When it comes to furnishing small spaces, less is more. Concentrate on functionality. Before you move into a new apartment, take some time to map out how you want your new apartment to be laid out as well as the look and feel. Don’t just haul up your grandma’s couch four flights of stairs only to realize this style is not for you!
You will not have the same amount of space that you had while living at your parent’s house. So my advice – don’t bring everything you own into your new place. Bring the bare essentials, and retrieve other items only if you really need them.
Here are my suggestions to help you create a great small space:
• I can’t stress enough the importance of choosing from similar color and print families to avoid the risk of creating chaos. Colors like grey tonality help the room look more open. If your landlord won’t let you re-paint your space, maybe they will let you use removable wallpaper instead.
• Don’t hang onto things just because ‘they might come in handy’.
• Don’t design your space for ‘in case guests come over’, design it the way you want it.
• Look for multiple uses in everything you buy – an ottoman with hidden storage is a great investment.
• Walk into your apartment and create your space from that viewpoint. You don’t want to see the back of your TV, or other backsides of objects.
• Conceal “clutter” (the stuff you simply don’t use all that often) by utilizing hidden storage solutions e.g. get a storage bed, so you don’t have to have a dresser;
• To match Mainstreet’s laminate flooring go for earth-toned furniture and untreated wood.
• Having a small space doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have tiny furniture – having a large bold sectional can often be better than a small sofa or having big art/wall hangings makes the space look bigger. I recommend using command hooks which will hold up your decor without ruining the wall.
• Go vertical and use the space up to the ceiling whenever possible. Shelves and storage that have a small footprint but are tall can really help in a small space and makes your ceiling look higher – or anything that makes your eyes move upwards instead of horizontal.
• Hang shelves above the toilet, better yet use decorative boxes on the shelves to contain/hide the clutter. Label the boxes so that everything is easy to find – helpful when you have visitors.
• Glass, acrylic and lucite should all become your best friends when decorating for a small space. Not only do they fit with a variety of styles, but they let the eye and light travel through their clear and reflective surfaces.
• A mirrored wall creates an optical illusion of having double the space than is actually there.
• Arrange the space so it meets your needs for the way you truly use it.
• Spend a little more money or exert more elbow grease in the areas where you spend the most time.
• Hide the kitty litter box. And pet beds should be off to the side and discreet.
• Your apartment should always be enjoyable and functional for you first and foremost – NOT your friends, for that odd occasion that they come over!
Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.
Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.
About the Author
Tawanda Nzara Regional Manager, Calgary
Tawanda is responsible for the day-to-day operations of Mainstreet's Calgary property portfolio.