By Cat Agonis
During my entire Brooklyn career, I’ve lived exclusively, in tiny apartments. ‘Humble,’ I like to call them. Through the trials and tribulations of hiding things in boxes under my bed, feeling locked in a cage, and knocking things over, I discovered 5 easy tips to maximizing the small space I call mine.
1) Use up that wall space
Walls are good for more than just shelves. I like to hang functional things that could also serve as good decoration. In my last apartment my bedroom had no closet, so I nailed a bunch of hooks into the wall and hung my most decorative dresses. This kept my otherwise white-room warm, and allowed me to get a good grip on what I wanted to wear each day. This idea could be awesome with anything you have excess of.
In my kitchen we have no place for pans, so to add to the country theme, I put nails in the wall and simply hung our pans above the stove. Not only do they add to the aesthetic, they are easy to reach when cooking. A cheap and easy solution.
2) Choose fixtures with multiple uses
There is no sense in getting a regular fixture if you can get something that also stores stuff or doubles as something else. Something like these ottomans can be used as a cushioned stool and for storage too. They’re kind of pricey at Target, but you can usually find them for under $20 at a furniture store in Brooklyn or Queens.
I didn’t want to fill up space in my bedroom with a dresser, so instead I got a bed with a shelf and drawers from 3B of Knickerbocker. This allowed me to justify getting a Queen bed, since I was using it for more then just a place to sleep. I also didn’t have to buy another piece of furniture, and I got it delivered for free!
I bought a vintage shelf from a furniture shop in The Loom 2 years ago. Though it was by far my priciest piece, it serves as my shelf, desk and has extra drawers for clothes. If I ever move and need a divider, it can function as that too since it’s finished on both sides.
3) Color it right
Modern looks are great for apartments; they feel open and airy. Unfortunately, if you have a small, aged place like many Brooklyners, this look is difficult to achieve as old places get dirty very easily. White can also feel intuitional if your windows don’t offer much light and you have small rooms. Many designers suggest light colors to make your room look bigger. I did this with my bathroom, but I also found other ways to keep the room feeling light, but warm and lived in. **Tip: You can buy ‘oops paint’ from Home Depot for $5 on occasion.
For the living room I painted alternating sides of the walls cream to keep it light, and alternating sides a sea glass green. Our living-room looks rustic and the green really pops, while still feeling airy.
I left my bedroom white, but use lamps instead of overhead lighting to give it a warm feel without making it feel cave-like.
4) Know what to sacrifice
Unfortunately, there’s no way around it- when your place is small, you can’t always fit in everything you want. You should think about what your needs are and make the right sacrifices. Sacrifices also save in your wallet. An example is, our living room is tiny, so I sacrificed a coffee-table and picked up a small nightstand. I can still use its surface and drawer space for additional storage.
In my kitchen, I sacrificed a full kitchen table for a small glass one that fits 2 stools (the transparency doesn’t block the view from being open). I too, bought this table from 3B of Knickerbocker. It was the display so it was only $30.
5) Be aware of where you gunk
It is inventible. A small spot is going to have stacks of stuff somewhere. The best thing to do, to avoid a pack-rat look, is to be conscious of where this happens. Places up high, or behind curtains where gunk is kept out of site are prime locations. For instance: In the bathroom we leave no gunk on the kitchen sink (face-wash, razors) but instead on the windowsill which is hidden behind the shower curtain.
In my kitchen, we gunk on top of the fridge (paper-towels, trash bags, fresh sponges), but never on the microwave which is right at eye level.