We have lived in 10 different homes in the 29 years we’ve been married and, at just under 1200 square feet, this is the smallest. Our house in Florida was just a bit bigger but seemed much larger than this house. I think it’s just the way this house is laid out that makes it seem so small.
Anyway, learning to live with less space has definitely been a challenge. I’m not big on collecting and I have no problem letting go of unnecessary items so that has been a big plus but I have definitely had to scale back. I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned this past year starting with the living room. Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, I’ll share different rooms and tips for small space living.
1. My living room may look large but it’s combined with my dining area and the entry area. The actual living area is small but it has a large window which helps it look bigger. The room faces North which means we don’t get a lot of light, so to keep the room from looking closed in and dark, I ended up dressing the window simply with bamboo shades and no curtains. I chose this photo to show you the bamboo shades and to show you how dark the room can be when it’s cloudy out.
2. Because there is not a lot of surface area for decor, I have to be very particular about what I buy and display. I’ve learned that if I see something I like, I need to be really sure that I have a place to put it. I’ve had to pass on a lot of things I really liked but it is, after all, just “stuff” and I’ve actually saved a lot of money by not buying. 🙂 Having a lot of things in a small room could also make it look small and cluttered so I try to choose larger items rather than lots of little things to display.
3. I have had to find furniture that I could use for extra storage. The cabinet that the tv sits on also houses my camera equipment, our cable box, wii, dvds, cds and lots of other stuff that I like to keep out of view. I got an ottoman from Target that also has storage and I put a few blankets in there to use on those cold winter nights. You’ll also notice that I haven’t used any end tables. I tried, but they just didn’t work in this room. Instead I use the ottoman and a few wooden stools so we can put drinks down. You can’t decorate them like you can an end table but they can be moved around, or out-of-the-way, easily.
4. My next tip would be to paint your walls using light colors to help the space look bigger. My space is painted BM Thunder, not really a light color, but I am fixing that right now. After the awful winter we had, the color just seemed depressing to me…too dark. I’ve definitely gone lighter and will share it as soon as I’m done painting.
5. I have found that using mirrors in my small space definitely helps to open it up and adds extra light. I’ve used three in my room and I think it makes a huge difference.
That’s my 5 biggest tips for the living room. There are many more and I hope to touch on them as we move on to other rooms. Of course I’m still learning so if I come across anything, I’ll definitely share. Do you have any small space living tips? Do tell.
Check out my other small space living tips for bathrooms and kitchens.