After receiving an email newsletter from HGTV about big ideas for a small space, I decided to include another apartment blog entry featuring updates on my present living conditions. Furnishing a small space can be a headache - especially in Manhattan, where New Yorker natives and New York transplants alike find themselves sharing a common peeve: renting apartments that snugly accommodate 1.5 tenants.
My studio in Harlem will comfortably seat about four guests + me (if I sit on the floor); 2-4 more if they don't mind lounging on my bed. Before I moved to New York last year, I jokingly told friends that they would be welcome to visit the city and stay with me for free as long as they were aware that when they lay down in my living room, their feet will be in my kitchen.
Furnishing my tiny studio has been both a headache and a creative challenge. I have been trying to be smart about my purchases since I'm working with a limited single-income budget so I sought advice from a number of sources:
amNY: Living Small in the Big Apple & In 295 square feet
Home and decorating blogs: Apartment Therapy, Decor8, Shelterrific
HGTV: Big Ideas for your Small Space
Martha Stewart's Blueprint: Small-Space Makeover
Metropolitan Home: Making Little Live Large
The Container Store: Love Your Dorm: Space saving solutions for college students (I'm not in college anymore, but my apartment basically equates to a dorm room so some of these ideas were handy)
My apartment is still really plain. I could definitely use more lighting (as witnessed via these camera phone photo ops) and decor (throw pills, framed pictures or cheap art). I would paint an accent wall or something, but I don't want to go through the hassle since I don't know how long I'll be living there - maybe just another year or two before I try a different New York neighborhood (the same reason I haven't bought one of the $379+ wall sleeve replacement A/Cs that fits the sleeve under the window). At the very least in choosing furniture, I decided to find pieces that were multifunctional in an effort to maximize what little space I do have.
This bed with drawers allows my small space to accommodate a queen-size bed. Drawers on three sides for clothes and extra towels and blankets eliminate the need for a separate dresser. And the display floor lamp has multiple shelves to feature photos, knickknacks, my iPod player/clock radio and a resting place for my current summer reading.
Multiple racks, hooks, shelves and bathroom accessories make the bathroom a little more functional.
Two adjustable purse racks on the back of the bathroom door hold up to 16 handbags; on the other side of the door is an overdoor iron and board holder.
A shoe organizer and plastic shoe and boot boxes help organize shoes above and below clothes in my tiny closet. And the hamper is placed near my closet and bathroom for quick access, not that walking two feet to the other side of the room to toss dirty clothes would totally eat into my time.
One of two small hall closets have bins, baskets and racks designated to store undergarments, jewelry, hair accessories and other personal items; the other closet stores coats, laundry and cleaning supplies. I still want to get some more practical and attractive storage for a lot of the miscellaneous stuff in my closets.
This three-shelf bookcase with doors conceals books and DVDs and has a small bottom drawer for storage below the television. Hanging a TV/DVD combo in a small space is ideal, but it was a luxury I was only able to afford using my broker's fee savings when I landed a no-fee apartment.
This end table has a front door to conceal additional storage and a magazine rack on the side.
This laptop cart can be rolled from a corner of the studio and placed in front of the armless miniture sectional couch turning the seating area into a workspace. If only I could make everything wireless.
And as arbitrary as it may seem, since I was blessed with extra counter space and cabinets in my small separate kitchen, I use an empty cabinet to hold "office supplies."
My place is by no means a viable submission for the next small spaces feature of Metropolitan Home, but with published insights from experts, I've been slowly making less than 350-square feet feel liveable and organized ... which is something that was almost unthinkable for me back in North Carolina.
Next on the list:
- TV tray tables (since I have no room for a table in my bedroom/living room/den/dining room/study/gym)
- Decorative stuff
- Additional lighting