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24 Small Space Living Hacks That Make a Big Impact
From fold-away office space to vertical gardening, minimize your clutter and maximize your square footage.
Tiny homes are a national phenomenon, and the changes associated with low-impact living—from composting to conscientiously tidying up (@Marie Kondo)—have made their way into our lifestyles. For many city dwellers (and an increasing number of suburban dwellers, too), small space living is the best option. Whether you’re attempting to make the most of a small space, or simply want to increase the functionality of your home, consider these 24 designer hacks.
According to designer Kenneth Boyer of Atelier K, "Bars are not only great for entertaining, but are also beautiful accent pieces that add character to a home. A piece like this that serves more than one purpose is always a go-to."
"Creating sitting areas by windows helps to create warmth and is a perfect way to utilize a space surrounded by natural light and/or beautiful garden or city views, says Kristin Gunnette of Atelier K. "You can achieve this through the use of window seats, grouped chairs, or chaises. There are many possibilities!"
DIY is a great way to customize your furniture to accommodate for smaller spaces. Sugar & Cloth proves that "doing it yourself" is easier than you'd expect. "You wouldn't really think of an oversized cake pan as a sophisticated furniture material, but this DIY mid-century side table is made from just that and it's perfectly customizable for small spaces," says founder Ashley Rose.
A two-tiered coffee table with an additional tray creates storage that is not only optimal, but also movable. In a client project, designer Keita Turner used a campaign-style gallery tray table and detachable trays with open handles on either end, making moving them easy for a variety of household uses. "These portable trays transform an already functional coffee table into an organization lover’s double duty dream piece! For parties, the removable trays can also be used for serving. For casual sofa side dinners, the trays can easily be moved and then stored for a stylish space-saving solution," Turner says.
It might seem odd to consider a piece of large-scale art for a rather small space, but it’s one trick designers put to the test time and time again to give a room a more spacious feel. It adds a focal point to the design scheme and is another easy way to showcase your aesthetic, as seen in a West Hollywood living room designed by Alice Cheng.
"Give organization to your collection of hats by locating a hat rack on the backside of a closet or interior door," says designer Keita Turner. "I got tired of not remembering what hats I owned, so in my own compact-sized New York City apartment, I conveniently locate and hang my hat collections behind doors. Not only are my hats now easily accessible when trying to plan my outfits, but they are displayed in a manner that is decoratively stylish to me."
In their book Remodelista: The Organized Home, Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick demonstrate their organizational know-how with savvy tips for maximizing space.
"From bar carts to industrial trolleys, there’s a range of compact wheeled storage ideal for corralling collections of items in one place. Carts, of course, are easy to move, so they can be rolled out for use or tucked away as needed."
No garden (or no yard at all)? No problem! This DIY wall planter from Lana Red Studio gives you plenty of greenery, without taking up any counter or floor space. Utilize an empty wall for this vertical garden and your space will instantly feel more peaceful.
This adorable little table from Sugar & Cloth can double as a plant stand and is constructed of easy-to-find MDF and wooden dowel rods.
"Keep your digital gear at the ready and combat cord creep by inserting concealed charging stations wherever they’ll come in handy," says Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick of Remodelista.
Suggestions include: "a divided drawer in an entryway and a pullout desk at the end of a kitchen cabinet."
This minimalist lamp is a stroke of genius—and one with a tiny footprint, no less. A repurposed stool, some paint and a lightbulb combine to make for an eye-catching small-space solution from Monsters Circus.
With just leather scraps, one trip to Lowe's and a little ingenuity, The Jungalow blogger Justina Blakeney was able to make these versatile—and eye-catching—wall pockets.
A super-simple jumbo notepad with just a dash of beaded panache make for a simple, sleek command center in this office by A Pair and A Spare DIY.
According to Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick of Remodelista,"A well-ordered cleaning closet (or wall) makes housekeeping chores easier to tackle, and it will also brighten your day. Create your own using a peg rail and a few trusty tools: select things that, to paraphrase Michael Pollan, your grandmother would recognize.
While a luxurious vanity is on many a home decor bucket list, some spaces simply won't allow it. The blogger behind Rock My Style has a solution: using a tabletop plank and IKEA brackets for a beauty station that takes up practically no room.
Blogger Caroline Burke's repurposed metal mesh wall hanger could work equally well in a home office (one corner of your kitchen) or as an impromptu prep station (in the other corner).
Brighten up your food prep routine with The Merry Thought's practical, yet unexpected, spin on a pair of kitchen staples—a herb planter and a cutting board.
Keeping any fabric scraps around? If you love them almost enough to use them, but feel like they're not quite ready for prime time, use Design Love Fest's all-natural dyeing technique to revive them for the Instagram age. Plus, it can give mismatched pieces a cohesive look.
By opting for a shelf that turns into a table and a chair with a slim silhouette, you create a workspace that's as easy to set up as it is to take down. "For tight quarters, consider a ship-style table that lifts up for use," says Julie Carlson and Margot Guralnick of Remodelista.
Adjustable legs are the new birds, if bloggers are any indication. They're being put on just about anything, from bookcases to pieces of plywood. Old Brand New blogger Dabito's humble bench is just one great example of the trend's enduring practicality.
If your home is a little too cramped to fit a full dining room table, space-saving furniture is your savior. UK design firm Atelier Chang transformed this London apartment to make the most of the space, using a table that seamlessly swivels under the counter. Whether you need seating for guests or some extra counter space to chop vegetables, a multi-purpose table like this is useful.
Who can resist a great IKEA hack? Treasures & Travels's ingenious DIY gets "salvage yard chic" right with just reclaimed wood and a power tool.
In a small space, no detail goes unnoticed. Reclaim ugly lighting for the good of your apartment with Vitamini Handmade's cute and clever cord hack.
"Create a designated place for herbs and frequently used tools like a garlic press and graters," suggests Remodelista. "Dried herbs have a short shelf life, especially if they’re exposed to light, so keeping only small quantities makes sense, as does arranging them in a drawer or cupboard. No fitted insert necessary; corral everything on trays."