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Make the Most of Your Small Space

Posted by Tracy Shewchuk ~ July 1, 2009

In a previous life of living large, downsizing has now become a necessary part of life for most people. Rather than dwelling on what you don't have, make the most of what you do have. There are many ways to make a smaller space feel comfortable and inviting allowing you and others not to notice the size, rather notice how nice your space is.

BALCONY/DECK

Decorating a small balcony or deck is much easier than most people realize. There is no reason to leave your space empty considering all you really need are plants and some form of outdoor lighting. Hanging plants are a good option for decorating vertically and adding some color. They may also be used to disguise a bad view. If your view is the backside of another apartment you can hang plants all along the entire top of your balcony. If you're lucky enough to have a great view, you can hang plants just in the corners to keep your view clear. Also, flower pots can add color and an element of comfort. If you're interested in furnishing the space here are a couple ideas:

Small Bistro Set - These sets usually include two chairs and a small table and run anywhere from $150.00 up to $400.00+. You can find them at Target, Lowes, Fred Meyer, etc. However, I found them the cheapest at Home Depot.

Chest/Bench - Place a chest against one of the walls or railing, cover the chest with a nice cloth, place a few pillows on the ends and use the wall(s)/railings as the backrest. You could then use this bench not only for seating, but also for storage.

Hang a Hammock - Hammocks come in all different shapes and sizes. You can choose from Brazilian hammocks that cradle your body and can be hung on walls to hammock chairs that hang from the ceiling. Whatever you choose, they come in all different sizes, colors and are super comfortable!

Lighting is another way to make the balcony/deck more inviting. There are multiple options for plug in or solar power lights. If you live in an apartment/townhome solar power wall lights are a good option. Another option, a little more expensive, is to purchase an outdoor floor lamp. These start around $100.00 and go up, but look very clean and classy. Another fun idea is to hang rope light either from the banister, or above on the ceiling.

KITCHEN

The kitchen has become more than just a place to make food; rather, it is a place of migration for friends and family. Interestingly enough, regardless of how popular the kitchen is, it is usually one of the smaller rooms of the home. The key to making the most of your kitchen space is....no clutter! For some of us, this is much easier said than done. However, here are a few simple ideas to help keep your most commonly used kitchen items close by without being in the way.

Hang It Up - One of the most obvious locations for storage that we all have are the inside of cabinet doors. Use this space to hang a spice rack or small shelf. Hanging shelves in any "dead space" will allow you to utilize every inch of your small kitchen while allowing you to keep things off the countertops. Wall and ceiling racks can also be considered for bigger, heavier options to free up some cupboard space.

Illusion - As helpful as cabinets are for storage, they can make a small space feel closed and crowded. Opt for some cabinets and some open shelving (can easily remove cabinet doors for instant open shelving). This will make your space feel more open and inviting. Also, lighting and color are two important factors in creating the illusion of a larger kitchen. The year 2009 is all about colors like yellow, blue and violet for kitchens. Recessed lighting coupled with bright color schemes will brighten up your kitchen and make it feel bigger.

Clear Up Counter Space - As nice as it is to have every single kitchen appliance you own out for display and/or for easy use, it makes for an unnecessarily cluttered space. Displaying the spice rack and fruit bowls are one thing, but that big espresso maker or blender? Some things are better left stored away in a cupboard until they are needed.

LIVING ROOM

The living room is probably the most used room of the entire home for most people. Whether you're just lounging for the evening, or having company over, the look and feel of your living room is important. Many people often make the mistake of cramming this room with a huge couch, big screen television, and an oversized lounge chair leaving the room feeling crowded and dark. Here are some tips to make this room as comfortable as possible; regardless of the size.

Color - As with any small room color is an easy way to create the illusion of a larger space. Try choosing "cool" colors like blue or green for this room. These colors can create the illusion of higher ceilings and are neutral enough to easily decorate with.

Mirrors - Strategically placed mirrors can create the feeling of a larger room. The idea isn't so much about the glass itself, rather the light that reflects off the glass. Consider either hanging a wall mirror, or using a piece of mirrored glass as a decorate item on a coffee table or mantle. You can place candles on this mirror for a more elegant look.

Window Treatments - There are many different options here. You can choose ceiling to floor flowing curtains that can make the ceilings appear higher. You can also choose a decorative piece to hang horizontally just on the top of the window. If you go with a horizontally hung treatment, you can hang blinds that can easily fold down for window coverage when you need it. No matter what you decide, window treatments are a great way to add color and texture to an otherwise bland room.

Living in a small space does not dismiss the ability to live large. Often times making small decorative additions can make a big difference in the feel of the room. There are many different affordable and easy options for making the most of your space. Embrace your wonderful space and get creative. Good luck!!

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