With nearly one in four Dublin City dwellers now living in apartments, small space living is something that is becoming the norm for urban dwellers. I’ve spent my fair share of time in tiny accommodation from a minuscule studio apartment in New York to an equally bijou pad in London a few years later, which when my brother came to visit asked ‘where’s the rest of it?’
One of the biggest problems with living in a small space is inadequate storage and in particular where to put laundry baskets ironing boards and of course where to hang the laundry. All of these bulky items can make you feel like you’re running out of space. But the good news is that with the right kind of storage solution even the tinniest of spaces can feel spacious. Here are some ways to make your small space work more efficiently as well as more look and feel bigger.
We had a client who had a 1-bedroomed apartment with no storage other than her wardrobes and a tiny hot-press off the hall. Her kitchen layout was so poor that she had to use her ironing board as extra layout space while cooking and her drying rack was a permanent feature in the living room.
The kitchen was a u-shaped layout which opened onto the living space. This kind of layout is really inefficient as there are 2 corners, the cupboards are difficult to access and the countertop is not really usable.
As the kitchen backed onto the hot-press we decided to reconfigure both spaces together layout to make a small utility cupboard where we could stack a washer and dryer and provide some space for drying clothes. We then reconfigured the kitchen layout to maximise storage whilst providing as much usable counter space as possible.
Utility and laundry storage
The simple addition of a utility space freed up the living space and also created more space in the kitchen by taking the washer and dryer out. If you don’t have the budget to reconfigure your space or are renting another solution is to purchase a free-standing storage unit where you could keep laundry baskets – install a hanging rail to let you hang clothes to dry and some shelves for additional storage.
Make furniture work harder
With smaller living spaces your choice of furniture is really important. You want to choose pieces that don’t take up too much space but that also have a dual purpose where possible.
Opt for benches rather than chairs for dining tables for example. Benches can be pushed under the table out of the way when not in use which will help to free up floor space.
Choosing furniture that has a dual purpose will give you more flexibility in how you use your space. A sofa-bed is the ideal solution if you need to accommodate overnight guests but don’t have the luxury of a spare bedroom. Beds with under-mattress storage are also fantastic for storing bulky bed linen and heavy blankets which tend to take up a lot of space.
Create the illusion of more space
There are also some easy and inexpensive ways to create the illusion of more space. One of the easiest ways to do this is with mirrors. These are the one item of furniture where you can think big even in the smallest of spaces. Oversized mirrors are a great investment, propped up against one wall of the living area they can have the effect of doubling the room in size as well as looking great. They are also a fantastic way to maximize light in a room. Place the opposite a window to reflect daylight into your room.
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