I have a long history with figuring out how to best organize a small living space. For years, we lived in a 350-square-foot apartment, before upgrading to what felt like a sprawling mansion: a 700-square-foot apartment. Now we live in a house, but it’s a hundred-year-old Colonial, which means that it comes with its own space issues: teeny bedrooms, narrow hallways, and next-to-no closet space.
But something I’ve discovered over the years is that there are ways to make small-space living not just workable, but lovely. It’s all about smart choices: looking for compact home items that pull double-duty and choosing decor elements that emphasize light and create the feeling of a wide-open space. Here’s how I’ve been adding a few easy updates to our home to make it more beautiful and more functional.
- In your living room: Celebrity interior designer Robin Wilson’s tips for how to maximize your small space include two of my own personal favorites: installing a single oversize mirror in your living room, and choosing seating options that are elevated a few inches off the floor (and don’t have skirts on them).
- In your kitchen: Use trays to organize groups of items, and look for products that let you minimize the amount of gadgetry strewn about on your countertops.Panasonic’s NB-G110P FlashXpress Toaster Oven pictured above) functions like an oven and a toaster, and doesn’t require any pre-heating. It’s also nice and compact, but roomy enough inside to cook everything from my son’s beloved waffles to frozen pizzas. Another idea for small spaces: try to introduce some greenery to make a stuffy room seem more “alive” – I bought some new (faux) plants for my kitchen, and it immediately felt more welcoming.
- In the bathroom: Go for light shades on the walls to create the illusion of a larger space, and add color with your accessories (I picked up some bold towels and a statement mirror to brighten up my pale-grey walls).
- In your home office (mine is on my dining room table, because such is life): Use a pretty tray like this green faux-marble style to organize your papers and other necessities, and streamline your technology. I am completely obsessed with Panasonic’s Link2Cell Digital Phone with iPhone5 Integration and Answering Machine KX-PRL262B 2 Cordless Handsets - obsessed – because they let you sync your smartphone to your home phone, no landline required, and have USB ports that allow you to charge your cell without having to locate the cord that immediately gets sucked into a black hole the second it arrives home from the store. (For real: the fact that Kendrick and I are both completely incapable of monitoring the location of our phone cords is one of the major sources of conflict in our marriage, because we are both completely convinced that that one – the only one in the entire house – is MINE.)
The phone dock also replaces the need for an audio system, because you can just stream music straight from the phone through the built-in speakers, so there you go: one less thing cluttering up your desk.
- Throughout the home: Minimize clutter as much as humanly possible. Every season, go through your drawers (especially your kitchen drawers and closets) and get rid of everything that you just don’t use…and then store off-season items in out-of-the way places, like in under-bed storage cases (my lovely new ones are pictured above).
One RG reader will win both the Panasonic FlashXpress™ Toaster Oven and the Panasonic Link2Cell Digital Phone (available for both iPhone and Android devices). To enter, just post a photo of how you maximize your space on Instagram and/or Twitter, tagging @HomePanasonic and including the hashtag #SpaceToTheMax.
Winner will be chosen at random. Panasonic is a sponsor of Ramshackle Glam and provided compensation and product for this post. All opinions, as always, remain my own.