Whether you live in a house or an apartment, space is at a premium. Square footage plays a big part in determining prices, after all. But when you’re trying to live in an awkwardly small space, how do you use it to its full potential?
It can be difficult to fit your entire life into a space that feels too tiny. You may have a small, closed off living room or a studio apartment to design around. Whatever the case may be, there is always a solution waiting to be discovered.
Thankfully, there are lots of tried-and-true methods for making your space work for you. Plus, you don’t have to lose out on style.
How Can You Maximize Your Living Space?
The first step in improving your space is to take stock of what you have and what you’re able to do. What does your living situation and budget allow, and what are your goals?
Once you have the basics in order, you need to make a plan for the layout of your living spaces. Sometimes all it takes is a little design tweaking and creative strategies. Here are 18 clever ways to maximize your living spaces:
You may have furniture that used to be just right but is too big for your current needs. You can often swap things like couches, sectionals, beds and dressers for smaller versions. This way you instantly get more space to work with.
You don’t have to go full minimalist, but donating unused belongings is an easy start to a more spacious area. The key is to make sure you will have space for anything you decide to keep.
Incorporate Multiuse Furniture
Implementing this tip can be as simple as using potential storage space in your existing furniture. You can also find affordably priced pieces such as storage ottomans at any furniture store. On the pricier or DIY end, you can make use of foldaway or convertible furniture to save space.
Another splendid example of multi-use furniture is a simple table. Your dining table can also be a desk and a kitchen island. That’s three pieces of furniture or more replaced with just one.
An extremely frugal way to maximize your space is to create solutions for storage. If you need a place for bins or other short items, raise large furniture for extra storage underneath. Fold or organize smaller items more efficiently to fit more in the same space.
Organization is a big part of maximizing your living space. If you don’t want to DIY your storage solutions, home stores often sell organizers. Common examples are dividers for drawers and racks for deep or tall cabinets.
Mount or Hide Your TV
TVs may be thin, but they can still waste space. If possible, get rid of your TV stand and hang the TV on the wall. If not, see if you can keep it in a multipurpose cabinet or foldaway furniture piece.
We often waste the space above a TV as well. Whether you mount it on a wall or put it in a cabinet, maximize vertical space by adding shelving above.
Mirrors make a space feel bigger and they never go out of style. Adding a mirror as decoration or a functional piece will help elevate a cramped space with minimal effort.
You don’t have to stop at wall mirrors. You can enhance tabletop surfaces such as end and coffee tables with a mirror finish. Mirrors can also enhance wall art and the back paneling of shelving units.
Adding mirrors to your furniture is an easy do-it-yourself project, as well. If you’re looking to transform your living space on a budget, mirrors are perfect.
Make Decorative Items Functional
Just like mirrors, you may be missing out on valuable space by using exclusively decorative items. If you don’t use a dining table or formal living room, use the space for something you do use. When you’re short on space, prioritize function over form.
This principle can also apply to decluttering. If you don’t have the space to display your knickknacks, it might be time to part with them. Having too much stuff in a room will make it feel smaller, and that’s the opposite of our goal.
Repurpose Your Closet
Closets frequently become either wasted space or dumping grounds. Organizing your closet efficiently will allow you to fit more inside it. You might even have enough space to put things you want hidden, such as a compact washer and dryer.
Closets are also a great low maintenance storage solution, because you don’t have to show them off. If you need to use plastic totes or other utilitarian storage options, closets are a great place to put them. This way you won’t have to compromise your style for function.
You can also use a closet to hide foldaway furniture or a murphy bed. If you have a larger closet or don’t mind confined spaces, you could use your closet as a private office. If it was otherwise wasted space, making it functional is the best way to maximize your space.
Make Storage Solutions Work for You
One of the best ways to use space efficiently is to create systems that work for you. If you always leave your keys on a table, you might not use a decorative key hook. Don’t be afraid to mix things up to make them functional.
A great option is to combine storage solutions such as wall shelving and hideaway storage. If just one thing isn’t working, use more. If you are able to, making built-in wall shelving saves space and is customizable to your needs.
Home stores often carry storage solution sets. You can mix and match the individual pieces to suit your needs. These sets are also multipurpose in most cases.
Embrace an Open Concept
If you have an open concept floor plan or can make one, there are many ways to make these spaces functional. Even when you’re working with a small room, incorporating multifunctional home furniture can make it multipurpose. A small living or family room can also be a coworking space or great room.
The most common combination is a kitchen, living and dining room, but you can use just about any combo. The only exception would probably be the bathroom, but that’s up to you.
If you don’t want to go full open concept, there are several methods of sectioning off the space. Tall furniture such as free standing bookshelves make great room dividers. Or, for a more avant garde look, hang curtains or paintings from the ceiling as dividers.
Even small rooms can be open, multifunctional living spaces. Kitchen islands with barstools are a common example, but you can also use a dining table as an island. Another option is to section off a corner of your small living room as an office space and reading nook.
Consider the Flow of the Space
Clear space is just as important as clever systems.
When arranging your furniture, keep in mind how you will be walking around and using it. Make sure you have enough space to walk comfortably. Frequently used items should be within reach of where you use them.
You should also consider the order in which you use things. If you go from your desk to the kitchen to the couch in the evenings, is there anything in the way? Being able to get around efficiently not only saves time but also makes you feel better about the space.
Thinking about how to use your space efficiently also plays into creating functional organization systems. For example, do you tend to pile your clothes on a chair in your bedroom instead of putting them away? You could improve the efficiency by moving your closet, laundry room and bathroom closer together.
That doesn’t mean you have to totally remodel your house, though. If possible, you can put your clothing storage, washer and dryer in or close to the bathroom. That way you will be less likely to make piles since your clothes can go straight in and out of the wash.
Consider Light Colors
There’s a reason you see a lot of white and beige when you’re touring houses or apartments. Light colors make rooms feel brighter and more spacious. If you are planning the color palette of a small room, sticking to light colors is best. Keep dark or more saturated colors to accent pieces to prevent the room from feeling heavy.
Curved furniture is useful for more than just preventing toe and shin injuries. Opting for round tables and other surfaces offers more flexibility and a little more room to walk around. Round dining tables are especially useful for entertaining as you can pull up extra chairs more easily.
While you shouldn’t put the things you use every day too high up, don’t be afraid to hang decorations higher. Using the full height of your walls not only maximizes space but also makes the space feel taller. A simple way to achieve this effect is to hang curtains above the window frame, closer to the ceiling.
Any other tall, vertical lines will add to this effect. For example, full height bookshelves and tall floor lamps make great ceiling-raisers.
Use the Corners
Corners can be troublesome when you’re trying to maximize space. Although it can be tempting to just shove big furniture into them, you can use that space.
An armchair and lamp in the corner makes a good place for reading or relaxing. For maximum space usage, corner shelves round out the room with extra storage.
Go Up, Not Out
Drawers and cabinets have their uses, but tall shelving units capitalize on vertical space best. You can use upper and lower shelves for storage and eye-level shelves for display. A floor to ceiling bookshelf, especially built in, makes great use of space and draws the eye up.
Make it Clear
If windows and mirrors open up a space, so does see-through furniture. That doesn’t mean you need to replace everything with glass, but incorporating transparency will help a small space feel bigger.
Lightweight lines and open structures function similarly. Mid-century modern style furniture legs are a popular choice, although the price point may be higher as a result. Choosing a lighter wood color also helps furniture feel lighter and thinner without compromising stability.
Define the Space
Especially in multipurpose rooms, it can be difficult to incorporate different sections without looking jumbled. To solve this problem, group furniture around anchor points such as area rugs.
If you want to see this method in action, look at the way home furniture stores display furniture sets. They use a “rooms-to-go” style where the whole room is there but without all or most of the walls. The only thing really defining the room from the rest of the gallery furniture is the layout centering on an anchor point.
Designing and decorating a small space to be functional can be tricky. But with these tips for maximizing your living space, you can turn a cramped room into a tiny living dream.
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