I am so excited to share a guest post today from our friends at Extra Space Storage! Most people don’t have the luxury of a large living space and we are continually asked for help strategizing efficiency in small living areas. Lucky for us our guest blogger Garret Stembridge from Extra Space Storage has offered to share some of his favorite tips and tricks. If you have your own personal tips or tricks that have worked for you in the past, it would be great if you shared them with us!
12 Tips and Tricks to Maximize Small Spaces
It can be tough to squeeze everything you need into a small apartment and still make it feel homey. It’s even trickier when you’re sharing a small space. But with a little creativity and proper planning, it’s possible to make the most of even a few hundred square feet.
The following twelve tips will allow you to maximize the square footage in your small apartment — by finding hidden space, carefully choosing furniture, avoiding clutter, and selecting the right color scheme.
1.) Maximize your windows and take advantage of natural light. Simple white curtains draped on windows will maximize natural light and make the room appear bigger. Don’t forget that cleaning windows on a regular basis will also keep the light coming in, adding a sense of spaciousness and cheer to your small space.
2.) Choose simple, classic furniture. Furniture with simple, spare lines can make a small apartment feel roomier. Avoid cluttering a small space with more furniture than is absolutely necessary. You can always keep a few folding chairs in a closet if guests are visiting, rather than cramming the room with more seating than you need on a regular basis.
3.) Select light colors. Light colors will make a room appear more spacious. Dark colors, on the other hand, will make a space feel closed in. Choose light colors for walls, such as white, cream, beige, or light yellow. If you’re drawn to bold colors, stick to bolder accents, such as wall hangings, lamps, and pillows. Pay attention to the harmony between wall and furniture colors, as well; if the colors are complementary, the space will appear larger.
4.) Use Patterns Sparingly. Even if you find yourself drawn to bold, vibrant patterns, it’s better to use patterns sparingly in a small space. A few accent floral or striped pillows is probably all you can get away with in a small space. A couch should definitely be a solid color. Otherwise, the small space could become claustrophobic. And if you’re sharing the space, a solid color is easier to agree on than a pattern.
5.) Remember that less is more. Resist the urge to personalize your small space by trying to make room to display all your collectibles. Instead of cluttering walls and shelves with knickknacks, choose only a few favorite pieces to display. Otherwise, you and your guests (or the person you’re sharing the space with) will feel distracted by the clutter. Keep in mind that you can always rotate your selection of collectibles.
6.) Add built-in shelving. There’s no easier way to create more storage and floor space than by adding built-in shelving. Consider taking the shelving units all the way to the ceiling to make the walls look higher. Place items that you don’t use as often on high shelves (those high school yearbooks, for example), and keep items you use on a regular basis (office supplies, for example) on lower shelves. If you’re sharing the space, you can divide the shelves so that everyone is able to find what they need.
7.) Choose your coffee table and nightstand wisely. Stay away from stylish glass coffee tables that don’t offer any storage. Instead, consider using storage cubes as a coffee table. The cubes can also function as seating when you’re entertaining. A wall-mounted nightstand and light fixture will make the most of limited floor space. It’s all about carefully selecting furniture when living in a small space.
8.) Don’t forget about the space under the bed. What better place to store extra bedding, winter clothes, or that instrument you rarely play, than under the bed? Figure out what you need to access most often and cut down on trips to the storage unit.
9.) Hide those electronics. Hide the TV and DVD player in a cabinet, or even hang the TV over the fireplace. There’s no need to look at a big, black screen unless it’s movie night. A cabinet can also be a great place to store DVDs and a music collection.
10.) Choose multi-purpose furniture. If your small space functions as both living room and sleeping quarters, a daybed is cozy but also makes the room feel less like a personal bedroom than a four-poster bed would. Many daybeds have built-in shelving units below, or you can always add your own.
11.) Keep bedding simple. Choose simple colors for your bedding (no busy floral patterns) to make the room seem more spacious and inviting to guests. Lighter colored sheets tend to work better for smaller spaces as well.
12.) Mirrored closet doors. Consider hanging mirrors on opposite sides of a room to make your place seem bigger. You can even make a style statement by selecting decorative frames that express your personal taste without breaking your budget. To add spaciousness to a small bedroom, consider replacing your closet doors with mirrored doors. You’ll be surprised by how much more spacious and bright your apartment will appear.
What have you found helps to make the most of a smaller space? Share your tips below!
**Garret Stembridge is part of the team at Extra Space Storage, a leading provider of self-storage facilities. Garret often writes about storage and organization topics for homes and for businesses.