The first apartment I moved into some many years ago was a studio apartment in Johannesburg. Not a big space, but perfect for one person. Luckily I didn’t have that many possessions so it didn’t really feel cluttered. Since then I have redone that space many times in my mind, using clever furniture and other ideas to make optimal use of the small space.
Maybe you live in a small space like a studio apartment or with a family in a small house or maybe you’re space has small rooms where you want to maximize space, without it feeling cluttered. If so it is important to think creatively to make clever use of smaller spaces and optimize the effect.
These days there are tons of ideas on how to make clever use of smaller spaces. Let’s look at some general tips on how to make a small space work well, without it feeling cluttered and unworkable.
- Use the wall space. Get items off the floor and make use of clever shelving, hooks and pegs. Shelves above the doors or higher up will make use of otherwise wasted wall space. Be creative how you can store things on the walls instead of the floor. By hanging colourful items like scarves and jewellery on the walls you also have a beautiful display! I used these hooks from Ikea in my bedroom. They are a rack with six knobs in solid oak. I bought three, so altogether 18 hooks to hang things from. Although my bedroom isn’t tiny the effect is very neat and organised. Have a look at my bedroom update in this blog.
- Declutter constantly. By living in a small space, you will eventually become aware that you cannot clutter, because not only will you’re living space become cluttered, but also your life becomes chaotic if there is constant clutter around you. So, be smart about buying things. Think before you buy – not only if you need it but where you will store it. Also, if you declutter constantly, you’re staying on top of it. Have a garage sale, donate to local charity shops and keep an eye open for a garden fair where they always want good quality second-hand items.
- Invest in clever furniture. These days you can find a huge selection of furniture that can either fold away or transform into something bigger and then smaller again, all to fit your space. Think of dining tables with extra leaves that can make the table seat almost double the amount of people, and also table leaves that can fold away. Another clever idea are slimline side tables that can be used in narrow hallways or small bedrooms. All kinds of furniture to make clever use of smaller spaces. Don’t forget bunk beds, drawers underneath beds or window seats for extra storage which allows room for any extra toys, books or linen. A fold-down table top with legs that screw on and off, is also very handy when you need the extra floor space.
- Separate zones in one room. In a smaller house one room might have more than one function, for example your living space might also be the dining room and perhaps a play area for children or a television room. You can zone these areas by cleverly arranging furniture or rugs in such a way that the area is only used for one purpose. Ikea also has a fabulous range of shelving units (Kallax) which can be used as a room divider as well.
- Sofas and chairs that are raised off the ground create a lighter and less solid effect while a round table takes up less space than a square one in a small eating area or dining room. But you can also go for drop-leaf tables to allow for extra space when needed.
- Be clever with your storage when you live in a small space. Most living spaces will have nooks and crannies that are awkward to use, but by custom made built-in storage you can make use of these spaces. If you can’t afford it, think outside the box. Sometimes you can adapt your furniture to fit your purposes. Take your time, think things through and ALWAYS measure the space before you buy.
It is not always possible to structurally change things because you might be renting or because of budget limitations, but creativity has never stopped anyone. I absolutely love this micro living studio created by the inventive architect, Douglas Wan, who made optimal use of his 28 square metre studio apartment in Melbourne, Australia. Have a look at this YouTube clip for inspiration.
Until next time.