Furniture styles and organizing to maximize your living space
By Kimberly Blaker
Regardless of the size of your home, space is often a scarce commodity. But the way you organize and arrange and the styles of furniture you choose can mean the difference between living comfortably and like a pack of sardines. Try the following ideas to make the most of every nook and cranny.
If your bathroom has a large dressing area or other wasted space, add an armoire to store towels, sheets, toiletries, bath toys, and other items. In smaller bathrooms, install a bath valet over the toilet. These come in a variety of styles and sizes. If cabinet space can’t be added, put a decorative basket on the floor for storing towels and washcloths.
Off-season clothing takes up closet and drawer space. So purchase shallow cardboard or plastic storage containers to slide under the bed. This storage area can also be used for holiday decorations, gift-wrapping, keepsakes, and more.
Does your bedroom serve as a home office by day? If so, invest in a Murphy’s bed. Just press a button, and your bedroom is transformed as the bed mechanically folds into a wall cabinet.
When shopping for living room furniture, take heed. The size furniture appears in showrooms is deceiving. Measure both width and depth of sofas and chairs, and opt for smaller styles. In small living rooms, sectionals offer the most seating while taking up the smallest amount of space. Choose end tables and a coffee table with drawers and cabinets for additional storage.
Also, select a recliner instead of chair and ottoman, so when the footrest isn’t in use, it can be stored away. If an ottoman is a must, place a decorative tray on top to double as an end table when not in use. Entertainment centers may seem practical but are space wasters if not fully utilized. Instead, choose a television with a built-in video player and safely mount it to the wall. This will also protect your equipment from curious little hands.
Try to arrange all furniture against the wall. If there isn’t wall space for a sofa or chair to back up to, place a cabinet and table lamp behind it to serve as an end table.
The Mess Hall
Underutilized gadgets and gizmos take up precious kitchen space. Take inventory and eliminate non-essentials. Also better utilize your cabinet space by purchasing additional shelving or small stackable organizers.
If replacing your cabinets, purchase taller ceiling height cabinets. The top shelves offer extra storage for seldom used essentials. Also add corner shelving to the outside ends of your cabinets for knick-knacks, a fruit basket, and other odds-and-ends.
For tight eating areas, purchase a rectangular corner table with “L” shaped bench seating. This works especially well for larger families, eliminating the need for multiple chairs. As an added bonus, kids won’t be able to tip their seats. For slightly larger dining areas, one of these corner tables increases usable space so you can add a hutch or computer desk to the room.
Tame these little disaster zones, and create extra space by purchasing a loft bed with built-in desk, drawers, and bookcase. Another alternative is a captain’s bed with built-in drawers underneath eliminating the need for a separate chest of drawers.
Decorate your child’s room by installing display shelving along one or every wall approximately three feet below the ceiling. Adorn the shelves with trophies, knick-knacks, and other memorabilia to eliminate decorative clutter.
Closet organizers maximize storage space. Add strategically placed drawers, cabinets, shelving, and rods. If it isn’t within your budget, lower the existing rod a couple of feet, leaving enough height for your child’s clothing to grow. Then install additional shelves above for storing games, toys, and seasonal items.
Use plastic containers for storing toys and games since boxes are inevitably destroyed. Then label each container with its contents. Purchase containers in only 2 or 3 sizes to make stacking easy and eliminate cluttered shelves and toppling toys.
If your kids share a room, install a partition between the beds. Whether built-in or movable, the partition will give your child privacy and prevent squabbles while creating additional wall space in small quarters.
Odds & Ends
Kids’ growing DVD, video game, and CD collections can be a major eye sore. Get a CD storage binder to protect them, and put the covers in storage to eliminate clutter.
If your foyer or mudroom has space, an armoire is essential. Tuck away books and book bags, hats and gloves, sports equipment, and more in this multipurpose cabinet.
Make the most of every room in your home by installing display shelving just a foot or two below the ceiling to display photographs and knick-knacks. It’s a great way to decorate and eliminates clutter.
Install a wall mounted light fixture above a reading chair or the headboard of your bed to eliminate the need for a table or nightstand.
When choosing window coverings, forego drapes and curtains. Venetian or wood blinds or decorative shades with a valance on top will create the illusion of more space.
Finally, if you use your bulky personal computer only for browsing and social media, replace it with a small laptop.