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Little Can Go a Long Way

July 14, 2011

by Emily 

Up until now, I have honestly never paid much mind to articles and blog posts highlighting the efficient (and stylish!) use of small spaces. I have certainly enjoyed looking at images of well executed apartments regardless of the size, but I have never scrutinized a picture and wondered hrmmmm, so where is their tv? all of their shoes? is that a two seater sofa? do they only eat out?  hold.the.phones., three people live here? how can anyone afford New York? does Mary McDonald want to paint my floors? will I have to paint them back when I move? is that an – gasp! – interior bedroom??? Heavens. My mind is now racing!

So many questions, so little time!  My mindset has definitely changed with the fast approaching move to New York.  Wich leads me to one last question: What are the rules for designing and executing winning small spaces?

To answer this question and design my very own New York pad, I’ve scoured the interwebs for hints, read and re-read the latest issue of House Beautiful for handy small space tips, and spent entirely too much time at the largest big box retailer for small spaces (how ironic): Ikea. 

Here are my takeaways:

1. Drama is interesting and good.  While this might be counter to what many suggest, you hardly have any space, so you may as well make it interesting. By adding focal points, patterns, and color, you add dimension and an element of cozy that may otherwise be sacrificed with bland (blah!) finishes.

Lonny

2. Furniture can/should/will be dual purpose. Your coffee table can most certainly be your dining room table. Your bedside table will be your jewelry organizer and dressing table. Who needs a head board when you have clothese to store? And that sofa table? It is now, without room for argument, also your desk.

Pinterest, House Beautiful, Traditional Home

3. Balance furniture scale with vertical space. 
-Scale down…and look up!: A large sofa or king size bed do not make sense in a small space.  Opt for smaller options and make them go vertical: add risers to your bed (and store things underneath), hang curtains nearly to the ceiling to draw your eye up, balance clutter vs. display with open shelving and closed-door storage space.
-Show some leg: furniture that rests on legs rather than the ground do not swallow small spaces.
-Refelct: mirrors create the illusion of more space – placing a large mirror in a small space is a fun way to trick scale in your favor

Pinterest, Lonny, AptTherapy

4.  Create meaningful vignettes and strong displays. All “stuff” is not created equal. Useful doodles, meaningful collections, and your favorite flair all have a place in your maison regardless of its size.  Just remember to edit, layer, and go up when possible.

Lonny, Pinterest, Munger Interiors, Emily's Maison


5.  No rules.
At the end of the day, it is your home and your decision how you choose to live in it. Do not feel confined by rules; instead, uniquely define your own set given your space constraints and resources.

Lonny, TradHome, Pinterest

With all this research in planning, my hope is that my new apartment is cozy, smartly designed, and memorable!

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