City Living

Making the most of your space

Is your home on the small side? Well, if you’re renting in the city, you probably don’t have much space to spare. City living means making the most of every available square inch, knowing tips and tricks to maximise storage and minimise clutter. Here are some sneaky tips to try if you want to make the most of the room you have.

Look up

One of the most important thing to remember when working with small spaces is to look up – what space do you have on your walls that you could be using for storage? Walls and the empty spaces over doorways are areas that are often completely overlooked, but they’re great for housing books, towels, spare toiletries, accessories and whatever else you need to find a home for. Build shelves that fit into the corners of rooms to maximise this often-forgotten area, and pay a visit to IKEA – they have some good storage solutions that are designed for use on walls and the backs of doors.

Invest in furniture with storage

On the subject of storage, don’t underestimate how much space some of your favourite pieces of furniture are taking up. Swap your bed or sofa for styles that come with built-in storage: an ottoman bed will give you somewhere to store your clothing, bed linens and even your suitcase, and a sofa that doubles as a sofa bed with a lift-up storage area is earning points on both fronts. In a small home, you can’t afford to give so much floor space to items that aren’t giving something back.

Scale down your kitchen appliances

If you have a small kitchen, it’s important you’re not overwhelming it with unnecessary kitchen appliances. Of course you’ll need an oven and a hob to cook on, but you can probably get away with skipping a microwave if you really don’t have space for one. And as for your fridge? Well, consider whether or not you really need a full-sized fridge at all. Of course we’re not suggesting that you live without a fridge, but consider removing your large freestanding fridge and installing a fridge drawer under your worktop instead. A good fridge drawer will give you the flexibility you need, choosing whether or not to use it as a fridge or a freezer, without domineering a small space.

Zone your open plan spaces

Many modern city homes have open plan kitchen-diners that also lead directly onto the living area. While this is great from an entertaining perspective (and can help to let lots of light filter through from one side of the room to another), it can feel like you’re constantly stuck in a room that’s working hard to serve multiple purposes. Break it up without losing space by simply zoning your open plan areas. You can do this using rugs, lighting and even colour blocks, distinguishing key spaces in even the smallest open plan rooms.

Use visual trickery

Finally, even the smallest spaces need accessorising to make them feel like home, and while you might be tempted to be very Spartan with your choices, going for ‘more’ can actually help to trick the eye into believing the space is bigger than it actually is. For example, have a go at making a feature wall filled with artwork and photos, choosing a variety of frames of different styles, colours and materials. You’ll need to give it some cohesion and order, but a ‘busy’ wall like this will make it hard for your eye to perceive how large or small the space is – perfect for rooms that are on the petite side.

Try these tips and see if your small space suddenly feels a whole lot roomier. 

Sophie Davidson