Space. It used to be the final frontier, but nowadays it seems to be at a premium.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a Brooklyn native used to the tight confines of NYC apartments or a Washington transplant scoping out big Bellevue houses for sale, everybody could use a little extra space. Want your rooms to have more, well, room? Before you grab a sledgehammer and start knocking down walls, consider something less drastic.
Maybe rearranging the furniture?
Here are some tips on how such a small change can get big results.
Want to fit more stuff inside any box? Then start thinking outside it. Get creative by either buying multifunctional furniture or finding additional uses for the furniture you already have.
Instead of a simple single-use sofa, get one that comes with a built-in storage compartment or a fold-out bed. If you have a coffee table taking up a big chunk of the living room, why not swap it out for a chic steamer trunk? You can keep things inside it and still use it as a coffee table when it’s closed. Throw a pillow on top and it instantly becomes a comfy ottoman. Voila!
Use the corners
If you ever played Tetris as a kid, you know the value of finding the perfect fit for every last piece. For whatever reason, though, many people leave the corners of their room empty. Lonely. Naked. Unloved. Oh, those poor corners.
Correct this injustice by taking full advantage of your corners. That could mean using the space for something as minor as a coat rack or umbrella stand, or as large as a wedge-shaped work desk or curved chair or sofa section. If you really want something unique, cut and mount a few triangular planks of wood on the walls to turn the corner itself into a functional shelving unit, perfect for framed photos, potted plants, candles, or other tchotchkes.
Stack to the ceiling
If you really want to make the most of the space you have, then look to the stars. Can’t see the stars? It’s probably ‘cause the ceiling is in the way. But, hey, that works too. Not all furniture needs to take up floor space. Hanging chairs, sofas, and even beds are becoming increasingly popular.
For items you don’t use very often or otherwise can’t find a place for, there’s no reason you can’t get up on your tippy-toes and put them atop that standing cabinet you have against the wall. No cabinet? No problem! Even the top of a doorframe can double as a handy little shelf. Mounting a board above the door has the same effect and won’t obstruct the entrance.
You may have noticed that both of the last two entries have included suggestions for building shelves directly into the walls. That’s because wall-mounting is one of the most versatile methods of giving maximizing space. It’s not just shelves that can be mounted right on the walls. Most electronics, especially flat-screen TV, can be hung up there as well. You can replace standing lamps with wall-mounted sconces and even get wall-mounted pots for your plants, freeing up some much needed floor space.
The most life-changing way of turning bare walls into useful furniture, though, is by installing wall-mounted tables and desktops on hinges. You’ll have a place to eat your breakfast or do your taxes when you need it, and when you don’t need it you can fold it closed like a baby-changing station in a Wal-Mart bathroom. “Save money. Live better,” indeed.