Essential Small-Space Living Tips

written by:
July 26, 2014
Originally published in Small Space Big Design
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  "Light colors make [your space] feel more spacious and airy," says Macy Miller. Miller's compact home in Boise, Idaho, built for only $11,000, is featured in our September issue.

    "Light colors make [your space] feel more spacious and airy," says Macy Miller. Miller's compact home in Boise, Idaho, built for only $11,000, is featured in our September issue.

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  Miller's second tip: "Find storage in unusual spaces—between wall studs of a non-insulated interior wall for example, a rod under a shelf for hanging cups/towels, or storage in stairs which would otherwise be wasted space."

    Miller's second tip: "Find storage in unusual spaces—between wall studs of a non-insulated interior wall for example, a rod under a shelf for hanging cups/towels, or storage in stairs which would otherwise be wasted space."

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  "Windows with a view to the outside open up the space and make it feel much larger," Miller says.  Photo by Roland Halbe. Courtesy of Roland Halbe .  This originally appeared in A Simple Geometric Bayfront Home in Chile .

    "Windows with a view to the outside open up the space and make it feel much larger," Miller says.

    Photo by Roland Halbe. Courtesy of Roland Halbe .
    This originally appeared in A Simple Geometric Bayfront Home in Chile .
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  "Skip cupboard storage at eye level, it makes a space feel tighter and more closed in," suggests Miller. "Open shelving reverses that and become usable storage."    This originally appeared in Park Street Renovation.

    "Skip cupboard storage at eye level, it makes a space feel tighter and more closed in," suggests Miller. "Open shelving reverses that and become usable storage."

    This originally appeared in Park Street Renovation.
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  "Think of ways in which your space can suit multiple purposes," Miller adds. "My table is my desk, my sewing space, my drawing table, etc. You'll only be able to do one thing at a time, so make one space fit you and all of your needs."  Photo by Raimund Koch.   This originally appeared in Space-Efficient Renovation in New York.

    "Think of ways in which your space can suit multiple purposes," Miller adds. "My table is my desk, my sewing space, my drawing table, etc. You'll only be able to do one thing at a time, so make one space fit you and all of your needs."

    Photo by Raimund Koch.
    This originally appeared in Space-Efficient Renovation in New York.
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  "Keep it clean—and more importantly, keep it neat," advises Karen Kiest, whose compact prefab cabin is featured in our September issue. "It’s easier to clean that it is to tidy. Things tend to pile up, and once that happens, the space turns into a series of clutters."  Photo by Misty Keasler.   This originally appeared in Salvage Love.

    "Keep it clean—and more importantly, keep it neat," advises Karen Kiest, whose compact prefab cabin is featured in our September issue. "It’s easier to clean that it is to tidy. Things tend to pile up, and once that happens, the space turns into a series of clutters."

    Photo by Misty Keasler.
    This originally appeared in Salvage Love.
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  "I have been very careful to pare down the furniture requirements, and to make the few furnishings do double duty." Kiest says. "My dinner table is technically an outdoor table, and with the paired side table and chairs it’s easy to set up indoors or out."    This originally appeared in The Long Hall .

    "I have been very careful to pare down the furniture requirements, and to make the few furnishings do double duty." Kiest says. "My dinner table is technically an outdoor table, and with the paired side table and chairs it’s easy to set up indoors or out."

    This originally appeared in The Long Hall .
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  "A deck doubles the size of a living space," Kiest says.    This originally appeared in Dominey Pavilion and Carport.

    "A deck doubles the size of a living space," Kiest says.

    This originally appeared in Dominey Pavilion and Carport.
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  "Have a shed for storing stuff," Kiest says.  Photo by Simon Devitt.   This originally appeared in Modular Backyard Playhouse in New Zealand.

    "Have a shed for storing stuff," Kiest says.

    Photo by Simon Devitt.
    This originally appeared in Modular Backyard Playhouse in New Zealand.
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  "Use light colored wood for floors," suggest Ned and Brenda Drew, whose New York City apartment is featured in our September issue.  "We chose to use Bamboo primarily because it’s environmentally friendly, but a major side benefit was that it opened up the space and made the apartment feel much larger than it really was."  Photo by Matthew Williams.   This originally appeared in Small Space Living by LifeEdited.

    "Use light colored wood for floors," suggest Ned and Brenda Drew, whose New York City apartment is featured in our September issue.  "We chose to use Bamboo primarily because it’s environmentally friendly, but a major side benefit was that it opened up the space and made the apartment feel much larger than it really was."

    Photo by Matthew Williams.
    This originally appeared in Small Space Living by LifeEdited.
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  "White walls make a big difference," the Drews say. "By leaving the walls white and neutral we were able to create visual interest by hanging quirky or interesting artwork and personal mementos."  Photo by Adam Friedberg.   This originally appeared in Big City, Little Loft.

    "White walls make a big difference," the Drews say. "By leaving the walls white and neutral we were able to create visual interest by hanging quirky or interesting artwork and personal mementos."

    Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    This originally appeared in Big City, Little Loft.
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  "'A place for everything, and everything in its place.' It sounds simple enough but this is probably the most important rule we have," the Drews say. "Making sure that things don’t pile up, putting them away as they come helps us avoid clutter and reduces the impression of a cramped space."  Photo by David Engelhardt.   This originally appeared in Space-Saving Wood-Paneled Apartment in Manhattan.

    "'A place for everything, and everything in its place.' It sounds simple enough but this is probably the most important rule we have," the Drews say. "Making sure that things don’t pile up, putting them away as they come helps us avoid clutter and reduces the impression of a cramped space."

    Photo by David Engelhardt.
    This originally appeared in Space-Saving Wood-Paneled Apartment in Manhattan.
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  "Storage in ceiling—we were lucky in that we live on the top floor so our ceilings are taller than most," the Drews say. "We took advantage of this by converting space above the bathroom into storage. Also, our architects designed storage spaces above our closet and in the hallway."    This originally appeared in Built-In Beauty.

    "Storage in ceiling—we were lucky in that we live on the top floor so our ceilings are taller than most," the Drews say. "We took advantage of this by converting space above the bathroom into storage. Also, our architects designed storage spaces above our closet and in the hallway."

    This originally appeared in Built-In Beauty.
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  Ruth True and her husband Bill own a converted garage in Washington that's featured in our September issue. Ruth says that "flexibility" is key in small spaces. "We love to have vintage folding chairs around."  Photo by Andreas Meichsner. Courtesy of ©Andreas Meichsner.  This originally appeared in Warsaw Loft with Multifunctional Furniture.

    Ruth True and her husband Bill own a converted garage in Washington that's featured in our September issue. Ruth says that "flexibility" is key in small spaces. "We love to have vintage folding chairs around."

    Photo by Andreas Meichsner. Courtesy of ©Andreas Meichsner.
    This originally appeared in Warsaw Loft with Multifunctional Furniture.
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  She also recommends creating "room for some movement." Avoid "trying to do more than the space can do," she says.  Photo by David Allee.   This originally appeared in All Together Now.

    She also recommends creating "room for some movement." Avoid "trying to do more than the space can do," she says.

    Photo by David Allee.
    This originally appeared in All Together Now.
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  "Hidden beds in the floor are one of my favorite features of the garage," Ruth says.  Photo by Ian Allen.   This originally appeared in Stow Aways.

    "Hidden beds in the floor are one of my favorite features of the garage," Ruth says.

    Photo by Ian Allen.
    This originally appeared in Stow Aways.
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  "Great lighting" is key according to Ruth. "LED strips are our new best friend!"  Photo by Adam Friedberg.   This originally appeared in Big City, Little Loft.

    "Great lighting" is key according to Ruth. "LED strips are our new best friend!"

    Photo by Adam Friedberg.
    This originally appeared in Big City, Little Loft.
  • 
  Another way to maximize a small space: "Large openings to the outdoors," Ruth says. "You can always expand into the outdoors!"  Photo by Mark Mahaney.   This originally appeared in Striking Angular Cottage in Connecticut.

    Another way to maximize a small space: "Large openings to the outdoors," Ruth says. "You can always expand into the outdoors!"

    Photo by Mark Mahaney.
    This originally appeared in Striking Angular Cottage in Connecticut.
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