Small spaces have been having a moment lately. With soaring monthly rents and entire generations of Americans skittish about investing in homes, tiny homes, studios, and one-bedroom apartments are fast becoming some of the most sought-after dwellings.
It’s not just the financial constraints, either. Millennials and Gen Z’ers seem to have vastly different tastes to their parents and older siblings. Out with the sprawling, excessive McMansions disconnected from public transit and social life and in with smaller, hyper-personalized spaces curated for one’s taste.
With so many interior design resources and stores catering to this “growing” segment of renters and home buyers, it’s never been easier to decorate a small space. Let’s take a look at six ways to reinvent any space, no matter the square footage.
No matter how well you think you can “eye-ball it” when it comes to decorating, small spaces won’t be forgiving if you try to jam an L-shaped sofa or full-size credenza into them. Remember that every square inch counts, so use them wisely. When you go shopping, bring a measuring tape! And get to know the standard dimensions for permanent fixtures such as kitchen cabinets. That way, you’ll be able to shop for only what’ll fit.
If you’re living in a small home or apartment where everything is in view 24/7, consider integrating details that serve form and function effortlessly. You don’t even have to spend much. IKEA and H&M’s home line features distinctive accent pieces and furnishings perfect for small spaces.
Do you have open storage in a galley kitchen? Store grains, cereal, tea, coffee, and spices in air-tight jars. No dishwasher? No problem! Get a wooden or bamboo drying rack. For privacy, use shelving or fabric curtains to partition an open room.
If you’re leasing an apartment for a year or two at-most, you likely won’t have the ability to customize everything to your liking. For most renters and first-time buyers, flooring is one of the most obvious and easy ways to customize a space. It can also be pricey and labor-intensive.
But there are options out there. Consider peel-and-stick decorative flooring that allows you to create a unique, tiled space, all without grout and power tools!
Speaking of shelving, using creative storage is by far the best way to economize on space. However, you don’t need to buy a huge bookcase or credenza, especially if you’re moving into new apartments every few years. Instead, consider products like modular shelving, which gives you the flexibility to mix, match, and rearrange shelving to your liking.
Small spaces are perfect for tapping into your most creative impulses. Even a one-room studio apartment can serve as the perfect blank canvas for an accent wall, floor-to-ceiling indoor plants, or internationally-inspired furnishings like woven baskets, Moroccan floor cushions or even Japanese low tables.
Marie Kondo reached international acclaim earlier this year, with a Netflix series that shone a light on the burden many of us carry (at times, literally,) from home to home.
Even if you don’t agree with her minimalist choices and methods, she makes a strong argument against mindlessly accumulating material objects. We are not the things we own, and the stuff we do have should in some way, “spark joy,” or at the very least comprise useful objects we use and appreciate each day.
This is in line with a broader push to declutter and streamline one’s way of living; to focus on experiences and relationships instead of just “stuff.” With this approach, living in a small space isn’t a sacrifice but a mindful way to curate what’s most important to each of us.
So, there you have it! These ideas are just starting-off points for creating a space that’s perfectly designed for the way you live your life. If you’re living in a tiny house or apartment with its fair share of physical limitations, take an intuitive approach and get as creative as you want.