Nothing excites us more than designing small, unconventional spaces here at the HabCo (the more unconventional the better- anyone have a boat or a caravan, or maybe even a lighthouse that we could help with?!). Anyway, so we were pretty happy when we were hired to help with the layout of a living space in a lovely apartment nestled in Coral Gables, measuring no larger than 140 square feet, earlier this year.
Requirements for this little space included a comfortable seating area for watching TV and movies, a small dining area, a bar area and a gallery wall. The main challenge we faced (other than the size!) was that we only had 6’8” of usable wall space to work with (due to the kitchen, built-in storage and a wall of floor to ceiling windows). Here’s a quick floor plan to better explain:
When it comes to small space living, we have a whole array of tricks hidden up our sleeves, so we thought we'd share some that applied particularly well in this space:
1. De-clutter – if you’re moving into a small space, sacrifices have got to be made – if you don’t use it, get rid of it! What’s the opposite term of a hoarder? Hmm not sure (minimalist?!)… luckily for us our client was one of them!
2. Scale and proportion - nothing is going to make a room feel smaller than it already is, more than a HUGE piece of furniture, which takes up three quarters of the space! If you have low ceilings, for example, low profile furniture will help to open up the space. Thankfully our client was as cool as a cucumber and was completely open to switching out her three-seat sofa for a cozy loveseat, which better fit the space.
3. Keep things light and bright - we're not only talking about colors here (you know we love white), we're talking about actual LIGHT, if you're living in a tiny space natural light is going to go a long way with tricking the eye into thinking it's larger than it actually is. So, draw back those curtains and make the most of the windows that you have- opt for simple, clean, minimal window treatments and let that sunlight shiiiiine through! We didn't have to worry too much in this instance because we had a 6ft wall of floor to ceiling windows with simple white blinds and a great neutral color palette to work with *smug face* - phew!
4. Mirrors! - this follows on nicely from light! Mirrors reflect light and will help open up any space (we're not advocating mirrored walls though, just FYI). But seriously, if you can squeeze a pretty mirror in somewhere, go for it - we used a tall rectangular mirror to cover up an ugly electrical panel in this living space (two birds).
5. Multi-functional furniture - so, you've de-cluttered and got rid of some of your stuff - the pieces that you choose to keep should be working extra hard in your space! Without a doubt, the most multi-functional piece of furniture in this space was the sofa table/dining table/bar table/work from home table! We popped a couple of stools underneath it so not only does this table define the kitchen and lounge areas, it also serves as a place to eat dinner, work from home AND sit and have cocktails. Unfortunately there wasn't space for a bar cart so we opted for this little cocktail station instead (see pic above!).
Here's the final layout we came up with:
Anything's possible with some good planning!
Let us know what your best small space living tips are in the comments below!
xx Sara + Laura