Small spaces – apartments or older homes with small rooms – often can’t accommodate a full-sized couch or a dining table that seats 10. But that doesn’t mean you have to do without. Here are seven ideas on how to live large in a smaller home.
Plan for small spaces
Take furniture dimensions and, using painter’s tape, mark them off on the floor. In this way, you’ll begin to visualize how a piece will fit. Make sure to measure stairwells and doorways – both width and height – to ensure the piece will fit when delivered. You certainly don’t want to pay a restocking fee for furniture that doesn’t fit.
To plan for enough walking space around dining tables, add an extra 15 inches to 18 inches for chairs around the outside of the table, then add in 30 inches to 36 inches of walking space behind the chairs.
Play around with layouts, either on graph paper or home design software to get a three-dimensional view.
Size and scale
Buying the right size and scale matters more for smaller rooms. Scale refers to the relationship of one piece to the size of another. Overall, think smaller scale and pay attention to measurements. Planning, as described above, will give you a good idea of what will be too large, saving you time and frustration from buying a piece, getting it home, then discovering it really is too big.
Less is more
Too many pieces – and pieces that are too large – will make the space claustrophobic and have you bumping into corners. Use a moderate-scaled couch with one or two accent chairs. For really intimate spaces, a loveseat or apartment sofa plus an accent chair will suffice. Then add end tables, easily moved around for drinks and remote controls, instead of cluttering the open space with a large coffee table.
Choose a dining table that comes with leaves that store inside the table, made especially for smaller spaces. Consider nesting end tables that can function individually or be placed together when not in use.
Wall-mount your television, saving you the need for a large console or entertainment center.
Multi-use pieces for small spaces
Consider pieces that will function in more than one way. Upholstered dining chairs can double as accent seating in the living room. Bookcases and rolling bar carts can act as storage or end tables. Small dressers can replace dining room buffets or bedroom nightstands.