When searching for the perfect place to call home, whether permanent or temporary, one of the most significant challenges to overcome is square footage – or the lack of it. From city dwellers to country cottages, most of the time the dimensions of specific rooms (such as the kitchen or bedrooms) leave much to be desired. Seasoned home buyers and apartment hoppers will tell you the trick to finding the perfect space is to think outside the box and envision the potential available. Often this potential is achieved through clever décor and design tricks that are often more affordable than you might think.
So, let’s do a virtual walkthrough of your new apartment. Envision this: you just signed the lease on a one bedroom, 500-square foot space, on the second floor of a newly renovated building. The Bronx apartment is the perfect location, the dog park is just blocks away, and every once in a while, you can smell fresh bread from the bakery around the corner.
Step Into The Kitchen
Your new front door opens to reveal a narrow hallway. Directly to your right lies the kitchen. It’s simple and plain (for now) with some base and wall cabinets, a sink, refrigerator, range, and microwave. But immediately your mind goes to the lack of storage space. Pots, pans, spices, gadgets, utensils and dishes often cause unneeded chaos in this functional part of a home.
But with these easy space savers you’ll find room for it all and maybe that Kitchen Aid mixer you’ve been eyeing.
Hang often used kitchen equipment on the wall to free up your cabinet space. Even just a sliver of open wall in a kitchen can be instantly turned into a storage unit. Pegboard is an inexpensive option for pots and pans or utensils and can easily be mounted and taken down to accommodate renters.
Change out hardware for minimalistic and slender knobs and pulls. This simple switch can streamline traffic patterns and make a huge difference in a small room.
Invest in cabinet and drawer organizers to maximize your out-of-sight spaces. Lazy susans, drawer dividers, and pull outs in cabinets create a cohesive design and easy to access items.
Keep your space clean and clutter free. Of course, this tip can be applied to any room, but the kitchen tends to be where the junk collects. Small areas don’t allow for junk drawers, messy counters, or collect-all surfaces. This doesn’t mean you need to convert to the minimalistic lifestyle but being aware of your belongings and doing a sort through now and again will help keep your small space neat and tidy.
Onto the Living Room
Depending on your lifestyle the living or common room, could either be the most or least used space in your home, but since it’s probably taking up a good percentage of your square footage, it’s essential to make this an all-purpose and comfortable room to live in. Here we’re all about multi-functional pieces and room opening elements to create the illusion of a much larger space. Easy hacks will help us complete this task.
Invest in statement mirrors and hang them strategically on your open wall space. The beauty of a mirror is that it can be both a piece of art and serve a purpose. The reflection of light will open your room up and create a beautiful illusion of airiness and space.
Find your own furniture style but consider the benefits of mid-century modern pieces. Known for its slim and sleek designs, petite mid-century furniture is easily worked into small spaces. Try a coffee table with a lower shelf or a media console for extra storage.
If you’re still tight on space move as many floor-sitting pieces onto the walls. Mounted light fixtures, floating end tables or shelves, and TVs can be smoothly transitioned to wall space and will free up precious floor real estate.
A step to your right leads directly into the bedroom with its pocket door closet, full bath, and window. Not much meets the eye on first glance, but a little brainstorming can transform this little room into your personal sanctuary.
Loft your bed for added floor space. Although traditionally seen in dorm rooms, this is a great space saving trick that translates well into apartment life. Lofting your bed makes room for a dresser, vanity, or even an additional coach or overstuffed chair for a charming reading nook. If, however, you’re not keen on heights, this trick may not be for you.
Be creative with multi-use pieces such as a shelf desk. Do double duty and use a traditional nightstand as a place for tech storage and desk work. If possible, keep the chair at your kitchen table and move it to the desk when you need to get to work so during the rest of the time it’s not a nuisance.
Keep your bedroom color palette neutral and use pieces from your wardrobe as storage or even art. Think white, cream, or even light grey as the base for your room. Darker, bold colors can create constriction inside of a small space, so a light-reflecting color scheme is the way to go.
And in the process of creating your ideal bedroom space don’t overlook fashion accessories. Wicker market bags make the perfect bedside catch-all’s or vanity storage containers. Hang summer hats to create the ideal above-bed collage and maximize your storage space. Keep your silk scarves tidy by loosely tying them onto a curtain rod for a fun and whimsical window treatment.
So, no matter the square footage, your little slice of real estate heaven can be created with some easy storage and design tricks. And remember the perfect home is not created overnight. Take some time to get to know your space before cramming it full of furniture. Discover traffic patterns, needs versus wants, and what truly works in the area. It’ll be worth the wait.