December 13, 2012

Decorating for a Small Space

I moved from a fairly spacious 710 square foot apartment to a 650 square foot apartment. 50 feet smaller might not seem like a big deal, but the layout for my new apartment was quite different from the old which presented several challenges. With the open concept kitchen, I really had no need for my kitchen table or chairs anymore, but couldn't bear to part with them. The living room area is considerably smaller, so I struggled with floor space. Furthermore, and most importantly, there is NO storage space in the apartment. I have 3 closets - but one of them houses a stackable washer dryer, the other houses the air conditioning unit and water heater, and the last houses my clothes. The clothes closet in this apartment is half the size of the walk-in I had for the last 3 years! After moving to this new place I quickly realized only half of my clothes that need hangers could be hung up. 
Ikea has become my best friend. There are probably other stores that have great storage solutions, but I like Ikea for its mostly modern furniture, its inexpensive options, and the "experience" - if you've ever been to an Ikea store you know what I mean. My most recent trip was the first time I ate the meatballs - they were delish! Once in high school my friends and I played hide and go seek inside Ikea (dorks!) and I'll never forget that. 
Anyway, the biggest issue I faced in this new place was the fact that I had a lot of STUFF and had nowhere to put it. That's why finding furniture that doubles as storage is so important. The futon shown above has a huge storage compartment below it. Inside, I put all my sweatshirts and tee shirts that I don't wear that often, as well as all my dresses - formal, going out, and daytime dresses. I decided that with my limited closet space, I should hang the clothes I wear daily (like blazers, suits, blouses, and pants for work) and put away clothes that I don't have the chance to wear as often. The challenge will be to remember these clothes exist and to search them out and wear them despite the added effort of going under a futon to find them - oh, and to iron them :(
The storage unit on the above right is my newest purchase from Ikea. The 8 fairly large baskets hold everything from my Barbri books that I won't throw out until I take my next bar exam, my Wii, my dog's toys and grooming supplies, and my DVD collection. I like the idea that I can throw anything inside these baskets and the clutter won't show. 
A note about the art - I never thought I'd purchase art from Ikea, but here we are. I thought the large painting above was a steal at $49, and it reminds me of the work of graffiti artist Banksy. Ikea also had some really great pop-art heavy duty posters available for $9.99. I bought two - see below. I'm waiting to buy art from Etsy to fill the space above the futon. 
Although there really was no need or space for my kitchen table, the beautiful thing about Ikea furniture is a lot of it is very versatile. This particular table to the left is folded up to less than half its normal size! I'm now able to keep it for (hopefully) a larger apartment in the future, but also able to make use out of it as a small desk here. One of my favorite items I purchased from Ikea were the two grey lucite chairs shown above at the table. Unfortunately they are not showcased in this place as much as the last, but I'm just glad I didn't have to throw them out or give them away. 
Finally, this has nothing to do with decorating, but here is the view from my balcony at night. I wish I was actually living IN downtown Miami, but looking at it is pretty cool, too. 

So, maybe my little tips were obvious but I will summarize:
1. Find furniture that can serve double duty and has storage. 
2. If possible, find furniture that is versatile and can be transformed based on the size of your space - you don't want to move and find that nothing you own fits!
2. Maximize floor space. Things that don't need to go on the floor (like my little chachki things above) can find other homes.
3. Clutter only makes your small space look smaller - find ways to conceal it. 
4. When dealing with small closets, don't be afraid to pack up clothes you don't wear and put them away for the season. Just don't forget they exist entirely!


  1. Your apartment is super cute and wow, look at that view!!! So pretty! Love how you decorated it and great tips!!

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  2. I love the dark wood floors! It's kind of my obsession right now.

  3. I love them too! I know this place is only temporary but I guess it helps that I actually like the materials the owner chose

  4. The view and decor are amazing! Thanks for sharing!

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  5. Great tips! I have a 5x5 cube shelf from IKEA like your new one - I love to have baskets in some cubes to conceal smaller items and then have some cubes to showcase items - I collect old cookbooks and love to have a place to showcase them!