Designer Tips for Small Spaces

Many of my clients come to me wanting to downsize, or with a small apartment or condo in the city where square footage is few and far between.  Just because you’re living in closer quarters doesn’t mean that your design needs to suffer.  

On the contrary, keeping with the right scale, there are lots of tips and tricks to use to really make the most out of every inch!  Here are a few of our favorite small space design ideas to help get you started!

 

Living in a studio, but still want the privacy of a bedroom?  Beautiful curtains are a quick, and stylish way to separate your space.

Urban Outfitters

 

 

If you have a smaller kitchen, and not enough space for a proper dining table, why not try a countertop with stools that tuck in?  I love how the frames are delicate, and the furniture doesn’t block any view of the kitchen!  

IKEA

 

On a similar note, lucite- or transparent- furniture doesn’t take up much visual space, making it the perfect choice for a smaller area.  You can find this look in bar carts, chairs, tables, you name it!

Jonathan Adler

 

 

This one is a personal favorite- we actually just used this extendable coffee table in high gloss white for one of our clients.  It’s especially perfect for those who like to have dinner on the sofa!  Comes in great colors and finishes!

West Elm

 

 

Bedrooms can definitely be the messiest room of the house.  With clothes and shoes being thrown around, it may feel like your smaller bedroom is never tidy.  Under-the-bed storage is key here- and this one from Pottery Barn has tons of it!  I love how there are baskets not only on the sides, but even the front…bonus bins!

Pottery Barn

 

 

Low on cabinet space, and don’t have room for a large storage piece?  This one’s narrow enough to fit those larger pots and pans- especially if they’re as fun as these!

World Market

 

 

My go-to on a small dining table is an adorable little bistro set like this one.  Keep your scale small, but certainly not your style!

Crate & Barrel

 

 

Selamat is always one of our favorite showrooms to see at Market, because it is always just so much FUN.  I love how they’ve used a smaller dining set and a narrow little stool here as a nightstand.  

Selamat Designs

 

 

Nesting tables are an excellent choice if you love to entertain, because you can just pull out extra table space as needed!

ModShop

 

 

Arhaus

 

 

What’s your favorite small space design idea?  Do you have any favorite tips or tricks to share with us?  Let us know in the comments!

Dorm Design For 2017

Author: Jillian Hayward Schaible

 

It may have been several years since I’ve needed to gear up for decorating my college dorm, but I’ll never forget all of the tips and tricks that I learned over those years.  Whether you live on campus or in an apartment, one thing is usually certain for college living- space is tight!  I needed to learn how to live in a tiny little area, with way more things than I had space for.  I’ve collected some of my favorite dorm decor items for you, and hope it might inspire you to rethink your design this year to make better use of your little space!

 

 

Many dorms will come furnished, but for those of you in an apartment, you may need to invest in a bed yourself.  This storage headboard is the perfect piece of furniture for a busy college student because you can store your electronics and books right in your headboard after a long night of studying.  Not to mention that you could even add a nightlight on there and totally skip a nightstand all together and save even more space!

Pottery Barn

Pottery Barn

 

My roommates and I were always having get-togethers and “family dinners” with all of our friends, but never had enough seating for everyone.  We bought a few collapsible lounge chairs like this butterfly chair (and a fold-up nest chair), that we would keep in our closet and just take out whenever we needed that extra seating.  It saved us floor space only having to take them out when needed, and they were always cute and comfy for our guests!

Target

Target

 

If you’ve moved away for college, chances are that your friends from home will be crashing at your dorm during a visit or two over the school year.  Not only are futons smart for an extra bed, this one even has extra storage on the side!  Genius!

Better Homes and Gardens, Available at Walmart

Better Homes and Gardens, Available at Walmart

 

Usually, dorms have pretty bare (and sometimes horribly painted!) walls that will need a little extra life to make your room feel more personal.  These cute wall hangers from Ikea are great to add some pizazz to your wall as well as some storage for hats, scarves, or sweaters.

IKEA

IKEA

 

Or, try a bright, colorful tapestry like this one to really cover up those walls and make your room fun!

Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters

 

Once again, counter space is usually minimal in a dorm room.  Not to mention all the days I woke up late for class and needed breakfast on the go… and quickly!  How awesome is this breakfast sandwich maker?!  I wish I had found this when I was still in college!!

Target

Target

 

With computers, phones, iPads, stereos, and TV’s, my roommates and I had cords hanging in every direction.  Something like this would be perfect for the back of your desk or TV console to keep everything neat and organized.

The Container Store

The Container Store

 

If you’re like I was, most college kids are either lounging on their bed or their desk chairs when friends are over.  Having a desk chair like this one will double up as extra cozy seating for you and your friends, as well as a nice chair to be able to relax and read your book in, instead of having to stay in an uncomfortable desk chair all day studying.

PB Teen

PB Teen

 

A charging station on the back your computer?  This is perfect to keep all of your electronics in one place, and would be great to use even on a nightstand to charge everything at night (and still have your alarm on your phone ready by the bed in the morning!).

Houzz

 

 

 During your college dorm years, have you found any great space saving techniques that you’d like to share with us?  We’d love to hear what worked for you!

10 Best Dorm Finds Under $50

Get a head start to your back to college shopping with these affordable gadgets we LOVE!  Whether it’s saving space or time, these dorm room finds are just what you need for your year ahead!

 

1. Mirror with Hooks

Every dorm room needs a mirror- why not get one with hooks to hang your jewelry, scarves, or hats?

IKEA, $38.00

IKEA, $38.00

 

2. Under-the-Bed Shoe Organizer

Let’s face it, your neatly organized shoes on the closet floor won’t last long.  Soon, there will be a messy pile of shoes under your clothes, and finding pairs will prove a never-ending struggle.  Keep your shoes tidy (and out of sight) with this under-the-bed compartment!

The Container Store

The Container Store, $19.99

 

3. 3-in-1 Breakfast Nook

Counter space is always limited in smaller spaces, ESPECIALLY in dorms and apartments!  Save yourself some room (and money!) by choosing one of these 3-in-1 breakfast nooks with a coffee pot, toaster, and griddle all in one!

Elite by Maxi-Matic (Available at Wayfair), $39.99

Elite by Maxi-Matic (Available at Wayfair), $39.99

4. Snooze iPhone Dock

College students need plenty of sleep- make hitting that “snooze” button on the weekends easier with the Snooze iPhone dock.  This will not only allow you to snooze your alarm simply by tapping on the top, but also keep your cords tidy and from falling off your nightstand!

Distilunion, $34.99

Distilunion, $34.99

 

5. Mattress Caddy

Late night studying?  If you like to read and study in bed, grab a mattress caddy to drop your books in before dozing off!

Bed Bath & Beyond, $14.99

Studio 3B (Available at Bed Bath & Beyond), $14.99

 

6.  Indoor Grill

With easy-to-clean, dishwasher safe plates, this grill couldn’t be easier for a busy college student!  Not to mention, it’s easy to store and save counter space!

Cuisinart, $50 (Available at Amazon)

Cuisinart, $50 (Available at Amazon)

 

7. Folding Chair

In a small dorm or apartment, seating is always a huge issue when you have visitors.  Jillian actually had a chair just like this one in her apartment that she would take out whenever needed, and fold back up to store in the closet as soon as guests were gone!

Bed Bath & Beyond, $49.99

Bed Bath & Beyond, $49.99

 

8. Mini Fridge

If your roommates keep stealing your lunch, you may want to stick a personal mini fridge in your bedroom for your own private stash!

Koolatron, $40.99 (Available at Amazon)

Koolatron, $40.99 (Available at Amazon)

 

9. Pyrex Bowls

Easy to stack and store, these Pyrex bowls are genius for the college dorm!  Use them for mixing and food prep, and then pop the lid on top and throw the leftovers in the fridge- save yourself from extra dish washing!

Target, $13.39

Target, $13.39

 

10.  Over-the-Door Storage

Pottery Barn, $39

Pottery Barn, $39

Towels, shoes, sweatshirts- you name it, and it probably needs a place to be stored.  Save your floorspace and grab an over-the-door storage rack for your odds and ends!

 

 

What are your favorite college gadgets?  Have you tried any products that make dorm life easier?  Share with us your favorite design hacks!

Good Things Come in Small Spaces!

So, you’ve decided to move from that large beautiful home in suburbia to the hustle and bustle and bright lights of the city!  You’ve found that beautiful apartment/condo signed the lease and are ready to go…but wait, you say…”None of my furniture will fit!  Where will I put 3 sets of china??  What about my 6 piece sectional???  Help!!”

I get these calls a LOT!  In fact, the first meeting I have with a client in this situation I refer to as “Reality 101”.  It’s time to rethink the way you live, what you need, and how use you use each piece you will be bringing.  Your square footage is precious real estate and every inch must be well thought out.  Here’s a little of my Reality 101 checklist!

1.  Stop thinking about what you currently have and if it will fit!

Chances are, it won’t! You need to start thinking about HOW you will be living in your new space.  I start with the minute you wake up in the morning til the time you go to bed.  What do you plan on doing in your living space, how many people will be visiting for meals, will you be entertaining, having overnight guests, do you have a hobby that you need space for, do you have a pet, do you work from home?

2. Separate your furniture into 3 groups – Absolutely Must Take, Maybe I’ll Take if it Fits, and Time To Go!

This will make your life simpler.  Now you have the beginning of a plan!

3.  Make a Floor Plan

Hopefully this is something you will be getting from the landlord/previous owner.  If not and if you do not feel as if you can do it yourself, this is where you need to hire someone to do it for you.  Making changes on a floor plan is sooo much easier than moving furniture into your new home only to find out it doesn’t fit!  Once your floor plan is done, start segmenting it into usable spaces – dining area, tv area, office, bedroom, hobby room, etc.  Think about where the windows are and what exposure they face, look at placement of outlets and lights.  Really start thinking about bringing items into your space.

4. Make a furniture plan

After you’ve made a floor plan of your new space, take measurements of all the pieces that “absolutely must stay” and start adding them to the plan.  You may find that some of these pieces must now go into the “time to go” pile!  Next, see what items from the “maybe I’ll take it if it fits” will work.  Now you have the beginning of a furniture plan!

5.  See what’s missing

Hmmm, time for a new dining set, maybe a new sofa, floor lamp?

6.  Think Multi-Use

Now is the time to purchase furniture that has more than 1 use: Convertible sofas, storage tables, poufs and ottomans for seating, multi-use shelves, etc.

7. Now think about the STUFF

This is all your “stuff” you hope to bring – kitchen dishes, glasses, utensils, books, CDs, collections, plants, pet stuff, home office files, TV’s and electronics, etc.  Where will it go?  Are there enough cabinets?

8.  Time to Make a Shopping List

By now you should have a pretty good idea of what you need!  Here are some things that may make your shopping trip a little easier!

 

A folding sleeper loveseat offers the best of both worlds – it’s comfy and soft and offers the added benefit of extra sleeping space.  This one from Urban Outfitters is reasonably priced and has a simple tailored look.

It’s time to think creatively. All of your space is not just on the floor!  Think about suspending furniture!  Also, suspending shelves offers additional storage options.

Folding Sleeper Loveseat, Urban Outfitters

Folding Sleeper Loveseat, Urban Outfitters

Rattan Hanging Chair, Anthropologie

Rattan Hanging Chair, Anthropologie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nesting tables are compact and give you double and sometimes triple the table surface.  Poufs and ottomans can work double duty as seating or add a tray and it doubles as a table.

Kas Nesting Tables, Cottage and Bungalow

Kas Nesting Tables, Cottage and Bungalow

Pouf-288, Surya

Pouf-288, Surya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flat weave rugs like this one from Dash and Albert and available at Surya in indoor/outdoor materials, which will stay looking clean and fresh – remember, they’re going to get more traffic now that there’s less floor space!  Or, try a round one in a bright cheerful print like this one from Garnet Hill.  Bright colors help to move your eyes around a room to create a flow.

Elizabeth Sand Indoor/Outdoor Rug, Dash & Albert

Elizabeth Sand Indoor/Outdoor Rug, Dash & Albert

 

I love furniture that has multi-uses and this one from Anthropologie does just that!  Swing out the seats when you have guests, swing back in when just a table is needed.

Marbled Swing Stool Table, Anthropologie

Marbled Swing Stool Table, Anthropologie

Porcelain Garden Hooked Wool Rug by Company C, Garnet Hill

Porcelain Garden Hooked Wool Rug by Company C, Garnet Hill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I just saw these great feather lights from Vita when I was at Americas Mart.  They fold completely for transport and are just so fun and whimsical!

Eos, Vita Lighting

Eos, Vita Lighting

 

Chances are, you’re not going to have either enough counter space, prep area or cabinets.  This one by IKEA can roll around and go wherever it’s needed.  I’m a huge fan of IKEA for storage- they have so many different ways to keep you organized!

Forhoja Kitchen Cart, IKEA

Forhoja Kitchen Cart, IKEA

 

Love under-bed storage, headboards with built-in cubbies, and an extra closet is needed by everyone!

LAX Series

LAX Series

 

Brimnes, IKEA

Brimnes, IKEA

Brimnes, IKEA

Brimnes, IKEA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bathrooms never have enough shelves.  This compact unit available through Grandin Road fits nicely behind the door and out of sight!

Hemnes Wardrobe, IKEA

Hemnes Wardrobe, IKEA

Seven-Shelf Storage Cabinet, Grandin Road

Seven-Shelf Storage Cabinet, Grandin Road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And who can’t use a few storage boxes!  And these from Global Views are turquoise which make them just perfect!!

Arabesque Trapunto Box, Global Views

Arabesque Trapunto Box, Global Views

Now that you’ve passed my Reality Checklist you’re all set to move in and check out the lights in the City!  And for more ideas on apartment/condo living and organizing check out some of the many blogs dedicated to just this!  A couple of my favorites are Apartment Therapy and Remodelista!