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How Small/Simple Can You Go?

Every now and then I run across something like this, the story of a man living simply in a clever dwelling of only 258 square feet. How’s it possible? A transformer-like space with many of the necessities of daily living hidden away in the walls, only coming out as needed. Like the kitchen. And the bed. It’s small, but would you call it simple? That small space has been optimized for a serviceable amount of *stuff*. Oh, and style, too.

Simple living or simply living?

But what about super SIMPLE living? A bedroom, sans accessories, with a wee kitchen. The basics, without a lot of style. A home base without most of the comforts of home… I could swing living in Christian Schallert’s pad, provided I was single. But could I embrace the extremes of simple living, a la this book? I don’t really know – part of what keeps me sane is surrounding myself with beauty and fun. Not expensive beauty and fun, or new fun and old beauty (which tends to be the more expensive sort). But beauty and fun, nonetheless. How about you? Could you go small AND simple?

Inspiration: Beds Plus Storage

In small spaces and big ones, you can never have enough storage. Under the bed is one piece of real estate that, in my opinion, not enough people utilize. Sure, you could grab a couple of those flat plastic bins meant to slide right under, but if you can incorporate storage right into the bed itself, why not?

From home-designing.com

From ilovewildfox.com

digsdigs.com

From livingetc.vom

From myhomeideas.com

Sweet Ideas for the Parent: Curtain Room Dividers in Studio Apartments

How much space is necessary to raise a child? I would never claim to be an expert, even with a child of my own. Some days, I feel like we could happily roam the country in an RV. Other days, my little Cape Cod house feels almost too small to contain the twister that is a tantruming toddler. If you’ve ever wondered how someone could possible cope with raising a child in a small home, it may surprise you to learn that I’ve known a few people who’ve shared studio apartments with partners and toddlers. And successfully, too. Could I do it? Sure, Do I want to? Nope! With a baby, maybe, but not with a toddler. Sometimes – very occasionally, promise – it’s that cheap hollow door between her and me that keeps La Paloma on this earth.

IF I was going to move into a studio loft apartment with my family, I think I would at least need something, anything to differentiate my space from kid space. Maybe that space would be a corner for a grownup bedroom or a built in reading nook or even a biggish closet with the doors taken off that’s just big enough to hold a desk. But whatever it was, there would be curtain room dividers. Nice heavy, drapey ones that you couldn’t see through. DIY drop cloth curtains, perhaps. If you think hospital curtains when you think curtain room dividers, don’t! Curtain room dividers for the studio apartment family, even the single gal or guy, can look pretty darn good!

Super small spaces can benefit from a couple of curtains

Even if all that's blocked off is the bed...

You could SO DIY this one

What else is great about curtain room dividers in small spaces? In addition to looking good, they provide you with another degree of flexibility when it comes to how you utilize the available space. And they’re a lot less expensive than bookshelves and standing room dividers. Installation can be super easy, too, and there’s the fact that there are a bunch of different ways to hang a curtain in a rented space that won’t make it so you lose your deposit.

While a curtain room divider may not be as good as a wall when it comes to putting yourself in time out so you don’t FedEx your kids to Dubai, they’re still better than nothing!

NtB Has a Real Bedroom Again!

How many times have I mentioned that we were having a little remodeling done? A bunch, I know. Which means it’s only fair that I share at least one picture of my new bedroom, which was finally finished at the end of last month, yay!

Want some details? We went with mismatched bedside tables and no-VOC paint from Freshaire in a pretty gray color. Our color scheme includes gray, a very dark gray for detailing, white, and red, with some black furniture and some wood. We decorated using furniture we already had, which has saved a lot so far, though I did make some quickie DIY “art” using scrapbooking paper and picture frames I had lying around. (But it wasn’t this or this, for the curious.) I’m loving it so far – and I’m feeling especially proud of the work we put into it!

What have you done in your home lately that you’re especially proud of?

Inspiration: Shelves Wherever They’ll Go

When you have more books – or stuff – than shelves, but no square footage left for a couple of bookcases, it’s time to get creative. Where can shelves go? Over the couch, perhaps… or along the ceiling and over the door. Books and other stuff can even find a home in your rafters, if that’s the only fillable space you have available. There’s no reason that walls and corners can’t do double duty, especially when floor space is at a premium. Here are a couple of ways that other people have solved the space versus storage problem:

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Is It a Bookcase? A Desk? Or a Table for Two?

This is just fantastic – Sakura Adachi designed a unique piece of furniture for Campeggi that is all three. A bookcase when the chairs are pushed in, a desk for the singleton who wants her books close at hand, or a cozy table for a couple… a couple of readers, perhaps.

As someone who is currently using the kitchen table an ersatz home office, I could use it. As someone with a small house, I could use it. And as someone with toys everywhere at the moment, I could definitely use it!

‘Beaugars’ by Meike Langer

How’s this for a small-space storage solution? German designer Meike Langer created a set of reconfigurable storage racks set into a small table for imm cologne 2011. Seems to me like it would be the perfect thing for coats and bags and other grab-and-go stuff in a studio apartment.

Areas of life blend, rooms loose their fixed assignments and functions. Due to the blurring of boundaries new requirements for the environment and their products arise. In this context the furniture Beaugars was developed. It offers space to lay, hang up and store objects of daily use. Its most distinctive feature, its mutability,results from the flexibility of the two arcs, which can be rotated in 360°. Therefore Beaugars adapts easily and can be, according to the available space, either compact or expansive.

Even better, Beaugars can adapt to your needs by taking on different configurations. Too bad it’s just a concept, right?

4 Ways to Make Small Feel Big

Built-Ins, Built-Ins, Built-Ins
Obviously you can bring a ton of furniture into a small house or apartment, but you can maximize the space you have with built-ins like cabinets and cupboards and window benches and bookcases. These don’t have to be as deep as standalone furniture so you’re not encroaching too much on the airspace of the room, and you end up with a place for everything and everything in its place. Have I mentioned that clutter is a major no-no for those of us who live in small houses and apartments?

Divide With Doors
In my house, the kitchen and the living room are open to each other in two ways: a big interior window sort of thing in the wall and the wide doorless doorway between the two rooms. The idea is that a small kitchen and a small living room will feel larger if they’re attached, but instead it ends up feeling like one cramped room because there’s no usage division. Installing a set of French doors in the doorway between the two rooms helps the mind see two separate spaces that are useful and sizable.

Let In the Light
While not a solution for the renter, the homeowner can install more or larger windows that let in light, air, and a view of the wider world that will make a small space feel more ample. Bumped out windows can do a lot to enlarge an awkward space, as can very tall windows.

Make Rooms Do Double Duty
The reality is that if you don’t have a lot of space, you don’t have the luxury of having a room just for X and another just for Y. That means that whenever possible, a room should have more than one purpose. You can put a pretty writing desk in your living room, for example. Your home office can double as your crafting room. A landing can play host to a chest of linens. Bookcases in the dining room. And so on.

What are your favorite tips for making a small house or apartment feel bigger?

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