5 Small Space Solutions for your Home and Office
Small spaces can be trickier to decorate and furnish but it allows the opportunity to get creative. Fortunately, making the most of tiny areas is not difficult, and with a few tweaks, your room will appear bigger and brighter.
We are happy to share our knowledge as interior designers who have worked with a great deal of condo/awkward layouts. Most of these suggestions can be used in your workplace as well, which is the best part!
Go the Custom Way
We know this is not accessible for everyone but if possible—go custom. Custom millwork is the best way to maximize storage and can allow for your personality to show in a subtle way.
Murphy beds are an investment many shy away from whether it is due to cost, size limitations, or uncertainty since they can seem complex to retrofit in an existing space—especially a small one. Luckily, murphy beds come in different sizes/layouts so finding something to work in your space should not be difficult with minor modifications. These are best used in studio apartments or a one bedroom plus den.
Think outside the box. Do you have a closet that is not getting the best use? Is your kitchen space lacking a pantry area? Utilize a closet being underserved and turn it into a pantry or a bed and storage combo. A simple yet effective way to gain extra space where it is really needed.
If possible, in spaces like bathrooms, powder rooms, and closets, switch your doors that swing inwards (or outwards) for pocket/sliding doors. You may gain up to 3’ in extra space but bear in mind that there are some disadvantages to pocket/sliding doors like privacy, noise control, and construction logistics.
Look up! Use Vertical Space
Mounting furniture (media units and sideboards/credenzas) and furnishings whenever possible allows you to keep things off the floor, creates the illusion of extra space, and can maximize storage!
Hang shelves and add storage for display areas for items you may not need to access as frequently. Combine frames/shelves to create a gallery wall with trinkets instead of taking up valuable space on horizontal surfaces.
A sit-stand desk is ideal for people that are on their computers for the majority of the day but many do not have the extra working area to accommodate a sit-stand desk. The solution? Use your condo windows to mount a small ledge with suction cups. You may not work here all day but it is an easy, small space game changer for changing up your day-to-day work area and keeps you from sitting for hours at a time.
Multi-functional & Multi-purpose
Purchase furniture that is multi-functional and set rooms up to have multiple purpose. In bedrooms and guest rooms, select beds with internal storage on the bottom or a bed that has enough room for storage bins to slide easily under. Some beds have storage underneath them that are accessible when you lift up the mattress or have cubbies on the sides as part of the headboard. If you do not have enough room for a bed with a headboard, we suggest purchasing a bed frame like the Nordli bed from Ikea as it has storage underneath. Since there is no headboard, place the bed against a wall that is painted another colour to act as a large feature wall.
For spaces like living rooms, use an ottoman instead of a coffee table. The ottoman will double up as extra seating or a footrest, and with the addition of a tray, you can still use it as a coffee table. The best part is ottomans are generally lightweight and can be easily moveable when not in use—some even come with hidden storage.
If you’re having difficulty finding furniture appropriate in size, think outside the box and remember this, an object’s purpose is defined by the user. For example, use a (narrow) console table as a desk to fit in your space. In bedrooms, replace nightstands with smaller side tables and in small living rooms, replace larger armchairs with dining chairs since they can be used in both spaces and have a smaller footprint. Also, if you host parties and dinners, consider buying a sofa with beefier armrests since these double up as additional (casual) seating.
Be strategic. Small Details Matter
In our Met Condo project, the den proved to be a tricky room that needed to serve as both an office and bedroom for the occasional overnight guest. We went with an “L” Shaped desk with uppers, both open and closed to maximize storage and give the opportunity to showcase some of the client’s personality. We chose a lounger that pulls out into a single bed.
Cable management is often overlooked but unorganized and messy wiring can make a space look cluttered. Organizing your cables and wires looks good, reduces dust and helps with the longevity of cables.
Bulky TVs add unnecessary weight so consider purchasing a flatscreen TV and wall mounting it. These days, flatscreen TVs are more affordable and there are many brands to choose from to fit your budget and style.
Don’t have a storage locker or extra room in your space? Hang your bike on a wall, this acts as a feature while still being functional and accessible. Another area to utilize for bike storage is your balcony (if applicable).
Reduce Clutter and Be Tidy
Less is more, learn to let go. It is easier to deal with an empty space and all new pieces than it is with existing pieces but we understand this is not attainable for everyone. It feels just like yesterday that everyone was Marie Kondo’ing their closets and getting rid of everything. Do this with furniture and furnishings around your space.
This is a great way to analyze and appreciate what you have. This way you can sell or donate these items to people and places in need. Also, beware of inheriting furniture and decor from family members you may not necessarily want because they may guilt you into keeping it much longer than you would like to—looking at you baby boomers.
Lastly, stay on top of your cleaning and be tidy. Declutter for a clean space and a clean mind.