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Making Small Spaces Functional - Kansas City Apartment and Rental decorating Advice

It’s hard to be a neat freak while living in a small apartment. If you want to turn your tiny space into something more functional so you can truly feel at home instead of feeling like you’re trapped in a tiny box, there are simple tips and tricks to assist you along the way.

This is particularly important if you want your home to give off an appearance of being larger. The fewer things that are visible and out in the open, the larger you space actually looks. Whether your rooms are really tiny or even just beyond functional, any room can look bigger if clutter is erased.

The best place to start when you have a lot of stuff and your rooms are too small is by reviewing what you have. It’s never a bad idea to go through your things and decide what can stay and what should go. A good rule of thumb here is if an item hasn’t been used in a year and it doesn’t hold sentimental or actual major economic value, chuck it out! Go through your belongings in each room carefully and weed out what you don’t or won’t use.

Any items on the throw away list that are still operable, wearable or decent, but you don’t want or won’t use can go to charities such as Goodwill. The perk here is while your home will be cleaner, your heart will be fuller knowing you’ve helped someone out. Plus, many donations are tax deductible. So, as you clean, you’ll be saving money on your taxes, too.

Okay, once you’ve weeded out as much as you can and everything left in your home is an absolute “must keep,” you’re going to need to find “homes” for your items. Here’s where it pays to go room by room and use little tricks and tips for storing items and saving space.

Here’s a breakdown of ideas for major rooms in a home:

  • Bedrooms – The trick to making a small bedroom work is organization and making sure everything has its own place.
  • Closets - clean them out and buy some inexpensive organizers. If you have a fair amount of closet space, consider buying a hanging shoe holder and get those sneakers off the floor. That space is better used for storage boxes that can hold wardrobe items for different seasons, important papers, pictures and more. The better organized a closet is, the more it can contain and the less stuff is out in plain view, taking up space for living.
  • Bedroom proper – Use dresser space wisely. Don’t forget to store things under the bed in neat, inexpensive boxes. Try adding some shelves, either floor or wall, for added storage.
  • Master bathroom – Use the space above the toilet tank to your advantage. A cabinet can do wonders for towel and accessory storage. Get rid of toiletries you don’t use or want. Take advantage of the cabinet under the sink, too, and organize the counter by using storage baskets or racks.

Kitchen – Whether you have a lot of cabinets or only a few, they’re the thing to concentrate on to keep a small kitchen from looking like a cluttered kitchen.

  • Cabinets – Store items so you can see them and use them. Get a “lazy Susan” type storage rack for spices. Smart use of storage containers can make cabinets go a long way. Added shelving helps, too.
  • Counters – Keep out only what you use a lot. If an appliance doesn’t get use on a daily or at least weekly basis, find another place to store it. Maybe a hall closet, under the sink, anywhere but out in plain view! Not only will clear counters make your kitchen look bigger, it will make the space more functional. No longer will you have to move things out of the way to mix up a cake or prepare dinner.
  • Refrigerator top – This is a great location to store things, but take care because it can easily look cluttered. Consider an old, decorative wine crate up here for storing cookbooks and other items while making them look good, too!

Living room – You’ll spend a lot of your time here, so you’ll want it to look good and work for you. Take stock in what needs to be in your living room and go from there.

  • Electronics – To fit a lot in a small space, get a decent entertainment center with closed off, not glass doors, or a living room armoire to hide electronics. Look for pieces that have cord access ports, so your television, CD player and DVD player cords don’t resemble spaghetti after installation. Also consider pieces that help you organize your CDs and DVDs for easy access, but maximum space containment. There’s nothing worse than the clutter a great, but poorly organized DVD collection can create.
  • Seating – Arrange your couch and chairs to give a small room easy flow. You don’t want them crammed in to create an even smaller appearance. If the room is very small, consider using only a single couch and maybe a chair. Then buy some portable chairs that can be pulled out of a closet when more company is around than seating is available.
  • Books and other odds and ends – Decorative shelving can go a long way in cleaning up the little things, providing more space for living in the living room.

Whether it’s the bedroom, bath, kitchen or den, smart organization can help make small spaces seem larger. Also consider using brighter colors for decorating as the darker tones tend to make rooms seem smaller. If all else fails, take an even closer look at what you own and get rid of pieces you don’t use or need.

by Tiffany Lewis, Kansas City Premier Apartments, Inc.

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