I have had the privilege of organizing and designing several small spaces over the years. The most recent one was a two-bedroom, 750-square-foot condo. The client’s partner had moved in a few months earlier, and they were struggling to make the space work for them. Of course, merging two households into one is challenging, so I suggested some storage solutions for small-space living to maximize function and storage.
Organizing the Entryway
These Ställ shoe organizers from IKEA are one of my favourite solutions for a narrow entry. You can also use them to store things like hats and gloves in the winter. And you can never go wrong with a sturdy hook rack mounted on the wall if your entry closet is very small. Choose one with large hooks so bulky coats don’t fall on the floor. We chose IKEA’s Kartotek hook rack because it matched a storage bench that my clients already had. We placed the bench below the hooks.
Storage in the Kitchen
Adding more shelving and cabinet space in the kitchen is one of the best storage solutions for small-space living. As you can see in my client’s home, this corner with the microwave stand in the tiny kitchen could be so much more functional. There was plenty of room to go vertical.
Since we were sticking to a tight budget, I recommended that the clients install a rangehood with a built-in microwave to free up the corner. Then, they could add a pantry cabinet like the Enhet from IKEA. If your kitchen has enough space, the For Living model from Canadian Tire is a good option because it has a section to store tall items like brooms and mops.
If you have a few more dollars available, you could opt for a custom cabinet with rollout shelves/drawers to better access items in the back. However, using clear bins on the existing shelves will help keep things organized for a lower cost.
The Best Solution for a Tiny Open Plan Living Room/Dining Area
My clients really wanted to add a recliner in the living room/dining area. However, they already had a bulky leather sofa and a large coffee table, which took up all the space. It left no room to add another piece of furniture.
Although some might consider my idea a bit radical, I suggested she sell the sofa and the coffee table. Instead, she could invest in two recliners with a storage table between them. It was a great solution for their condo as they seldom invite people over, so the “seating for two” idea worked perfectly. Then, whenever they do have visitors, they pull out their comfortable dining room chairs for extra seating. Voilà, a tiny yet spacious living room!
The Dover recliner from Palliser is ideal for my clients because of its sleek look and ergonomic design. It comes in sturdy leather and has a power-recline function, making the chairs easy to use as my clients age. And the recliners will easily fit into a new space should my clients ever decide to move.
The tiny second bedroom needed to function as office space and occasional sleeping space if, for example, one person was sick or perhaps snoring (yup, it happens in my house). They had a double bed in the room, leaving almost no area for a workspace. So, it was time for a change. Here is the solution I created.
First of all, the double bed had to go. Replacing it with a functional day bed from Structube was the best option. It serves a dual purpose (bed and seating) and looks stylish.
The clients already had a white IKEA Bestå cabinet in the dining area, which made the space really tight. Because we added extra storage in the kitchen, we could take the cabinet from the dining room to the office. And we added another level to maximize the available height. Using taller storage when you have a small footprint always makes good sense. I suggested replacing the client’s heavy dark desk with a smaller white one to help open the space. Additionally, keeping the colour palette cohesive means less visual confusion, so the room automatically looks less cluttered.
Creating storage solutions for small-space living can be challenging. But if you’re willing to change your furniture pieces and add vertical storage, you can enjoy a functional home for years to come. If you’re interested in maximizing storage and improving the design of your small space, feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to help.