Making any compact, multi-functional space work effectively, attractively and still feel like home — it needn't be an anomaly. Just follow a few simple steps and you're well on your way.
This is a prerequisite. The very definition of a small space is that it cannot judiciously hold a truck load of stuff and still have room for you to live comfortably in it. You will need to make clever and balanced decisions on what it is sensible to keep and what you are definitely not going to miss - or probably even remember you owned in the first place - in a week's time. â€˜Having a good clear out' is also more than a bit good for the soul. Many find it to be a very therapeutic or even cathartic process. So get rid of old baggage - literally.
Split your remaining possessions into the categories or groups in which you will logically be using them together, either at the same time or in the same space. In simple terms, make sure all kitchen appliances remain in the kitchen and if you moisturise in the bathroom morning and night, there's no sense keeping the tin on your bedside table. This will reduce clutter, which will have the benefit of not only making your life a little easier, but will also create the illusion of enhanced space, and will make your apartment easier to maintain in its optimum state in the long run.
This is the next step to organisation. When it comes to a studio apartment and using your space, you have to be a bit more creative. If your kitchen is your living room - or your living room is your bedroom - or all three are one — we're not talking different rooms, but competing sections of the same room you'll have to contend with. Split your room into logical, function-based areas. This is not only a more efficient use of space - not least as it will force you to address how much space each â€˜section' actually uses up! - but will also create a more aesthetically balanced space that you and any visitors are more likely to feel at home in. If your frying pan inhabits the same drawer as your dressing gown and library books, it's never a good look and is bound to cause chaos. There are better ways of saving space and still holding on to your sanity!
This is the best way to go about it. Choose pieces that have more than one string to their bow and set your space wherever possible in a way that your furniture will do the work for you:
Room dividers - perfect for creating privacy and semi-separate spaces within four walls. The folding kind are great, but even better are the extended, open bookcase variety. Extra storage is a no brainer.
Multi-Hangers that pull their weight - why use an ordinary old hanger that only holds one pair of trousers, when you can save nine lots of hanger space with one that carries ten? Space - saving products are all the rage and are becoming increasingly more inventive - over-the-door shoe racks and under-the-bed boxes are just two of the items widely available online and in department stores now.
Foldable, stackable, inflatable - these are all functions that allow you to stow away items such as chairs, futons and side tables when not in use.
Built-in cupboard? Try sticking your head in and looking up - you'll be amazed at how much unutilised space is lounging well above top-shelf level, with absolutely nothing to say for itself. Think about how much you could store up there if you got a step ladder and started stacking. If you're lucky enough to have a loft, you've got even less excuse for idle air!
Don't be scared of a little trial and error - warm that elbow grease and start shifting, and you're sure to come up with simple, effective improvements in no time. Your cosy wee flat never looked so good.
Nadia Tariq is a Ken's Yard writer and freelance blogger with a passion for sustainable, homely interiors, self build and property design. Her portfolio of work reflects a wide range of interests and creative themes.
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