The golden rule to manage small spaces is simple: no space lost.
...Sure, thanks for the scoop …
The truth is, even if everyone knows that, few people make the most of it. I’m not talking about putting all of the furniture side by side, or putting boxes under the bed. This is obviously a beginning but one can go even further, especially by seeing every square centimeter as if it were PRECIOUS. Indeed, rather than simply filling the space (somehow) the idea is above all not to lose it unnecessarily.
To give you an example, I’ll share a personal anecdote, when I was in my 25 sqm Parisian apartment. 2 rooms, rather well arranged. We’re not going to delude ourselves though, even well built, we know that living in 2 rooms of 10 m² represent an everyday challenge.
Everything was fine,
I had studied the space and the choice of furniture to exploit the rooms to the maximum, at least more efficiently than my predecessor. Compact furniture, convertible, on wheels. Everything. My apartment had won the reputation of "Transformers", notably changing the main room of 13 m² in living room, kitchen, guest room, gym and workshop (reminds you something?)
Until the day when….
I wanted to set up a desk. A REAL desk. The time of work on the sofa, the computer on the knees, the mouse on a shoebox (ergonomics of the workstation is important!), files on the coffee table on the left and notebooks and other tools on the back of the sofa on my right (and I will not even mention the "graphics tablet" episode ...), I was done with all this.
Since the living room / kitchenette was already fully used, I had no choice but to make use of the last resources of the bedroom. I could easily have bought a small desk as a kit and put it in place of the chest of drawers, in this corner of the old fireplace, between the window and the wardrobe. Not super aesthetic or practical but it would have been easy while meeting the constraints of dimensions, which was the most important in this small apartment.
But was that the most important thing?
Wasn’t the most important thing to have space to spread out all the stuff I need to spread out when I work: my computer, my iPad, my notebook, my pens and pencils of all kinds, my post-it, my to-do list, my calculator, my meter, my kutch, ...? To have room for the enormous A3 multifunction printer I wanted to invest in ?? And above all, the fact that I was already frustrated thinking in advance about all the little empty spaces that would stay unused around this desk because of this weird 45° angle??
Of course yes.
Actually, by taking a closer look, the 150x80 desk I wanted was really possible. From the window to the wardrobe, the length diagonally was perfect. It was even more than necessary. By putting aside the 45 ° corner problem, I had my giant desk! The only solution was a desk made to measure. The cobbler's children going barefoot, I couldn’t invest in made to measure, so I used resourcefulness: an Ikea tray, a jigsaw borrowed from a friend at the other end of Paris, my wobbly Lack table as a workbench and it was done! Same for the printer. Why put it on or beside the desk, where it would take up crazy space when I can make it slip discreetly under the desk without hindering anyone? The whole thing was to make a small piece of furniture with the appropriate dimensions and to find sawhorses that would leave place for it.
After all these adventures (and a memorable DIY session!), I had actually taken advantage of the smallest cm² available to create the workstation I needed, in a compact and homogeneous visual with the wardrobe. It is sometimes the price to pay to have a layout that REALLY fit our needs and stop having all our habits dictated by constraints that seem imposed to us. I’d never thought I would be able to put such a desk in this apartment, until I checked all the cm² available and put the energy to do it :)
So now, look around and watch for those small cm² showing unnecessarily left right and center. Apart from the "useful" spaces (it’s still necessary to breathe!), others can be used, in one way or another.
I would love to hear from you on the subject: Where do the lost spaces hide in your home ? Is there a room that compels you particularly by its small size, for which you would respond with a grimace "I manage" when you talk about it? And above all, it would be great to have some of your stories about crazy things you do to "adapt" (cf my DIY session) or installations / systems that you’ve created to fit your small space (cf my sofa-desk). I'm sure you have stories to tell about the subject :)
I wish you a very good weekend!
PS: The #TeenyTinyMonth offer takes shape and will be reserved for spaces up to 8 m² ! Solutions exist for those kind of spaces and I can find it for you, whether it is a storage space, a kitchen, a bathroom, an office area or anything else provided it is maximum 8 sqm.
PPS: Bravo to have read until the end! As a bonus, I put some small pictures of the making-off of the DIY session. As you can see, I had all the place I could wish for and safety was optimal.