Faced with a small space or the need to downsize? In the words of Tim Gunn, make it work. You can live large in a small space with a little creativity, an open mind and a willingness to prioritize. This is the first post of a series on how I make it work.
Multi functioning furniture and accessories are essential, can’t live without them.
My black leather ottoman is a comfy place to rest achy feet, a coffee table (just throw a tray on top) and linen storage all in one. And yes, I do put my food the same place I put my feet, just not at the same time.
The island is a big, unmovable thing in the kitchen (it ain’t going nowhere, not without demo), I really struggled with the decision to have an island. In the end, the island won the battle against its opponent the breakfast nook as it provides a ton of storage and is the main prep area, serving buffet, dining table and occasional workspace (whew, I got tired just writing that).
Cube storage holds magazines, books, art supplies, dvds/cds and tchotchkes. Gone are the days when bookshelves just held books and there was a curio cabinet in every living room. Mixing different types of items on one shelf is a much more interesting look.
I love trays, almost as much as I love ice cream. Every time I see one, I want it, lacquer, lucite, wood, you name it. I place food or drinks on trays when on the couch, ottoman or bed. Also handy to separate a vignette or barware on top of a dresser or credenza. Trays are useful for holding materials or files for a project which can be carried and put away as needed. I throw small items on a tray temporarily while dusting. I’ll be happily carrying a bright colorful tray once my outside table area in the yard is done (in the planning stages!).
No office max desks, please. If your desk has to share a room with kicking back, sleeping or making the magic happen, the less “office” it looks, the better the flow with the rest of your furniture will be and the easier it will be for you to look past it when you aren’t working. You don’t want the desk in the corner of the bedroom to be screaming “work” or “bills” at you. There is something very inspiring and motivating about a desk that you absolutely love. I have more than one desk, they are all pretty enough to be repurposed as an entry way console, a vanity or even as a little dining nook table. I’m using the lacquered white parsons desk as a landing strip but have also pulled a chair up to it as additional seating for dinner guests. Since it faces a window (with trees and what feels like a million cute little birds chirping outside, very sleeping beauty), it’s also a nice spot to write. My antique desk is in my bedroom, my main work and writing space. It’s curvy regency legs allow it to blend in seamlessly and all I think about when I see it is how much I love it.
Last but not least, my microwave is a combination convection/microwave. I don’t have a conventional oven. It works well and can fit a cookie sheet and all my baking pans. This choice definitely wouldn’t work for everyone but is perfect for me and would be a great option for someone living in a small studio in an urban area. I’ve still got room in my kitchen if I want an oven later but for now I’m enjoying the storage space instead.
There are other pieces that I don’t have in my home but have seen work seamlessly in other homes. Beds with storage underneath, either drawers or you lift the entire mattress up to reveal storage underneath. I considered the latter but fell in love with my current bed, a leggy modern canopy. A lofted bed can sit on top of a walk in closet. Armoires can be modified as an entertainment center, a desk or wardrobe. In fact, cabinets, armoires and credenzas don’t need to serve one sole purpose. An armoire in a bedroom could contain a tv on the top section with clothes in the drawers below. A credenza could hold dishes on one half and files on the other. A dining table may also be used as a workspace.
I’d like to add one last piece to my small space arsenal, a bench with storage for the foot of the bed or to place under my huge bedroom window.
Stay tuned for the next Make it work….