We’ve been talking about the art of living minimally lately, and for a lot of people – that means either downsizing their living arrangements, or embracing the small space they already call home. But just because you’re living minimally, does not mean you have to endure tight quarters without making adjustments for breathing room. In fact, a smart minimalist knows exactly how to maximize those small spaces and make good use of the square footage they have.
The Art of Illusion
It often starts with illusion: tricking the eye into thinking there is more space than there actually is. This can be done a lot of ways. Increasing your window to wall ratio can shed light on your space and make it seem more open. Opening up your floor plan and shifting your furniture around so that rooms flow into each other can also accomplish this. Then there are floor-to-ceiling curtains, which can provide the illusion of taller ceilings than you actually have. And large mirrors also convince the mind that more space exists than is there – some small places may even benefit from an entire walled mirror!
Consider a Loft
You see this all over the place in New York, but building a loft bed can be done just about anywhere. If you have a small living space, moving your sleeping arrangements closer to the ceiling opens up more room for daily activities on the ground. You could turn your bedroom into an office or workout room, while your bed could be a cozy loft and reading area above. Either way, moving your bedroom up buys you more space – and creates a bit of privacy you might not otherwise have.
Get Creative with Shelving
Built-in shelves, or floor to ceiling shelves, can give you more space for storage and don’t take up too much space in their creation. They can also add a really nice decorative touch to a home, and will allow you to display your impressive book collection or to keep hold of those DVD’s you still love re-watching. Look around your home and evaluate areas that could benefit from new shelving; then don’t be afraid of using those shelves for anything you might need storage for. This can be especially helpful for homes with limited kitchen space; no one says your dishes have to go in the pantry. And you might find that the extra shelves are a great place to display sentimental items as well, including your wedding pictures!
Utilize Every Nook and Cranny
Most people don’t even realize just how much space in their homes goes underutilized, but if you haven’t made the effort to maximize your space – there is a strong chance you have options you haven’t even considered. That space under the stairs? It might be the perfect place for your desk and computer. The entryway you always rush through? You might actually be able to build a shelf for coat storage right there! Look around, and keep your eye out for underutilized space.
Keep it Simple
The best way to maximize space is to stop storing things you no longer need or use. Clutter is the enemy of living minimally. So take out some boxes and start packing things away – donating, selling or trashing whenever possible. Ask yourself if you’ve used these items in the past 6 months or year. If the answer is “no,” it’s probably time to say goodbye. The sooner you can rid your life of that clutter, the quicker you can begin organizing and maximizing the space you do have.