Debbie Caniff's Blog
Whether you’re a young professional moving to an urban flat or an empty-nester looking to downsize, the challenge of living in a smaller space is sometimes daunting. The things you want (keepsakes, books, collections, specialty kitchen appliances) and the things you need (room for clothes, a home office, space for a guest) vie for the same square footage. How can you fit it all into your space without it being a cluttered mess? Find the hidden spaces in your home.
Of course, first up is getting rid of items you no longer use, want, or need. Once that’s done, take stock of what remains. Seasonal items should go on one list and everyday items on another.Resourcefulness
Pass a critical eye over your furniture. Can you use space under, behind or above it? Will it do double duty?
- A narrow bookshelf set behind your sofa provides storage for seasonal items and functions as a sofa table.
- Stack vintage suitcases or trunks filled with blankets, seasonal clothing or keepsakes beside the bed or sofa as an end table.
- Slide baskets under a coffee table for smaller items you use often. Or turn a cubby shelf into a coffee table for dual use.
- Put storage bins under the bed for sweaters, blankets, or guest pillows.
- Store sheets and extra blankets under your mattress.
- Use a tall bookshelf behind your bed. It replaces the headboard and nightstands, then adds extra storage both above and behind the bed. Keep seasonal items on the lower shelves behind the mattress and items you use often in the exposed shelves above.
- If you rarely bake, store pans in your oven.
- Typically eat take-out? Store extra dishes in that unused dishwasher.
A little creative effort goes a long way when looking for space. Hack something you already own or an inexpensive purchase into multi-purpose storage.
- Hang shower rings from a hanger to hold scarves, ties, or tank tops.
- Install a towel bar to a closet wall below the hanging clothes and hang your heels over it, freeing up much-needed floor space. Or, use a peg rack or stick-on hooks to hang sports shoes and flats.
- Use binder clips to hold computer and charging cords in place and off the floor.
- If the space between your bed and the wall is too small for a side table or nightstand, hang a floating shelf to hold books, your cell-phone, and glasses.
- Add cushions to the top of a low storage shelf to create extra seating.
- Add stick-on hooks to the insides of cabinet doors to hold lids and cutting boards.
Innovative storage is an industry all its own. Retailers such as West Elm, Pottery Barn, IKEA, Target, and several online-only outlets specialize in dual-purpose pieces to help get the most use from a small space. Here are some you may find useful:
- Look for an ottoman that makes into a sleeper. Use it as your coffee table, then pop it open for casual overnight guests.
- Buy a platform bed with drawers or one that lifts on hinges to access storage underneath.
- Install a table that hangs on the wall and folds down when not in use.
- Install modular shelving with a deeper shelf at desk height for a home office solution.
No matter how small the space, there are ways to maximize it. If your home is on the market, ask your real estate professional which items to leave out and which to find a hidden home to make the best impression on a buyer.