Regardless of the size of your home, space is often a scarce commodity. But the way you organize and arrange and the styles of furniture you choose can mean the difference between living comfortably or living packed in like sardines. Try these ideas to make the most of every nook and cranny in your home.
The Powder Room
If your bathroom has a large dressing area or other wasted space, add an armoire to store towels, sheets, toiletries, bath toys, and other items. In smaller bathrooms, you may consider installing a bath valet over the toilet. These come in a variety of styles and sizes. If cabinet space can’t be added, put a decorative basket on the floor for storing towels and washcloths.
Off-season clothing takes up precious closet and drawer space, so purchase shallow cardboard or plastic storage containers that slide under the bed. This storage area can also be used for storing holiday decorations, gift-wrap, keepsakes, and more.
Does your bedroom serve as a home office by day? If so, invest in a Murphy Bed. By the press of a button, your bedroom is transformed as the bed mechanically folds into a wall cabinet.
When shopping for living room furniture, take heed. The size furniture appears in showrooms is deceiving. Measure both width and depth of sofas and chairs, and opt for smaller styles. In small living rooms, sectionals offer the most seating while taking up the least amount of space. If the right size for your family room, choose end tables and a coffee table with drawers and cabinets for additional storage.
Also, you may want to consider selecting a recliner instead of chair and ottoman so when the footrest isn’t in use, it can be stored away. If an ottoman is a must, place a decorative tray on top to double as an end table when not in use. Entertainment centres may seem practical, but are space wasters if not fully utilized. To create more space, mount your TV to the wall. This will also protect it from curious little hands. You only get one shot at mounting your TV and get it right the first time, so best to hire a professional who knows what they’re doing. Having a professional hang your TV will save you time and potentially a lot of money if you make a mistake.
Try to arrange some furniture against the wall (like your couch). If there isn’t wall space for a sofa or a chair to back up to, place a cabinet and table lamp behind it to serve as an end table.
The Mess Hall
Underutilized gadgets and gizmos take up precious kitchen space. Take inventory and eliminate non-essentials. And better utilize your cabinet space by purchasing additional shelving or small stackable organizers.
If replacing your cabinets, purchase taller ceiling-height cabinets. The top shelves offer extra storage for seldom-used essentials. And you may consider adding corner shelving to the outside ends of your cabinets for knick-knacks, a fruit basket, and other odds-and-ends.
For tight eating areas, purchase a rectangular corner table with “L” shaped bench seating. This works especially well for larger families, eliminating the need for multiple chairs. As an added bonus, kids won’t be able to tip their seats. For slightly larger dining areas, one of these corner tables increases usable space so you can add a hutch or computer desk to the room.
Tame these little disaster zones, and create extra space by purchasing a loft bed with built-in desk, drawers, and bookcase. Another alternative is a captain’s bed with built-in drawers underneath, eliminating the need for a separate chest of drawers.
Decorate your child’s room by installing display shelving along one or every wall approximately three feet below the ceiling. Adorn the shelves with trophies, knick-knacks, and other memorabilia to eliminate decorative clutter.
Closet organizers maximize storage space. Add strategically placed drawers, cabinets, shelving, and rods. If it isn’t within your budget, lower the existing rod a couple of feet, leaving enough height for your child’s clothing to grow. Then install additional shelves above for storing games, toys, and seasonal items.
Use plastic containers for storing toys and games since boxes are inevitably destroyed. Then label each container with its contents. Purchase containers in only two or three sizes to make stacking easy and eliminate cluttered shelves and toppling toys.
If your kids share a room, install a partition between the beds. Whether built-in or movable, the partition will give your child privacy and prevent squabbles while creating additional wall space in small quarters.
Kimberly is an author and a freelance writer. Her articles have appeared in more than 200 newspapers, parenting and women’s magazines, and other publications.
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