Small space design is like design is like designing awkward spaces. Both are found in homes of all sizes and we all have a hard time figuring out how to use the space and how to furnish it appropriately for that function. Often, homeowners feel like their small spaces are overcrowded with furniture. Do you want to use your space to its fullest potential without feeling cramped? Keep reading!
Small Spaces – Downsizing
When I am challenged by a small space I always keep the scale of the furniture at the forefront of my mind. I recently finished a small space project that included a living/dining area. Initially, the homeowner thought the space was too small for a sofa. We decided to create a simple sitting area with chairs and ottomans. One the installation was complete, the homeowner realized that she needed more seating. I knew right away that a full-size sofa wasn’t going to be practical. We needed something smaller and opted for an apartment sofa. We “downsized” the sofa and made the seating arrangement work.
The lesson: scale it down, if not in the amount of furniture you have, but in the scale of the furniture itself. The average sofa size is >7 feet long. Most sofas are 8-9 feet in length and 36-40″ deep. Apartments sofas are under 7 feet long and never exceed 36″ in depth.
Another place where you can scale down the portions of furniture in tight spaces is with your bed. In a small bedroom, you may want to use a headboard only instead of a bed that has a headboard and footboard. You can free-up 6″-12″ of space by skipping the footboard.
Occasional tables, such as coffee tables and side tables can also be scaled to help preserve floorspace. You always need something on which you can rest a book or a drink in your living room, but it doesn’t need to take up a lot of space. For example, if you’re having trouble finding a coffee table in a style you love, you can use two smaller items, like stools or a gardening drums, in place of a large cocktail table. The same goes for nightstands.
Another idea for seating is to use slipper chairs or benches instead of club chairs or arm chairs. The arms on a chair can take-up an extra 6″-18″ of space. A slipper chair with a slim profile can create a lot of floor space and visual space in a small room.
My second tip is to select multi-purpose furniture. If you’re short on space, chances are you’re also short on storage, which can lead to clutter. To mediate small space clutter, I recommend using furniture with drawers where you can. For example, instead of a console table, consider using a small 3 drawer dresser that is dimensionally similar to a console table.
Open storage, such as bookshelves and media storage, can create a visually cluttered look. From a volumetric standpoint they take up a lot of space. This is another area where that extra drawer storage can come in handy.
Beds with drawers in their bases are another great multi-purpose piece. These beds are usually low profile and come with or without a headboard. The great thing about storage beds is that you eliminate the dead space beneath your bed. You can store items beneath a typical bed, but if you have drawer storage, the items will be organized and you won’t have to worry about your belongings getting dusty. Under-bed storage is a great place to store seasonal clothing if your short on closet space.
Welcome to Another Dimension
Small space design requires creative use of space and one way to get creative is to use all three dimensions! We tend to think about space in terms of floor space or square footage, but our rooms aren’t flat like a blue print! We have vertical space as well and when you’re room is small, you should use it.
A great example of vertical space that often goes unused is the space above a wall hung television. Instead of a short media console, consider creating a media wall and using all of the space around your TV for storage. There are solutions for any budget, everything from Ikea to custom. Keeping the colors and materials light will keep the space open.
What are some of your small space design challenges? How did you resolve them? What are some creative solutions you’ve seen? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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