More and more of us are living in smaller homes both inside and outside of the city. Living in a petite space can be a lot of fun and can afford you the opportunity to live in a central area that you otherwise may not be able to, but it also comes with its own challenges. Read on as Sonia Pash, co-founder of Temza Design Studio, shares some of her top tips for making the most of small dimensions.
Storage, storage, storage!
If you’ve just bought a property with limited space, think carefully about what it already offers and how to make the most of it. Clever joinery design and multifunctional joinery can make a huge difference to your space and help you to use every inch of it to your advantage for storage and to hide away clutter. Think about multifunctional furniture, for example, a window seat with integrated drawers, which is a great option for bay windows. Not only does this piece of furniture make the window the focal point of the room, but it also turns the otherwise unused floor space into a useful area whilst providing you with extra storage space to keep all your bits and pieces.
Balancing open and closed storage
In a small home, think about how you can use a combination of open and closed storage to make your space work best for you. A little bit of forward-thinking and some smart, multi-purpose furniture will allow you to hide the things you don’t want to see all the time and show off the things you do. Plus, it can really help you to stay organised.
Closed storage looks neat and is great for items that aren’t so easy to put into boxes, like stationery, USB cables and chargers and loose paperwork. Open storage lets you display some of your favourite books, decorative items or plants and adds a personal touch to your home. If you can’t decide what makes the cut, remember that you have the freedom to switch things up and move items around whenever you feel like it.
When space is at a premium, it’s important to pick and choose furniture correctly so you don’t end up with a cluttered home. If you don’t have room for side tables, in a bedroom, for example, alcoves can be a practical solution to really make the most of an awkward space. They’re great for displaying your favourite items and you can also fill them will designer-looking storage boxes to keep any mess out of sight. There are a million storage box designs to choose from, from minimal through to eclectic and fun, and they are a simple way to add some colour to the room.
One of the biggest challenges of living in a small home is knowing how and where to store clothes. Bespoke fitted wardrobes are a clever option and enable you to purposely design your wardrobe space by thinking about what kind of storage you need and how you use it.
Plan ahead and evaluate your clothing collection beforehand; if you know exactly what you’re going to store there, you can squeeze much more in. It’s not so much about the number of items you have, but more about keeping it organised. Use specific storage for specific items, and once you get your wardrobe purposely designed make sure you keep it tidy! Stick to a ‘one in, one out’ principle to keep your space neat and your wardrobe looking fresh.
There are so many different types of storage to consider depending on what you have and what works for you. Some options to consider are:
- Short and low hanging rails
- Slanted shelves for shoes
- Deep or shallow drawers, with compartments within the drawer, if necessary
- Narrow rails on the inside of doors for belts and scarves
- Pegs or hooks for jewellery and accessories
- A fold-out compartment for a laundry basket
Adding mirrored doors to your wardrobe will visually enlarge the size of the room. If a built-in dressing table is a necessity and it doesn’t have to take too much space; it can be an open part of the bespoke joinery or hidden behind mirrored doors.
Thinking outside the box
Be creative and think about where you can implement additional storage aside from the bedroom or the wardrobe.
Hallways are great for shoes, coats and bags, and some closed storage cabinets on top of the kitchen cupboards or somewhere in the living room can give you extra space to store off-season clothes or things that you only wear or use very occasionally.
If you have a staircase, make the most of the space underneath. This is historically a place to stash away any unsightly stuff, but it doesn’t have to be hectic and crammed. Instead of just throwing everything in, try to break up the area with shelves or drawers. This will look a million times better and make locating things much easier, too.
Different shapes and sizes of cupboards can also hide away any number of household items, from brooms and brollies to ironing boards and clothes horses.
Storage in furniture
There are some great furniture options out there for small spaces, so make the most of them! Storage benches are great in the hallway, and footstalls provide a stylish, comfortable and practical solution.
Ottoman beds are another great choice, as they are not only incredibly comfortable but are designed for providing extra cupboard areas. If the space allows it, go for king size, as an ottoman bed will more than make up for any lost floor space.
If an ottoman isn’t an option, a headboard with storage is a smart idea and gives you extra space where you least expect it.
You can also use storage to divide areas; if you live in an open plan space, an easy way to zone the room is to use storage dividers. They’re an ingenious choice as they don’t block the light and keep the room looking light and airy while providing you with that all-important extra storage space.
Image credits: Temza Design Studio