It’s a fact of life that most of us, at one time or another, are going to live in a space that is too small for all of our treasured belongings. Certainly, when you first move out on your own (the first, second, or third time), you have all of the things you acquired while living at your parents’ house and suddenly find your next home is, well, a bit cramped.
Perhaps you live in a large city where space is simply expensive and scarce. Fortunately, contemporary design focuses on clean lines and functional furniture and, as a result, there are some great ways you can make your space, however small it might be, work for you.
The first place I lived when I moved out of my parents’ house was off-campus housing near my college in the heart of downtown Portland, Oregon. I shared a teeny, tiny kitchen and a very small bathroom with the student in the room next to me.
A bed, a sink, a built-in desk that doubled as a dresser, and a closet without a door were the extent of my “furnishings”. The space was easily half of what I’d had at home and yet I had most of the same possessions.
Everything I owned was in a state of constant battle – stacks of clothes pushing books off of the desk, homework and make-up huddled shoulder to shoulder on a smidgen of counter space, and a regulation ironing board threatened to topple and knock them all down if someone shut a door too hard.
Only recently have I come across some great contemporary ideas for saving space that would have truly made my life so much easier in that dorm. These ideas are perfect for small apartments, city lofts, or for anyone who wants a little more space.
Maybe you even have all the space you need but want a little less clutter. Contemporary design elements focus on a clean, uncluttered living environment where your furnishings work for you – not against you.
Many contemporary pieces are also styled to be works of art in their own right, providing great interest and visual appeal.
For small kitchens – If your cabinet shelves leave enough space between their edge and the cabinet door, install a hanging, drop-down shelf on the inside of a couple of them. These shelves can hold light cooking items or utensils while you work.
You can also use self-adhesive hooks on the inside of cabinet doors on which you can hang cooking utensils, measuring cups, measuring spoons or anything light with a small hole in the handle.
This can clear out some drawer space for other items. Find some artistic salt and pepper shakers that you won’t be embarrassed to leave on the table and free up a small amount of cabinet space.
A cutting board that’s large enough to cover your kitchen sink pulls double duty. Slide it over as needed to put items in the sink. Having this additional working area available not only gives you more counter top but can also quickly cover up any mess if company shows up unannounced.
In the dining area – Drop-down tables are available for attaching to the wall, leaving you greater ability to move around your home. You might also use a table that gives you added storage space.
Tables are being made today that have large bases that act as storage space and can be accessed by lifting the table top itself. Or make a dining area out of modular, attractive storage boxes and a separate table top.
Bathrooms could always use more space – Use hooks for hanging hair appliances in order to keep them off of the counter. Get small, stacking storage boxes to use every bit of space under a bathroom sink.
Hang rows of sleek, glass shelves high on your bathroom walls in order to make use of that empty space up above. Move bulky towels to those shelves as towels tend to take up valuable cabinet space.
Maximize storage in living rooms – In small quarters, your living room probably has the most opportunity for maximum storage space. Select seating options like storage cube chairs. Go for slim sofas without ruffles and place modern, metal storage containers underneath.
Televisions also used to take up a lot of space but a flat-screen television on the wall makes perfect sense these days. Need more storage? Put a folding screen in the corner and hide storage containers behind the screen.
Put more glass shelves higher up on the walls to leave floor space free for necessary furniture. These glass shelves are also made for corners so if you have a spare corner somewhere, add another shelf.