Whether you are living in a small apartment or a tiny efficiency apartment, there are ways to make your home cozy, practical, and attractive. No longer are you bound by the confines of designated space – you can make up your home’s character and allot space as you see fit. To make your one-room or small home a place you love to come home to – make sure you arrange and decorate your belongings to suit your activities and interests.
Space planning begins with thinking through how you plan to live on a d ay-by-day basis. Start with waking up, grabbing breakfast, going to work, coming home, relaxing and spending your evening hours. Think about how each of these activities would be made easier and more comfortable with the right amount of space. For most apartment dwellers, lack of space is a perpetual problem. If you don’t have the space, think about what can be compromised.
Following a space budget is really no different than watching your money. The more space you have, the more you can allow for things and the more you can separate your activities with space allocated for entertaining, living, home-officing exercising, and sleeping. The less you have, the more creative you need to be.
The main thing to consider is devoting the most space to the activity that is the most important, and then arranging the space to make the execution of that activity easier.
Think fold-up, pull-out, and multipurpose. A dining table should be able to function as a desk. An armoire can open up to reveal a computer workstation as well as storage. The couch-futon can be used for sleep and when the bedding is put away, it becomes a place to entertain guests comfortably. A sofa can hide-a-bed (but be sure to look into the quality of the mattress and springs. Let the salesperson know that this will not be used occasionally, but daily.)
Wall-anchored lift-away beds (that can be moved easily to the next apartment) are an increasingly popular solution. New technologies and designs are making it possible to combine these sturdy beds with home office systems that fold neatly away behind handsome cabinets. Helene Meyer, owner of Roommaker Wall Systems says that one of the most common misconceptions about wall-beds is that they must be built-in.
On the contrary, says Meyer, it is the very portability of these systems that make them perfect for apartment renters because they can be easily moved from one home to the next. “We help the customer determine their needs and to pick the appropriate unit. I have had customers move their units from apartment to apartment and then into houses where they are put into guest rooms, children’s rooms and home offices.” The beds have a life of about 25 years if used daily. They take a 10″ thick Sealy Posturepedic mattress and are available in queen, double or twin size frames.
If space continues to be short, turn your attention to getting storage onto the walls and organizing your belongings to maximize space. Write down the situations for which you need practical solutions and visit some retailers who may be able to help. Stores with an on-line presence such as The Container Store, Pottery Barn, and Crate and Barrel can be particularly good sources of ideas and solutions.
Don’t make the mistake of giving space to those special occasions or activities that come rarely or never happen, especially when you don’t have room to spare. You don’t need to be giving precious storage space to things you don’t use on a daily basis. Daily use items must get top priority.
Divide your possessions into A, B, and C categories of importance. Those in the C category, you can either throw out, donate, recycle or store in a storage unit.