I hope Unnecessary Quotations won’t shoot me down for this one, because when I say “petite” I think we all know I mean a smaller than the average bear cave.
A few months ago, we went from a quaint and renovated 1950s four-bedroom home (with office and backyard) to a standard two-bedroom apartment.
Whatever you might be thinking right now… Seriously… tell me about it.
Perhaps you are eyeing down a mandatory move (or thinking about downgrading to pursue that decluttered existence I read so much about) and you’re starting to wonder how in the heck you’ll fit all your crap into such a small place… or maybe you just love decorating!
Regardless, here are some sneaky ways we made it “home” (and big enough) without busting our wallet:
Paint, but don’t go all out.
Painting is the fastest (and notoriously cheapest) way to make a home yours and to make it stylish. So, at first, I wanted to paint any and everything I could see to make it more homey like our old house. But that’s time and money (and money is time) so it wasn’t the best strategy for our three month lease.
We showed up, brushes in hand, and I stared down the large, eggshell landscape and my right bicep heaved a great sigh. I knew it wasn’t in the cards to paint-tape the ceiling and window ledges and the floor boards.Instead, I downgraded to an accent wall (which just makes the room sometimes, you know?).
So, to skip all that nonsense, I got a little modern and painted a thick, soft-green bar that rolls around over to walls.
It. Is. Perfect. It’s a lot of color without overwhelming the room. It might have taken 20 minutes to do and the streamlined half-room-ness of it creates such visual motion that decorating the rest of the room is as simple as an accent here or there.
Apply this to your own apartment by picking a large shape you enjoy and painting it in an accent color. For me, I liked the thick bar-look. For others, a more modern touch like a triangle or star will make the space your own.
No space is too little for storage space
Storage is one area in which you need to make some heavy choices by prioritizing what space you want to keep the most usable.
Since it’s just the two of us and the kitten, we were able to get very creative in the storage department and sacrifice space in some places (second bedroom) to maximize space in others (bedroom, kitchen).
For starters, I left the closet open in the second bedroom and doubled its storage capacity by filling it in for two rows as if it were an in-home storage unit.
The very back wall is filled with books and things I won’t need to get at and the front with items we use a little more. To cover the visual horror of packed belongings, up went the tension rod and textured curtains, mimicking a cool and breezy patio door.
Sure, it’s pretty obvious we’re pushing “stylish” in this room… but for a workout room or study in which your attention is directed towards a book or a TV, it’s not a big sacrifice!
In the living room, instead of setting an armchair squarely against the wall, set the armchair catty-corner, leaving a vertical triangle space to fill with more boxes.
Maximizing furniture placement
Ever wonder what distinguishes a well-planned room from a college dorm room (besides the expensive furniture, that is). It’s all about taking chances.
It’s very dorm room-esque to stack all of your bookshelves, desks, and things around the wall like a museum. While this seems like it makes a lot of sense (you’re trying to make things neat and orderly, after all) it also makes the room feel stark, empty, and purposeless. To solve this problem….
Use book shelves to create two separate spaces within a single tiny room. It’s practically a magic eye trick in doubling the room space. Here’s a handy visual:
- Before, you had one large chill zone surrounded by all sorts of things. The wall lined with bookshelves, a desk, and musical equipment felt very cramped. Only one person could be in there “doing their thing” at a time and sometimes it felt like the walls were closing in on you.
- After, there are two chill zones! Now JHubbs can play guitar in the corner with his amps, while I can work away at the desk and gaze lovingly at him. Or vice versa. Either way, this is the biggest improvement to the apartment ever since……
The floating couch. This “advanced move” opened up our living room and made the space very welcoming and cozy – a major feat for an expansive living room.
This also encourages the flow of a party. Like water in a river, company can flow in and out of the space without being caught in an awkward “couch eddy”.
This works best if you have something else to “ground” the couch in the room. We used a large bookshelf from IKEA. Maybe you have a thin side table or can do a combo of a small desk and a chair side by side.