Designing for Tiny Spaces and Places

Designing for a tight space can be a bit tricky. But it’s something I always get excited to play with as small apartments hold more design challenges and opportunities than larger ones. To me, large spaces are intimidating. There’s a lot to fill up along with the added pressure to make the whole big place stylistically uniform or, at the very least, cohesive. (Although, I’m sure some people would argue me on that).

But tiny spaces, like my cramped Manhattan studio or my unique Cobble Hill apartment, are fun to design and lay out. Sometimes all it takes is a little creativity with a dash of risk and then you’ve got a cozy, comfortable and relaxing living space.

The main thing to avoid is clutter and overly dark walls or furniture, especially if light is limited. Focus on the essentials: kitchen space (ie an IKEA kitchen cart); storage space (check out the boxes above the kitchen cabinets in the 7th photo above + the DIY shelving in the brick wall cut-out); then focus on what you use your house for (zoning out, home office, entertaining) and keep it in line with what you need.

Some tips and tricks:

  • Don’t be afraid to use your dresser as a TV stand
  • Build in shelving where you can
  • Ditch your metal bedframe with wheels and get a frame that raises your mattress off the floor, to allow for under-bed storage. (get something with drawers for easy access)
  • Use a second dresser as a room divider or entry table.
  • When looking for an apt: check for closet space + electrical outlets, esp. in the bathroom. Most people forget to notice these and they are both important.
  • Turn bookshelves into room dividers
  • Paint visible storage boxes the same color as the walls, and they’ll blend in better.
  • Paint your bedroom/entry/closet door in chalkboard paint–and use it for your work calendar or notes. Ditch the cork board–this will give you more wall space.

If you have lived in tiny spaces and have any additional tips, feel free to add them in the comments!

This entry was published on March 28, 2012 at 6:00 am. It’s filed under Design Ideas, Real Spaces and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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