Here in BC’s Lower Mainland, particularly in the denser urban areas, small living spaces are the norm. Even Vancouver’s luxury condos have space limitations. Though Vancouver doesn’t have the same kind of space crunch as some other major cities (think Toronto or New York), urban square footage is still best used wisely. Our professional home organization experts have some helpful advice when it comes to making the most of small living spaces. This list of “do’s” and “don’ts” probably contains some things you may have already discovered and a few that might surprise you. Put into action, you might find that you can live more comfortably than you ever imagined, even with less than 1000 square feet.
Don’t get into the habit of letting clutter collect. Clutter can take over very quickly in a small living space. Put things away right away.
Don’t buy or bring home things that you can live without. Sure, that funky retro floor lamp might be half-price, but if you don’t really need more lighting then pass it over. Save your precious real estate for things that you really need.
Do have a designated space for everything. For those things that are absolutely essential to own, make sure they all have a designated “home” within your home.
Do communicate your system of organization to others that you share your space with (family, partner, room-mate) so that they are all on the same page when it comes to organization. Better yet, come up with a system together that works for everyone. It will be an easier system to maintain when everyone buys in to the same philosophy.
Do utilize wall space effectively. Install shelving, cubbies and other things that turn your wall space into storage space.
Don’t over-pack shelves. Adding shelving to empty wall space can actually be a bad idea if you end up filling up an entire wall, floor to ceiling, with books. This only makes a small room look even smaller and more crowded. Space things thinly on shelving to create an illusion of airiness while still having some extra storage space. (If you have enough books to fill up an entire wall, it’s probably time to thin out your collection. Refer to our first “don’t.”)
Do choose furniture pieces that are multi-purpose, like a foot stool with storage space inside or a couch that folds out into a bed. Murphy beds are also ideal for small living spaces. Another furniture tip: choose “light” furniture. Not light, as in weight, but “light” in appearance. Avoid solid, chunky furniture and over-stuffed couches and opt instead for things like tapered/thin-legged tables and couches with crisp, clean lines.
Do make the most of closet space. You might think your closet is already too full, but there are ways to make your closet spaces even more efficient, hold more items AND make them easier to find. Consider a Tailored Living closet makeover for your small home.