How to make a small space work for you? I am the expert in renting small spaces and utilizing every single square foot. It has become a personal art form for me. I got totally inspired while recently visiting New York City and seeing the newest trend there, micro studios; revamping small crowded living spaces into fantastic lofts and studio masterpieces. I saw apartments that started as small as 424 square feet look amazing through the artistic use of colour and light. Remember, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to design something fun and creative. Go to garage sales or visit Value Village and pick up an old set of bookcases that can be stripped down and re-stained to look a vintage art piece. These look great in nooks and crannies and add an interesting theme to the room; after all you don’t have to stock the shelves with just books. They don’t merely have to be functional; they can be a piece of furniture as well. For me, I love finding great design books with colourful jackets and lining my bookcases with these fabulous “How to” books.
Lighten up everything! Pick up a light coloured rug at Pier One or Winners and the whole room will feel airy and open. Buy a white or ivory sofa or at the very least purchase some light coloured toss cushions for your sofa and you will not only see the difference, you’ll feel the difference. Don’t forget you can simply recover the sofa with new fabric as well. If you do choose to use a pattern stay small in your pattern choice. Do not be tempted to use a big overblown pattern that will overtake your small space.
Are your window coverings dark and dated? By replacing them with a set of mini white venetian blinds you will open up the entire room. The key is to let in as much warm light as possible.
One thing I do that helps me in every new place I rent, stand back in each room and study your furniture. You will be surprised by simply rearranging the pieces how you can add space and a whole new look to the room. Add a shelf to a corner wall instead of using a table which will give you more floor room. Fill it with all kinds of eclectic vases and bright colours.
Replace your floor lamps with trendy and fun light fixtures; check out Ikea for the best selection of reasonably priced funky ceiling lamps. Use your wall space to hang interesting pictures and get creative with this job. You will have so much fun adding colour and design to the bare walls.
Utilize under your bed with drawers that you can fold in linens and towels. There are so many other things you can store there as well. You can also mount your television on the wall to save space or use a chest of drawers to set it on because the drawers are another source of storage.
A designer trick is to use furniture pieces that have more than one use. For example if you use your sofa as your bed as well with a set of drawers for the television you would have the bedroom as an extra room. It could be an office or a guest room for your family and friends.
This sounds a little crazy but if you have the luxury of painting your walls with any colour try painting the ceiling with a popping bright colour to give the room height. If you are downsizing to a smaller place get rid of stuff you do not use. Clutter will become your enemy because you will simply not have enough space for it. It can free you up when you throw away useless clutter. You will be surprised how spacious your apartment will look if your walls and furniture somehow end up the same colour. As North Shore Property Managers, we get to see hundreds of different furnished properties all the time. This allows us to see design at its best and worst stages.
Last but not least, you can always use mirrors to make any room have the “illusion of space.” You can stay simple and contemporary or go crazy with the antique vintage looking oval mirrors, either way it’s all about space. So, if you are looking to rent a condo or an apartment in Vancouver and find one in your price range that is smaller than you wanted, look at it with new eyes and imagine the possibilities.