Dare to be bold in how you arrange furniture in a small room. Freedom from preconceived notions might encourage a higher function from your space. Toss out old ideas or pictures from your past homes. Search the internet for out-of-the-box suggestions, and awaken to all sorts of new possibilities!
The insanely popular website Houzz gives the public thousands of concrete ideas about decor. People email dozens of views when they are fleshing out ideas for remodels or refurbishing projects. This beats flipping through piles of heavy magazines, like we used to do before the useful tool of electronic media. Pinterest is the other go-to resource for fresh and modern ideas. Since a younger demographic uses social media and primarily lives in smaller homes, you will be exposed to innovation and creativity in spades.
When seniors downsize, they may have some physical constraints to consider; nevertheless, those can be worked around. Generally speaking, we are worried about anything that might be a tripping hazard, furniture being sturdy enough and unobstructed pathways. When recent college grads are moving into their first place away from home, they may be looking at a glorified studio apartment or a mini-loft in an urban setting. A young family with an infant might be living in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom vintage home and making it work through clever space planning.
No matter the stage in life, the main challenge to small space living is how to coax the space into looking good. Another hurdle is how to create enough storage or eliminate the need for tons of storage. Remember the mantra "If you don't use it, get rid of it!" Or store stuff in an outside shed, rented storage unit or basement. Lean living works best if you want to create a beautiful environment.
What I love about this bedroom furniture arrangement is the confidence. Someone bravely decided that it would be suitable to position the headboard on the window wall without worrying about partially blocking windows. By using a window treatment that is tailored and not bulky, precious inches are saved. When you install drapes with a valance and sheers, about 7 to 9 inches of depth can be used up. In a small room, that can eat into the walking room around the foot of the bed in a serious way. We can imagine that putting this bed along the window side of this room freed up another solid wall for either a flat-screen TV, workstation or display area.
Lifestyle trends drive furniture manufacturers. Companies are stopping production of armoires, as no one needs that bulky furniture any longer to hide a TV. Bookshelf manufacturing is also being tapered off because people have slowed down purchasing hard copies of books. All of these subtle shifts are starting to be recognized in the arrangement of any particular room. Less need for storage translates into a leaner and lighter look. When this is the guideline, we can begin to create more attractive smaller spaces that are not filled to the brim with storage items like chests, cupboards or bookcases.
If this bedroom also featured a storage bed, one with pullout drawers under the mattress, there could be a place to stash extra blankets or seasonal duvet covers. Plenty of people use storage drawers for out-of-season folded clothes, sports attire or other household items such as wrapping papers, family photographs, or mementos. Consider dual-purpose pieces of furniture, furnishings that hide away stored items and flexible alternatives that are specific to your home.
Photo Credit: Hunter Douglass
Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email at [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun, and read features by other syndicated writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.