Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Small Space Solutions

Is your space missing something ??? Is your space... missing space ??? A solution does exist. Do not let yourself become frustrated with lack of space. Work with the space you have. Maximize the space you have with these small space solutions.

Eliminate a few pieces of furniture and keep the key pieces. Think about your lifestyle and what you really need in your space to function. I have a small family room... comfy seating is important to me. The family room holds a TV , TV console, a two piece sectional sofa, a coffee table and that is all. Choose a few key pieces and eliminate the rest.

Keep it simple... eliminate clutter in small spaces. Stuff piled everywhere will only shrink your space more.

If you have a small space chances are your storage space is equally small. Storage ottomans or cubes are great storage solutions. They hold and hide all your stuff and serve double duty as extra seating when people come to visit. I eliminated a coffee table in a recent redo in the family room... and replaced it with 4 leather storage cubes. Practical solution for small spaces.

Arrange the furniture accordingly... work with your walls and windows... not against them. If you are transitioning from a larger house into a smaller apartment type setting. Consider changing out all your major furniture pieces for down sized or apartment sized pieces. Or consider a love - seat rather than a sofa. Look for armless chairs and sofas. They give you more flexibility and space.

Use the walls....lacking storage... think up. Install floating shelves up a wall with storage bins to hide your stuff but keep it neat and organized. Storage bins have come along way in the past few years... some look like art.

Here are a few tips from the pros...
Your Kitchen, Your Focal Point Take a look around your home at the focal points in each room to see how it balances the space. A focal point is the center of the space, the key item that the room works around. For living rooms, it could be the fireplace, for bedrooms it could be a canopy bed. For small kitchens, it's the typically the entire space. So how do you deal with this - an entire space? Look at your kitchen as one solid unit. Use either a neutral palette or one color throughout your space to keep the eye moving and for the kitchen to feel like one complete unit. One easy solution for creating this look is to make sure your backsplash pattern is uninterrupted and even the outlets fit into the design aesthetic.  Make sure they are part of the pattern or color palette and that they fit in rather than stand out and fore the eye to stop on them. Take a look around and make sure the room fits together.

Think you need more square footage? Check out these tips for making the most of what you have and you just might change your mind.
1. Enlist Rooms for Double Duty
Does your dining room sit dark and empty most nights? Do you have a formal living room that people rarely set foot in? Estimate how often you use each room in your home for its intended purpose, and turn the room that gets the least love into a multifunctional space.
2. Make the Most of "Forgotten" Spaces
If there's a wasted corner, pass-through, nook or niche in your home, turn it into something functional. Add a slim table or wall-mounted countertop to that odd little space off the living room or the bedroom, and stash a set of roll-away drawers underneath for files and mount a few shelves above for books and other supplies. Voila - instant office nook. Likewise, consider giving purpose to the spaces beneath eaves or open stairwells, between window bays, along hallways and even inside closets.
3. Get Into the Zone
Think in terms of zones. Ask yourself which activities need to happen in a room (weighing their relative importance), and then allocate an area-sometimes separate, sometimes overlapping other areas-for each activity. Say your family room will serve as TV lounge, casual dining spot, homework center and craft space (in that order of importance). Map out the room to scale on grid paper (noting windows, doorways and traffic patterns), designating a zone for each and using furniture groupings to distinguish them. Perhaps a couch and a media center will command the bulk of the space in the center of the room, with a table and a sideboard on one side for dining and homework, and a crafting counter with integrated storage tucked into the other end.
To create a feeling of separation between zones, erect visual barriers between them. Open shelving, decorative screens, carved wood panels and salvaged windows suspended from the ceiling can break up a space without totally closing it off. A long, low cabinet, a sofa or a set of chairs, or even a row of tall potted plants can create a border between spaces without blocking light or making a room feel carved up. Folding screens act as mobile partitions to hide a messy corner workspace or obscure the view of your exercise gear, and they can be folded flat and set aside when you don't need them.
4. Create Rooms Within Rooms
Use rugs to define and unite different areas of a room, anchoring a seating arrangement with a large rug and setting off an adjoining dining area with a smaller one. Color and texture can also define a dining or work area within a larger room. You might paint the wall behind your living-room work zone an energizing lime green, for instance, and keep furnishings and other surfaces smooth and glossy. In the living area, use a more restful wall tone and cushier textures to invite relaxation and to indicate a subtle shift in function.
5. Strive for Stylistic Unity
Stick to a unified vision for an entire room. A cohesive color palette, design style, wood tone or fabric can pull everything together and preserve a sense of spaciousness in a room that serves multiple functions. Look for furnishings that allow rooms to transition from one function to another: a coffee table that raises to dining height; a lidded ottoman that pulls quadruple duty as a coffee table, footrest, storage bench and extra seating; a shapely stool that also serves as a side table; a handsome secretary with a fold-down work surface for your laptop; a daybed or flip-down couch that functions as everyday seating and an occasional sleep spot; a tricked-out Murphy bed disguised as bookshelves or a desk for everyday use. Portability is important, too-put double-duty pieces on casters so you can move them around easily.
6. Think Small and Scaled-Back
Simple, modestly sized pieces leave more room for multiple zones than elaborate, oversize furnishings. Opt for a love seat with clean, modern lines coupled with a pair of compact armchairs instead of a mammoth sectional or a set of sofas with space-hogging rolled arms. Go for tables, bookshelves and other furnishings with slim, compact footprints, too. 
7. Use Your Wall Space
Stretch bookcases, cabinets and open shelving to the ceiling to supersize storage space and visually enlarge a room without cutting into its footprint. Vertical storage also helps maximize floor space, so affix slender shelves or display cubes to walls instead of using floor-hogging furniture, and don't overlook the storage potential above a door or a window, which can be a perfect spot for a substantial shelf.
8. Build in Functionality
If you're planning a kitchen remodel or are ready to spring for custom carpentry in another room, try to incorporate an integrated work surface or sleeping space into your plans. It can be something as simple as a deep shelf at table height that you can pop a laptop on and pull a chair up to, or it can be as elaborate as a built-in desk or sewing niche with drawers below and storage cabinets above. For guest quarters, a long, wide window seat with a cushy cushion can double as a sleeping nook.
9. Dress Up Utilitarian Fixtures and Furnishings
Devise clever disguises for unsightly but essential fixtures such as a water heater, utility boxes, a washer and dryer or a mountain of computer equipment. Hang a homemade art canvas in front of an electrical panel or fuse box, or use a folding screen to cordon off a utility area. Hide the washer and dryer behind a curtain or a set of bi-fold doors. Or drape decorative cloths over office equipment in a guest room when visitors come to stay.
10. Light the Way
Adequate and adaptable lighting for different activities in different areas is essential. In an all-in-one great room, for instance, the cooking, dining, work and relaxation areas should all have independent illumination in the form of overhead and accent lighting, along with task lighting where necessary. Put lights on dimmers so you have strong illumination when you need it and soft lighting when you want it. And to save space, you can install focused recessed lighting in the ceiling or add under-cabinet lights to a shelf or cupboard mounted above a work zone.
11. Don't Buy Too Small
Just as you want to avoid furniture that's massive and overstuffed, avoid furniture and accessories that are too small. Even in a tiny space, it's important to consider functionality and good looks. To make a realistic furniture plan, use masking tape on the floor to lay out the ideal size of each piece, and thenbuy.
12. Combat Clutter With Hidden or Attractive Storage
If you're lucky enough to have a closet or a pantry, invest in an organizing system that will eke every available inch out of those spaces. If you're not, spring for furniture that will house all your needed supplies in style. Coffee tables, ottoman pieces and other double-duty items offer hidden storage options. And attractive baskets, bins and cloth-covered boxes on shelves or in cubbies keep everyday supplies handy without adding visual


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