Opening Up Small Spaces


So, you just moved into a small home or condo. Yay for downsizing! Right? You may have noticed that there are wall to wall boxes and now you are feeling overwhelmed with how to organize your space. Never fear! Here are a few tips to help you get your space in order and make the most of the square footage you've got.

First things first, it's a good idea to figure out what things you are going to keep and what things may not work as well. It can be hard to get rid of things, and it may feel like you've already cleaned out and thrown out many items when packing to move out, but there may be things that you don't need now that you have a new space. For example, if you've downsized rooms, you may not need to hold on to that second bedroom set. Put it in storage or sell it and make a few extra bucks.

Once you've got everything cleaned up and minimized the stuff that would take up unnecessary space, it's a good idea to figure out furniture configuration. To do this, you can use a piece of graph paper, some post-it notes, and a measuring tape. In order to find the layout that best suits the space, measure the furniture and make a small scaled version out of the post-it note. Next, plot out on the graph paper how large the room is, and this will make it easier to visualize different options for where to put the couch, bed set, etc. This will also help to conserve energy instead of having to move furniture around until the right spaces are found. All that's left from this step is to move the furniture. Now, you are ready to start emptying boxes.

Everyone has things that need to be in specific rooms, but that take up a lot of space. One example- blankets. In a small space, however, it can be tricky to hide blankets without feeling like they are difficult to get to, or that they are taking up more visual space than necessary. Luckily enough, storage companies recognize that this is a problem and have many solutions. If bulky blankets are the bane of your living room, buy an ottoman that doubles as a storage space. There are also coffee tables out there that have drawers and lids that make for the perfect space to store dvds, video games, blankets, or memory books. Many storage container companies also make space saving bags, so if you need a spot to hide oversized winter coats, get a bag or box that fits under the couch or bed and put away your winter gear.

If you have lots of books or shelf decorations but nowhere to put them, consider putting a shelf or two above your couch. It's not very often that the space above the couch is used except for paintings and wall art, so why not use it as an effective place to keep your favorite series to read? This can be modified for many different uses- from a place to put your movie collection to a showcase for your collection of glass elephant figurines, a shelf or two above furniture can be just the trick to keeping your table spaces from collecting clutter.

Hiding away cleaning supplies can be another trick. We've all fallen victim to a leak under the sink that bathes your Windex in mucky water, so why not figure out a better way? Get a stud finder at a home improvement store and get to work finding a space in between the studs that you could hollow out and turn into a cleaning closet. A little bit of painting and a cabinet door can turn a wall into a nice little spot to keep things out of sight. This can be done in many rooms, and not just used for cleaning supplies. In the bathroom, it can be a place to keep beard oil, toothpaste, extra toilet paper, and makeup. The bedroom could use an extra set of shelves or hooks for ties, belts, socks, or jewelry. In the kitchen, a small area between the studs could provide a great location for aprons, spices, or extra pantry storage. The possibilities are endless.

For homes that have enough space to put things away, but still have that small feeling, there are a great many ways to visually open up the space. One of the most common suggestions is to use mirrors. There are many places that sell stylish mirrors in many sizes. Another idea it to check out the color scheme of the space. Is it dark and imposing? Are the curtains dark and always drawn? How about the walls? Are they painted with bold patterns? Consider all of these different design decisions and maybe think about ways to tweak them a bit to allow for more visual peace. Dark colors tend to remind us of caves and other small spaces. Closed curtains leave little space for light to come in, so maybe consider opening them on occasion or buying curtains that allow some light to show through while still providing privacy. Bold wall patterns can be helpful, but typically a floor to ceiling design can be a bit overwhelming if it's too large or overbearing. Try sticking to smaller designs that only accent one wall.

There are a great many more tips that can help to open up a small space. The great thing about organizing and decorating a home is that the space can be customized to fit your specific tastes. Imagination can lead to so many great ideas, so don't limit yourself when organizing a new space, and enjoy your small home and the peace that can follow downsizing!