We have a small downtown apartment and a new baby. We are space challenged. We thought it would work itself out, that the solution would present itself naturally as we developed a rhythm with our new little one, or at the very least some deus ex machina event would swoop in and sweep out the mess. So far intuition, the baby, fate and God have been quiet with their small space revelations. So I’ve been busy seeking answers online.
Few people living in urban areas feel as though they have enough space. Minimalist design is as much a state of mind as it is a design aesthetic. Like my yoga practice, it’s a process. Today’s living spaces often serve a multitude of purposes, from home office to playroom to guest room in a single space. As much as we strive to de-clutter, to own only what we need, it seems increasingly that we need a lot to keep up with the daily grind’s demands. In this post, you’ll find ideas for multifunctional furniture that helps keep spaces neat and streamlined – having the junk that can’t be parted with at least hidden away. And you don’t even need a baby to make use of these.
Step Chests –Tansu to the Rescue
These multi-functional pieces offer fabulous storage, are great as room dividers and can be at home in many different decor concepts. Greentea Design Step Chests (pictured) are stunning custom made pieces constructed as three distinct units that can be reconfigured as your lifestyle demands (or when the mood strikes). This feature is key. As I searched organizational blogs I nearly drowned in advice for planning my small multi-purpose room. But life brings changes and we need to retrofit our current space. We aren’t going to toss everything and begin again. Rather we want to reuse current pieces and invest in a couple solid pieces that can be reinvented when our life takes another exciting turn.
Check out the cool 3D guide to step chests here: http://www.greenteadesign.com/step-chest-guide.html
Moving Up – Artful Shelving
Whether it’s a full wall, floor to ceiling, or making the most of a wasted-space nook, shelving is a great solution for tucking away clutter and showcasing your library or special artifacts. There are many options – from floating shelves, custom built-ins, and even lots of out-of-the-box units at every price point, and all in your choice of wood, glass or metal. Here are some tips on how best to incorporate the right shelving in your space:
What’s the purpose for your shelving?
If you’re hiding clutter, you might want to opt for something with doors or drawers, that discreetly tucks away mess. This option is perfect for families that want to conceal toys, gaming systems, art supplies, etc. If you prefer a space to showcase your objets d’artyou’ll want to keep shelving uncluttered and let your pieces speak for themselves. When displaying unique items, you may consider a unit that includes lighting to give the space a gallery feel. Mixing and matching these techniques works too – just be mindful of the visual proportions.
If your shelving will function as a multipurpose piece, say as your entertainment center and bookshelf, its essential that the unit be designed to support sufficient weight (this is not the time for press board!) Cords need to be safely tucked away from prying hands and paws.
These offer so many configuration possibilities and are a great choice for use in what otherwise might be wasted space. Also ideal for use in very small spaces, floating shelves do just that, where a freestanding unit, like a bookshelf, would seem clunky. Free standing shelves can also add loads of visual interest to your space.
Under Bed Storage
Again, there are many options – from the lowly plastic boxes, wicker baskets, or wooden crates that fit under standard frames, to unique pieces that incorporate storage into the design. The right sort of multifunctional bed might let you forgo a dresser or even better, stand in as a linen closet substitute, allowing that closet space to be used as extra storage. Just remember, when faced with drawers and cubbies, don’t just stuff them full. Spend some time planning out what goes where and ask yourself how often you’ll need access to each compartment. Keep each space organized for easy finding and tidying. Also for those out of the box units designed to slip under your standard frame, attaching some castors to the bottom will go along way to simplifying the finding and the tidying.
Decorative Room Dividers
Room dividers and folding screens are versatile pieces that will serve you well over time. Beautiful painted screens and handcrafted wood versions are art in their own right. Great for both large and small spaces, dividers and screens can help delineate a small space that serves multiple functions. They can separate your home office from your living space, help create a closet and dressing area in the bedroom, or hide a mess like laundry or home gym equipment. Wooden dividers can have a second life mounted in the window as an alternative to drapery. You’ll benefit from privacy as well as the glorious patterned lighting effect. Folding screens can also be mounted to the wall, giving you the drama of a mural.