For most of us, living in New York City is about compromise when it comes to living space. Rarely do you find the perfect size apartment. Closets tend to be scarce; bedrooms seem to have shrunk to closet-sizes; the kitchen/living/dining room is one small space. However, with some strategic furniture choices you can maximize the space you have and not feel like your furniture and belongings are taking over the room. Below are some of my go-to pieces for small space apartment solutions.
Under Bed Storage
Using the space under your bed is one of the easiest ways to hide away belongings that you are not using on a regular basis. There are so many options in terms of style, material and price point ranging from IKEA to Design Within Reach that makes this small space solution attainable for almost any budget. Some bed frames come with drawers and others lift-up entirely to give you easy access to the entire area at once. If you want to Marie Kondo it, buy smaller boxes to organize everything – a box within a box.
For my daughter’s room, I bought a low-loft bed that has drawers and little cubby holes for her toys. Because I can pull the drawers out from under the unit easily, I have the added flexibility to store stuff like Christmas decoration boxes, ski boots, air mattresses, and a few other loose items that I don’t use all the time.
When I was looking for a new apartment for my daughter and me, I found the “perfect one.” BUT, it was short one-bedroom. I kept looking but kept going right back to this one apartment trying to figure out how to make it work. By NYC standards it’s big and I decided I was willing to lose a bedroom for the gut-renovated, modern apartment with dark floors and sparkly new, open kitchen. I sold all my bedroom furniture and bought a Murphy Bed that I put in the living room. I gave my daughter the bedroom so that all her stuff would be contained and since she goes to bed earlier, I wouldn’t have to tip toe around after her bedtime. I essentially created a studio for myself. I purchased a Murphy Bed model that included shelving on either side of the bed (highly recommend), so that when guests are over, it looks almost like a built-in when closed. Like everything else, you can find a range of styles, mechanics and budget. The Italians have my heart but my wallet prefers a Canadian that has not let me down in over three years of daily use. You can visit a couple of showrooms in the city like Resource Furniture or Milano Smart Living for some great ideas and products.
Apart from Storage and Murphy beds, you can make other pieces in your home do double-duty while saving space. One of my go-to small space décor solutions is using stools for additional seating as well as doubling as side tables, or vice versa, like this Serena & Lily one. They are easy to move around and tuck-in perfectly to corners or under tables.
Occupy Less Visual Space
When you live in a smaller apartment or home, you don’t want the furniture to take up a lot of visual space. By filling a room with heavy and dark pieces, the room will feel smaller and more crowded. To solve for that, I love using acrylic furniture which gives you function you need without taking up a lot of visual space. I usually go to CB2 for myself and my clients. They offer simple, clean and functional pieces at a reasonable price like these bar stools, desk and nesting tables.
Another tip is to use furniture that’s on legs, leaving space between the bottom of your sofa or bed and the floor. Even though a sofa or bed that reaches the floor and one that doesn’t take up the same footprint, having that space in between gives the one on legs a sense of being “lighter.” If you must choose between storage and visual space for a bed, for example, I suggest weighing your needs. Decide which you need more and go with that option.
Using upholstered furniture in lighter color fabrics for some of your bigger furniture pieces will help make a room feel bigger. Have you ever walked into a small room with a dark leather sofa? It just feels heavy. Swap that out for an upholstered sofa like this one from Article and it completely changes the feeling of the room when you walk in.