Good morning on this hot and stormy Tuesday.
Do you ever wish your apartment were just a little bigger?
Of course you do — this is New York, where people use ovens as closets and think a $450-a-month crawl space in Williamsburg is a steal.
But before you start using your vegetable crisper as a shoe rack, we asked designers, home organizers and other tiny-living experts for advice on making a small apartment feel larger.
Look down. “Keep as much off the floor as possible,” said Laura Cattano, a professional organizer who lives in a 325-square-foot alcove studio in Carroll Gardens. “It tricks the eye into seeing more floor space.” Use wall-mounted shelves instead of standing units, furniture with legs so you can see the floor underneath, and skip the sofa skirts, she said.
One color. “Working in monochromes helps maintain the feeling of open space and airiness,” said Erin Boyle, who writes about small-space living and lives with her husband and two children in 500 square feet in Brooklyn Heights. “I really like white walls, subtle window dressings.”
Be smart about furniture. “Small spaces doesn’t always mean that you should pick the smaller versions of furniture,” said Graham Hill, the founder of LifeEdited, who lives in a 350-square-foot apartment in SoHo. “The right large piece can make the place feel generous, even luxurious.” A huge couch can allow for entertaining a large group and create less clutter than several small pieces. “One of the biggest secrets to making small spaces work is furniture that has multiple functions,” he added. Today’s Murphy beds morph into desks or couches, and coffee tables can expand to become dining or work tables. (Pro tip: Be honest with yourself. If daily table origami sounds taxing, convertible furniture may not be right for you.)
Minimize open shelving. “Small spaces look small when you’re looking at everything the person owns,” Ms. Cattano said. Display only objects that bring you happiness when you look at them, and try rotating objects in and out of stored spaces.
Lamps are your friend. “Having lights really creates a sense of a larger space,” Ms. Cattano said. Try wall-mounted lamps and hide the cords with small cable covers, or use floor lamps and tuck their bases under furniture.
Speaking of confined space, we’re running out of it here. So now we turn to you. What are your design tricks for making your own apartment feel larger? Tell us in the comments.