Not many people are lucky enough to have the luxury of moving straight from their parents’ house and into a perfect first home. When Amy and I finished our university courses and decided to find a new place together, we had a choice to make: a slightly shabby house in the suburbs with room to spare, or a significantly less spacious modern apartment in the city.
We chose the latter, and haven’t regretted it for a second. It’s fantastic living so close to the places we love to spend time in, and we’ve enjoyed kitting out our small but sweet flat with furniture that fits our style and shows off our creativity. That said, many people are worried about feeling cramped in a small home. We’ve picked up several tips that should help to alleviate those concerns, letting you feel cosy and content in your compact pad.
If you don’t have much floor space in your home for furniture, use the height of your ceiling to your advantage. Storage becomes easier when you decide to use the space on your walls, instead of just cramming everything under your bed.
If you want to show off your stuff, you can’t beat a good wall mounted shelf – thoughtfully arranged, these will display your personality and give you a place to keep your favourite possessions. Books, pictures, cameras, toys and souvenirs from your travels all look pretty out in the open.
Alternatively, keep your things dust free behind closed doors in cabinets. You can often pick up nice vintage-looking ones dirt cheap from flea markets and car boot sales. Sand them down and give them a fresh coat of paint in your favourite colour for easy, attractive storage.
Be picky: choose furniture that works for you
Don’t listen to the people who tell you flat pack items are flimsy and unattractive – we know first hand that they have their place. The key advantage when shopping for mass produced furniture is the incredible amount of choice you have, and if you’re limited for space, you need to make the most of this variety.
When we moved into our little apartment in Cardiff, we immediately noticed a narrow nook in the wall – ideal for a bookcase. A quick flick through the IKEA catalogue revealed several that would fit. It was tempting to automatically go for the iconic BILLY bookcase, but we eventually decided that a taller shelf in a dark colour would better suit our needs.
Similarly, when we got fed up with eating off plastic boxes on the floor and decided to invest in a dining table, we were concerned about it taking up too much room in our already limited living area. With tape measure in hand, we explored the local superstore and discovered the perfect solution – a folding table that’s big enough to accommodate a small dinner party when fully extended, but barely noticeable when folded and pushed against the identically white wall. Even the chairs fold down and fit snugly between the table legs.
Live a clutter free life
This one’s easier said than done, but listen up. You REALLY don’t need all that old tat that’s cluttering up your cupboards. You know the stuff: clothes you don’t wear, mementos from friends long gone, boxes for every electrical device you’ve ever owned. Be brutal. Sell the high-ticket items on eBay. Donate your unwanted clothes, books and DVDs. Chuck the rest.
It’s a liberating experience, and when you live in a small space, you badly need that extra room for storing the things that matter. Now all you need to do is decide on a place for everything and stick to it. You don’t have to be a neat freak, just pick one day of the week when you’ll put everything back where it should be. We like doing this on a Sunday – there’s always a lull in the late afternoon that’s perfect for end-of-week tidying, and it feels good to reset your home before Monday rolls around.
If you enjoyed reading this post and have your own secrets for small space happiness, share them with us! You can tweet us @Creative_Hacks or drop us a friendly comment below – we love to hear your thoughts, and always reply!