Living Large in a Little Space
Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the space we have, especially if it happens to be small…and ESPECIALLY if it happens to be small and shared by multiple people. For my entire adult life thus far, I have moved around from apartment to apartment to condo, and all of them have been relatively average or small in size. I’ve lived alone, with strangers, with friends, and with significant others. One thing I’ve come to realize is that everyone deserves and needs to have their own space sometimes. The problem with that, is that when you’re living in 500 square feet with someone else and either of you “need some space”, you kind of have to get creative…or just sit on the balcony (sans snow of course).
This is one of the reasons I find organizing and styling to be extremely beneficial to absolutely everyone I meet. Even for the hyper organized folks in my life, a simple shift in furniture placement or paint colour often makes their space feel happier, more effective, and larger! Little shifts in spacial relationships between the things we place in our space can have a huge impact on how squished or open we feel in it. In turn, it can help us carve out dedicated areas to clear our heads and get some “space” without having to leave it.
These are The Tidy’s top 5 most helpful ways to live large in a little space:
Paint! Keep it light and neutral! Although dark colours can create a sense of coziness (and we love to be cozy), in small spaces they can easily overwhelm the room and absorb any light your little space is lucky to have. Light and neutral pallets create a visually open and reflective space. “What if I’m renting and I want my damage deposit back??” Well! That is no longer an excuse to not make the space you live in your own. There are SO many amazing options out there these days for temporary wallpaper, peel and stick tiles, fabric etc. This is one of the simplest ways to change the feel and perceived size of your space. Also, you may be surprised by the answer you get if you simply ask your landlord if you can paint…it’s basically a free upgrade for them.
Light! Take advantage of any and all natural light you get! This one is pretty obvious, but having the glorious sun or day light in your windows keeps things bright in a way that artificial lights just can’t quite match! If you are on a higher floor, don’t have snoopy eyed neighbours, and can get away with not having blinds or curtains at all, I say DO IT! This will help create some depth to your space. But, if you are on the ground level, or need some extra privacy, choose blinds or curtains that are light coloured, near sheer fabric, and similar in shade and pallet to your wall colour.
Proper Furniture! Make sure your sofas and chairs are on raised legs. This is a huge rule of thumb especially for bigger, clunkier feeling furniture. Having them on raised legs helps light pass around and create a sense of airiness in the room.Take it a step further by using clear or translucent furniture like lucite dining chairs or glass tables which allow light to pass straight through them, creating a bit of an optical illusion of more space. And of course finding multipurpose pieces rather than multiple pieces.
Mirror Mirror! This is one of my favourites and one that I will personally live and die by. I really don’t think you can go wrong with having some sort of mirror in every room. Not only does it help light pass through the space, but it also gives you somewhere to do your makeup when your roommate is hogging the only bathroom in your apartment. There are also some amazing mirrors out there these days that make great decorative pieces even if you aren’t planning on putting your mascara on while standing on your couch (I’ve done it more than once before).
DECLUTTER! Okay so this one should probably be number one, but I didn’t want to come on too strong with how important this is. This is also the only totally free option so you can’t not do it. When you only have small amounts of space, it should all be considered precious. You should ritualistically declutter and if you are housing anything in your space that you haven’t used in over a year, or that you wouldn’t spend your money on now, get rid of it. It’s just collecting dust…literally.
Sometimes small spaces can quickly become overwhelming with multiple people, too much stuff, and undedicated use of space. Hopefully the above tips can help you get a clearer sense of where to begin! Of course The Tidy always has more tricks up our sleeves for living large in a little space, and we can’t wait to help. Slide into those DM’s or book a consult!