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Space — The Final Frontier

If you don’t have room for a dining

table, consider a coffee table that

has a lift top.

Living in a small space can be a challenge. Finding a place for everything you need is a constant struggle, but there are tons of great ideas and products available to help if you’re in cramped quarters.


Keeping as much free floor space as possible will make your small place feel bigger. Think up. A taller, slimmer dresser is going to take up much less floor space than a low, wide one. A flat screen TV mounted on the wall will take up much less space than a traditional TV on a floor stand. Nightstands beside the bed or end tables flanking the sofa are definite space eaters, so opt for floating shelves instead. Replace floor and table lamps with hanging lamps or wall sconces.


Low-profile furniture and clean lines make a space feel larger and there is additional storage under a low-rise coffee table. An upholstered storage ottoman will provide more seating and storage, as well as acting as a coffee table when topped with a tray. A skirted sofa and/ or ottoman will provide hidden storage for books or CDs.

If you don’t have room for a dining table, consider a coffee table that has a lift top. The surface lifts up toward you when seated on the sofa, and can be used for dining, a games table or work area. The lid tucks away when you’re done. These coffee tables usually offer hidden storage as well. In a small bedroom a loft bed will offer storage space beneath it for a dresser or desk.


Place low bookcases against the back of your sofa to act as open storage and a sofa table. A wide hallway could be lined with bookshelves. Install glass shelves across deep-set windows to hold small plants and pots of herbs. If possible, carve out shallow space between studs. In

a small bathroom, this could create a built-in cubby; install shelves and a cabinet door and keep essentials out of sight. (You may even find a ready-made medicine cabinet that would fit into this space.) If you have a traditional toilet with tank, there should be room above the toilet for a cabinet. Install a towel rack or a robe hook on the back of the bathroom door. Store additional toilet paper rolls in a tall, decorative canister instead of taking up space in a closet.


Clutter can make a small space seem even smaller. Keep tabletops and countertops as free of “stuff” as possible. Choose monochromatic colours to keep the décor feeling open and continuous. A soft colour palette will make a room feel light and airy. Large patterns in wallpaper or upholstery can make the space feel too busy.

A fridge covered with magnets, notes and photos can make a kitchen look messy. Instead, install corkboard, chalkboard and/ or a magnetic panel on the inside of cupboard doors, keeping items easily accessible but out of sight.


Storage is a problem in any-size home, so look for additional storage areas to help keep your space in order. Shoes can be a problem but under-bed storage containers are a good solution. I also make use of the stairway, lining up shoes on the sides of each step, and if your stairway is wide enough, you can also store items like small bunches of books or stacks of CDs in this way. Just be sure you leave sufficient room so that you’re not tripping. Small wicker baskets can be used to house items in this manner as well. Closet organizers will help make the most of a small closet space. Take exact measurements to purchase a system that will give you optimum organization. If your cupboards have a covered bulkhead you may be able to remove it to gain additional cabinet top display space.

Tip: The tops of kitchen cupboards get dusty and greasy and are difficult to clean. Layer the area with waxed paper. When it’s time to clean, simply remove the waxed paper and toss it, then replace it with a fresh layer.

Enjoy your small space. A small castle is still a castle after all.

Connie Oliver is an interior designer from

Winnipeg, Manitoba [email protected]

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