No matter how large or small your living space, it seems there are always areas that aren’t used efficiently. Whether you have a guest bedroom that no one enters or a dining room where no one eats, think about ways you can creatively use the space where you dwell.
- Use Your Furniture: One way to better utilize your space is to buy furniture that has multiple functions. For instance, benches or ottomans with hidden storage are perfect for people short on storage space. Maybe you find a beautiful antique trunk that you love – it can store off-season clothes, house bills or other files, or collect childhood mementos. Another way to sneak in extra storage space is to buy long, shallow bins that fit under the bed. Armoires can work in any room, whether they store TVs and electronics in a living area or linens and toiletries in a bathroom.
- Shelving Can Be Both Beautiful & Useful: Decorative baskets stashed under a coffee table or on a lower shelving unit can be used to store a variety of items, such as blankets, games, kids’ toys, or books. Vertical shelving can help utilize wall space while maximizing floor space.
- Share Items You No Longer Need: Another way to use your space efficiently is by getting rid of things you don’t need. Donate clothes that don’t fit or are unfashionable and get rid of things you don’t like—yes, even if they were given as gifts. Make sure that you toss, recycle, or shred outdated papers that are no longer needed. Get rid of broken items that are too expensive to fix. Old movies that you don’t watch and books that you don’t read should be given away or sold at a garage sale.
- Create Function-Specific Space: You can also make your space more efficient by setting up areas in rooms that serve a specific purpose. For example, if you or someone in your family loves to read, create a cozy reading nook with a comfy chair and adequate lighting. Designate a space to be used for electronics and video games. Make a space with arts and crafts supplies nearby and space to spread out for those who love to be creative. Oftentimes, an unused corner of a room may be just enough space for a computer desk or study area. If you can, place it near a window to let in some natural and try to keep the chair turned away from the television set or other distractions.
- Be Flexible: How you use the space in your home may change over time as well. In my house, the downstairs family room eventually became a play area for our children. All of the kids’ toys had ended up down there anyway, so we decided to go with it. The built-in bookshelves that previously housed my favorite Japanese decorations and family photos currently contain a bin of puzzles, a basketful of doll accessories, and children’s books. Someday the space can be turned into a study area or music room, so be flexible in how you think of your space being used as well.
Maybe the rarely-used dining room becomes a place for kids to study and complete school projects during the week. A rarely-used guest bedroom might become a home office or a child’s play area. So if you’re dreaming of a bigger home and more space, perhaps you can think instead of how you’re using that space. Have fun, be creative, and make the most of the space that you have.