Monday, September 27, 2010

Small apartments & homes

Small Living Spaces
A friend of mine moved into a beautiful new two bedroom apartment recently. She wanted me to see it and asked how I could make it work for her. The living room is the size of a postage stamp; there’s a small eating area off the kitchen, but no large dining area. Additionally, there is no place to lounge, or generally be a slob, watch TV and put your face into a bowl of popcorn.
My friend likes things to be elegant and yet simple, but she needed to have a place for guests or family to sleep as well as where she could lounge without fear of someone coming to the door. I suggested for her living room, where people enter and see all, that she put two matching love seats in the middle of the room facing each other. We did this and put a long sofa table behind one of the love seats (both of them in a floral print so they won’t show spills and stains). On the sofa table we put a lamp, a green plant (philodendron) that doesn’t require a lot of sun, some coasters and a figurine from Ross’s. The figurine was of a porcelain girl with a basket of flowers on her arm: Ross has great accessories and they are usually a bargain.
We put a small oval (you don’t want sharp corners in small rooms) coffee table in between the love seats; and on the table we placed an artificial flower arrangement along with a decorative candle. We put a floor lamp in the corner by the sliding doors that led to the patio. Floor lamps give off great light when needed. Next to the lamp we put a 6’ tall artificial plant. A small table with a drawer, where she could drop her keys, went by the door (found this at the Salvation Army for $30.00). The love-seats we bought at a consignment store, two perfect ones about 5 ½’ long. The room is 14 x 12 feet.
Just a side note: leather sofas are really good for high traffic areas, so if you are not into floral, try a dark leather sofa, especially for a one bedroom place where the living room is the only place to lounge. Notice we did not put a TV in the living room, my friend doesn’t like to watch it when she has company so we put one in her bedroom and a small one in the 2nd bedroom. The love seats are small enough and if she has to set up a card table for extra dinner guests, she can move the love seats towards the wall or sliding door.
One wall in the living room allowed for a single bookcase, so we filled that up with books and some of her treasures she wanted displayed. In the dining area we used a round table. Round tables can seat a lot of people, and there are no sharp corners. We picked up a large picture from Salvations Army (they have great pictures sometimes) to hang in the dining area; the picture was of a waterfall with lots of foliage on either side. The high counter in the kitchen that separated it from the living room we kept cleared off except for one plant and a decorative candle.
In the master bedroom, she used an armoire, like those in hotel rooms, to put a TV in. This bedroom is large and also has space for a desk. In went her desk of dark wood with a matching file cabinet. Now she has a nice small office space under her bedroom window. In the 2nd bedroom, we bought a trundle bed from Craig’s List. It serves as a sofa when closed and two twin beds when opened. We lined the wall opposite the trundle bed with bookcases, including a shelf for the small TV and lots of other things that needed a shelf. Voila
I think the point of a small apartment or home like this is to keep down on the clutter. Practice regularly giving away to the Good Will or whom-ever, or throw out things you don’t use or need. They add to a home that reeks of disorder and muddle. Clean out paper and things on a weekly basis. I keep a large trash basket lined with 33 gallon garbage bag under the kitchen sink. Once a week before trash pick-up, I go through the house and empty everything into one bag. Of course, I keep the recyclables separate. If you have to live in a small space, don’t forget to pick up after yourself.

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