to free up bedroom space.
4. Live near places you love to be.
The more time you spend out in your neighborhood, the less need you will have for your own living room. If you’re looking for a new home with an eye toward minimizing the space you need to live, look closely at your prospective neighborhood’s access to public transportation, pedestrian and bike routes, and local dining and entertainment options.
5. Lighten it up.
Light colors, large windows, and reflective surfaces tend to make spaces feel bigger. Adding mirrors or a coat of paint are simple, inexpensive ways to create the illusion of more space.
Apartment living is convenient and fun, so it should feel like home as well. These tips are meant to help you make your apartment feel like your home.