Tag Archives: small spaces

Greentea Design’s Headboard Ideas

close up of shelves as headboard

Coziness seems to be less of a problem for bedrooms, as the size of beds increases at the same time as bedroom size decreases.  But how do you keep things fresh, add a little bit of art and drama to tight spaces?  The answer: make your headboard the focal point of the bedroom.  I’m not particularly drawn to traditional headboards; I prefer the idea of creating a look that’s a little more unique, more visually interesting and adds some practicality to the space.  Whether you’re decorating a smaller space or just want to do something a little bit different, steal these ideas for headboard alternatives, all using pieces from Greentea Design’s line.

Bookcases and other shelving make a visually interesting choice in place of a traditional headboard.  These work particularly well in condos, where bedrooms tend to be smaller and storage space is always in demand.

Greentea Design's asymmetrical bookcases as headboardThis look with 2 black asymmetrical shelves is sleek and modern, while offering much needed extra storage.  This look would work perfectly in a condo.  Plus if you move or just feel like changing things up, these unique shelves will work in virtually any room in your home.  Bonus points if you use the stunning red asymmetrical shelves!

Greentea Design's large display shelf headboardThe black display shelf helps create a cozy, romantic yet strong bedroom look.  Like the shelves in the above bedroom, this headboard alternative offers practical storage that can be further dressed up with decorative storage boxes as well as your most prized collections.

Wall hangings, like the exquisite hand-painted crane screen make for an artistic headboard, without taking up any extra depth.  I love the rich soothing colours in the screen that are echoed in the warm woods of the furniture.

antique carved wooden doors as a headboardThese unique carved doors from China add architectural interest as well the warmth and rustic feel from the aged wood. And as with the shelves, these would also make wonderful room dividers and window treatments should you move to a new space or just want to change up the look in your current home.

What do you use for a headboard in your bedroom?  What’s your favourite look?  Let us know in the comments!

Putting Your House in Order in 2013

Happy New Year!

To get an early start on my resolutions, I spent the last few days of 2012 tidying my apartment before school starts. As a reward for my hard work, I tuned into a marathon of House Hunters International. Having lived abroad, it always makes me laugh to watch North Americans bemoan the lack of storage in the typically smaller homes found in Asia other parts of the world.

But we can learn from these tiny spaces, especially as condo prices rise and square footage shrinks in cities like Toronto.  I love to tour model units for design inspiration but I always wonder if I could find room for all my stuff. After all, I have the luxury of splitting it between my permanent home and my apartment at school!

Image: mi casa via homedit

But I am trying to pare down in both locations. When we downsized from a spacious three-bedroom house to a cozy two-bedroom condo almost 10 years ago, I packed up several boxes that went straight to storage and were forgotten. When I opened them several years later, I couldn’t imagine why I had kept any of the items inside. One of my resolutions is to edit every few months.  For each Christmas present that I received, I am looking for something that I no longer use to donate, sell, or throw out depending on its condition.  I apply the same system for clothes that I don’t wear for an entire season.

Image: I love my apartment on tumblr

We have slowly replaced our hand-me-down furniture with new purchases and always try to pick pieces that have built-in storage, like our bed frame with large drawers or the chest that holds our board games and serves as our coffee table.

Image: Greentea Design via Facebook

Multi-functional furniture has been our godsend, allowing us to keep our open-plan first floor a lot less cluttered. I am coveting the wheeled bench in Greentea Design’s soon-to-be-released collection. I can see it in the front hall with a bin on each end for hats and gloves, or wheeled into the living room for extra seating at parties, or even an impromptu sideboard at holiday feasts.

Image: Wayfair

Perhaps the most important thing I have been doing over the last few months is spending a few minutes at the end of each day putting everything back in its place. Of course, that means that everything we own needs a place. Sometimes this takes a little creativity but the vast array of organizational products out there really helps to maximize nooks and crannies. I have a few seasonal knickknacks that I swap out from time to time but I try to keep this to a box or two.

Image: Dear College Student

There are still a few wayward items that I need to deal with but at least I feel like this might be one resolution that gets accomplished, at least until I have to consolidate my two homes!

Small Space Entertaining Tips

image via style at home

Have you been thinking about hosting a party this holiday season but are worried you just don’t have the space to accommodate a crowd? Entertaining in a small space can hold challenges, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. With some pre-planning you can throw a memorable party in even the tiniest of spaces.  Here are a few party tips that will help make sure your guests have a blast, and that you keep your sanity.

image via freshome

Pre-Party Editing

This tip goes for any size space; before a party or big gathering go through the rooms guests will be gathering in and engage in some ruthless editing. Unnecessary furniture, knick-knacks and personal items can be moved to an off-limits space like a laundry room or bedroom. Guests will feel more relaxed if they’re not bumping into things all the time and you won’t have to worry about things getting broken.

image via a house in the hills

The Ever-expanding dining Table

If you’ve ever tried to seat six people at a four person dining table you know the difficulties. A drop leaf table or one with an expansion panel can be useful, but if you just don’t have the space consider finger foods and cocktails rather than a sit down dinner.

image via Style by Emily Henderson

Party Central

If you’ll be inviting guests over often consider investing in one piece of furniture where all your entertaining supplies can be stored. Maybe a cabinet or a knockout bar cart. It will clear off table space and keep you party ready all the time.  Finding something that offers some closed storage will be helpful for keeping odds and ends under control.

image via marie claire maison


Lighting really sets the tone for any event. If you’re throwing a holiday party use the sparkly lights of the season to your advantage when creating mood lighting. The glow from a Christmas tree or a few strands of white lights can keep the mood festive and distract from the close quarters.

Block Party Conversation Seating set from Designed Goods

Improvise Seating

Don’t have enough couch and chair space to fit everyone? Pull out benches, oversized throw pillows and chairs from other rooms and arrange them in conversation zones around the room.  This conversation seating set is perfect if you find yourself entertaining often. The various pieces can also be used as extra tables or ottomans if the need arises.

la marie chairs by Philippe Starck from hive

Get Stacking

Stackable furniture is a godsend for decorating any small space but it can be especially useful for entertaining. Stackable chairs or nesting tables can be brought out when needed, and tucked away to clear more room once the guests leave.

image via Everything Fabulous

The More the Merrier

Some of the best parties I remember going to were so packed with people it was standing room only. If you keep the mood lively, the music upbeat, the food plentiful and the drinks pouring chances are everyone will have a great time no matter how small your space.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Open Concept Design Tips

Open Concept SoHo Loft with Elevated sitting roomsecond view of SoHo open concept loftImages via Twisted Sifter

Whether it’s modern condo spaces, new build homes, or renovations to character houses, open concept seems to be the layout du jour.   As someone with an open concept apartment I can attest to the improvement to the flow of our home and yes, I’d go as far as to say life generally.  Being able to cook, do laundry or eke out some work time while also ensuring the kid is safe is a massive time saver.  And when we entertain we are always falling behind schedule, so to be able to visit with our guests while they enjoy a drink and we finish up (or invite them in on the cooking action) makes us look like casual fun people rather than time-sucking jerks who can’t get our act together. I know all the latest research is saying multitasking will be the downfall of us all, but honestly can I get a Hip-Hip Hooray for the open concept plan.

Open concept living, dining and kitchen areaImage via House and Home

The question that comes up is how to decorate this space; how to use the most of the sometimes meager square-footage we’ve got.  So here is a list of tips and tricks from the design experts:

Colour Scheme

accent wallImage from Deviant Art via Pinterest

Colourful accent wall in open concept spaceImage via Interior Home

For open concept spaces one big room means one big look.  Obviously the same wall colour in your open concept kitchen and living/dining area will go a long way to creating a cohesive space.  But don’t feel tied to this as a hard and fast rule.  Choosing various tones of the same neutral colour can help to divide a space while keeping the cohesion.  Accent walls can also be dazzling in open concept spaces to punch up interest and define one space from another.  If you’ve got trim – baseboards, mouldings-  throughout the space, do keep this the same colour. And while we’re at it, it may seem like one of those no-brainers, but before you settle on your paint colour follow the wall to its end.  In some open concept homes a wall can extend through an entire floor or across multiple floors.  Be sure your colour will work in what might be a very different part of the home, with different lighting and mood.

Furniture Layout

Bookcase room dividerImage via Homestilo

Both layout and the furniture you choose for an open concept space are key.  Layout will help set one space apart from another and defines your space’s flow. What you choose may need to do double duty so look for pieces that are finished on both sides. Open book shelves and step chests are wonderful room dividers that also provide much needed storage.

Big Burl Step Chest divides a spaceImage via Greentea Design

You’ll want to make sure your furniture is sized appropriate to your space.  For smaller footprint condos, smaller sized furniture won’t take over your space.  In grand lofts with soaring ceilings, don’t be afraid to go big like the step chest pictured above.


area rug in open concept living-dining areaimage via Morgan Design Inc

Generally the flooring will be the same throughout an open concept space. It’s area rugs that will become important.  Rugs can help divide up a space by holding a grouping of furniture together.  If you’ve also chosen one wall colour throughout your space, a pretty area rug will add loads of visual interest.  Just don’t go wild with rugs, especially in smaller spaces, where you’ll end up cluttering up and shrinking your room if you’re placing them in the entry way, living area and dining room.  Choose one area and lay a special standout rug.


Mizuya Pantry - the Konoha

Mizuya Pantry in the living roomImages via Greentea Design

The last thing to keep in mind is that what’s glorious about an open concept space can also be a bane.  Mess and clutter feels magnified, inescapable.  Having some closed door storage is a good option for those who can’t live a minimalist life.  Choosing a good transitionary piece of furniture will bridge spaces well.  These Mizuya Pantries can function as a hutch and pantry in the intermediary space between the kitchen and dining area.   They also work just as beautifully in other areas of the house too.

Happy decorating everyone!

Learning From Small Houses

Ghost House by Jin Otagiri- via minimalissimo

Micro home, prefab, cargotechture: these are all names to describe homes that are small in size but big on design ideas. In cities with high population density and expensive land costs, like Japan, building small is a necessity, but there are other reasons people choose to live in small spaces including sustainability and the desire to get back to basics. Here are a few lessons we can learn from living small.

via desire to inspire

It’s All in the Details Whether you live in a monster home, or the tiniest of condos, the charm of every room lives in the details. The micro cabin above is an excellent example of how to curate furniture and accessories so that everything meshes with the overall look. This space is incredibly soft and warm, and doesn’t feel cramped despite the small size.

sunset idea home via re-nest

Pare Down

Could you live in a shipping container if it was as beautifully designed as this one? ‘Cargotechture’ means recycling shipping containers and transforming them into houses.  At only 192 square feet the Sunset Idea House sleeps four and has all the conveniences of a modern home.  In a space this compact there is only room for your most cherished and necessary items, a lesson many of us who live in cluttered houses could take to heart.

Dwelle Prefab Home via inhabitat

Maximize space

Living in a small space involves some smart thinking when it comes to furniture layout and storage. This compact prefab home utilizes vertical space for built-in storage and sleeping quarters. The sofa and staircase are also the right scale for the room and take up only as much floorspace as they need to.

via re-nest

Make Every Inch Yours

All the design mags and blogs in the world won’t tell you how to make a space that is truly you. Trust your instincts and fill your home with things you love. Take this airstream trailer makeover; every corner of this home represents the people who live there. Maybe I’ve got a bit of a gypsy soul, but I would move in here in a second.