Whether you are living in a small city apartment, college dorm, or in a hip, new “tiny house”, as long as you know how to design accordingly, it’s possible to live with great comfort.
With that said, there are countless furniture lines out there catering to small space living. If you want to design your home without seeking out specialized furnishings, here are four of my favorite tricks to use when designing with limited space.
Image Source: Michelle Yorke Interior Designs
Image Source: Lumar Interiors
Multifunctional furniture is extremely trendy right now, even for larger homes, so there isn’t a lack of choices out there in the market. However, since there are so many options to choose from, it’s critical to decide which pieces will actually benefit your lifestyle, instead of ending up with a home overflowing with multifunctional furniture.
If entertaining guests is a concern, one of my favorite furnishings for this purpose are dining benches. Depending on how limited you are on size, these pieces can work as an extra (small) sofa or as a stylish bench that will fit the needs of a few extra people. Dining benches look great at a dining table and are mobile enough to me moved into the seating area. Another practical option is ottomans, as they offer extra seating as well as additional table space.
If storage space is what’s needed, look for items such as trunk coffee tables, bed frames with bottom drawers, storage benches and ottomans, and small side tables with cabinets or drawers. All of these items will serve a purpose in the home but will sneakily and stylishly offer you ample space to store whatever items you aren’t using.
When shopping for multifunctional furniture, remember to think about how your home will be used most of the time. Don’t search endlessly for extra seating if you don’t plan to entertain guests often, or if you’re belongings are pretty minimal.
COMBINE OR DIVIDE ROOMS
Image Source: Betty Wasserman Art & Interiors, Ltd.
Image Source: Nandina Home & Design
Depending on your floor plan, it might make more sense to divide or combine two areas. This decision should be made based upon the layout of the home, purpose of the area, as well as the design you’re going after. If you enjoy a space to be intimate or have more privacy, such as a dining room, home office, or bedroom, then using a divider of some sort is probably going to render the best results.
Large bookcases are a super way to divide a room into two areas. Not only do they work as an extra surface but they also provide a way to showcase decor that matches the intended style, creating a cohesive and well-thought-out look. Beautiful room dividers as well as unconventional dividers also work well and add a distinct style to the place, such as Nandina Home & Design’s design for this dining room.
If dividing up an area isn’t an option due to space, don’t worry! Unite two rooms and create a space that meets the needs of both of them. For example, this can be done when a dining area is part of the kitchen, where not only can the dining table and chairs become a statement to the room, but also the table can act as additional counter space when cooking. If the living room and dining room are connected, separate out the spaces with area rugs, or consider installing a banquette covered with decorative pillows which can easily be a space for friends to hang out at. If the size of the space is so limited that the living room also needs to act as a bedroom, find a sofa that easily folds out into a bed along with a stylish cabinet that will work as a dresser and bookcase.
Off The Ground Shelves
Image Source: Homesthetics
Image Source: HGTV
Getting stuff off the ground is always a good idea when living in a small home. Adding off-the-ground shelving units that are taller than the resident is a great way to create additional space that won’t get in the way - as well as bringing focus to the home’s height instead of the small square footage.
Shelves that border the ceiling work well for storing books, clothes, shoes, and extra table settings, and when placed in the right room they work as a beautiful display - such as showing off your best high heels and bags in your bedroom or gorgeous vases, pitchers, and bottles in the kitchen.
Lower mounted shelves are a great way to replace bulky furnishings such as bedside tables, large bathroom vanities, and dressers (think shelves in your closet). And with the various sizes, materials, and styles shelves come in, they are bound to accentuate whichever design look you’re going after.
USE SPACE THAT’S ALREADY PROVIDED
Image Source: Thekitchn.com
Image Source: Elle Decor
Instead of always looking for places to add storage, take a look around and see what hidden spaces you already have. If you have space between your ceiling and your cabinets, use that to store or display items. If you have too many dishes or cookware, whichever pieces can be hung or displayed should, such as hanging coffee mugs and pots and pans. Treating extra “stuff” as part of your home’s decor will not only prevent you from needing to buy decorative items but will also free up space for other household objects that you may not want to be displayed.
When deciding on what to display or not, try and find looks that match the room’s color palette, design style, or that will complement the architecture. For example, if your home’s architectural design consists of organic elements such as stone walls or wooden planks, display items that are congruent with that look - large wooden salad bowls, woven baskets, or anything considered rustic. If your home is more modern, display artwork or items that have clean lines and a fresh look.
Although designing a functional and stylish small home can be tricky, once it’s done it feels incredibly rewarding. Keep in mind that each home will have its own distinct features, making it easier or harder to work with, so think outside of the box when planning out the design - anything is possible, and maybe you’ll stumble on a great space-saving idea by trying out a few things first.