Reducing carbon footprint and living a more ecologically friendly life has become a passion for many homeowners, particularly in dense urban environments. This often means living in small spaces such as condominiums or homes with a small footprint.
With space at a premium in many cities, even a small condominium or home can cost a fortune, so leveraging every inch of your space is critical.
Here are some tips to make living in a small space fun and enjoyable.
Edit your possessions
Clutter will only make your small home feel cramped, so get rid of anything that you do not truly need. You can rent a storage facility (another monthly cost) or sell what you no longer need on eBay, Kijiji or Craigslist. Selling your old stuff can give you budget to buy new, small-space appropriate furniture and storage facilities.
Make sure that everything you do own has a place in your small space. The good part about living in a small space is that everything you own takes on a new importance, as there is no room to collect junk. Buy only things you truly love, and that you truly need.
2. Furniture should do double duty
You know that dresser in your bedroom? Make it your bedside table as well. Wall unit in the living room? Find one that has a drop-down desk built in for a living space that can double as an office. The most important thing about your furniture – other than it be top quality – is that each piece must serve as many purposes as possible.
Consider investing in custom built closets and/or shelves. Built-ins can increase the value of your property, properly care for your possessions as well as provide another way to keep clutter from invading your home.
3. Scale and light
Just because you live in a small space does not mean you must have small furniture. Scale is important in a small space, so don’t hesitate to get a couple of items that are on a larger scale but that still work within your space. Big elements that deliver scale are usually items such as mirrors, art, a comfy reading chair or other important element of your room.
Selecting visually light furniture will allow you to have more elements in a space without seeming cramped. For example, furniture with hairpin or mid-century modern tapered legs, or any other airy style that leaves plenty of empty space around your pieces is ideal. Glass or molded plastic coffee tables and chairs also allow light to travel through and around your space, making it feel more expansive. Consider investing in a glass bar cart or coffee table, which will bring an elegant feel to your space.
Be very careful about your colour choices. For example, dark colours on a wall can easily overpower a room, making it seem small whereas a wall painted in a vibrant colour can give off too much energy for a small space. Instead, bright touches of colour in throw cushions, accessories and small pieces of furniture such as occasional chairs and rugs can really liven up a space and give it some personality without committing to a dramatic colour that is difficult to change.
Once you’ve done your research on which colour will work best in your space and made your selection, paint the colours on white foam core board. You can then place the colour boards around the room to see how they will look in different areas. Colors often look different near windows vs. interior walls.
5. Outside space
Many small spaces also have small outdoor spaces such as tiny balconies. Maximize the square footage of your balcony by thinking outside the box. Consider creating a cozy nook by laying cushions on the floor topped with heaps of cozy throw pillows, or create a table setting with romantic lighting. It’s all about what you do with the space, not how much space you have.
6. Texture and reflection
When purchasing new furniture and artwork, select pieces that have interest with either texture or reflection. Texture (think: faux fur, suede or a tactile rug such as shag) will bring warmth and dimension to your room, whereas mirrored surfaces will bounce light around your space.
Decorating your small space can be super fun. Take the time to seek out pieces that make you happy and that will enhance your space. Every element is important in a small space, so making well-thought out, deliberate choices if key when creating the environment you love.
Good luck and happy decorating!