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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

how to set up a shoebox

* I've been wanting to make my photos bigger for a while so I adjusted my layout to accommodate this. If anything looks wonky (ex. overlapping) on your browser/monitor please let me know so I can fix it asap! Thank ya much! :) *

Here's the thing. I love home design blogs. The ones that show you other people's apartments and houses and how they set them up, whether extravagantly or on a strict budget. I constantly file away ideas for when I have my own house or apartment, hopefully in the near future. But what drives me crazy, more than anything in the world, is when I see a post about how someone set up their "itty bitty teeny tiny apartment" and how great it looks. And then I look at the floorplan of their apartment and it shows a kitchen that is separate from the living room, at least one bedroom, and then a balcony, a breakfast nook, a mudroom, and five closets. THAT my dear, is not a small apartment. THIS.. is a small apartment.

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Yes. This is the space I lived in for the 2009-2010 school year. And I loved it. It's not my ideal space, but with my budget it was either live in a shoebox in a nice area of the city, or live in a mansion in a scary area. I chose nice. Now like I said, I only lived there for a year and I'm sure if it had to be longer than that I probably would've gone crazy. But I know people sometimes live in places that are way smaller than they'd like as either an in between while they search for a new home, or maybe while they're in school like I was. And millions of other reasons. So I thought I'd show you how I set up an actually small space.. a space with one room and one closet. Because if I could make this place livable, any place can be made livable. Maybe you'll get some ideas for blocking off areas and creating the illusion of rooms when there are none. :)

This is how I set up my little shoebox.. it may looked cramped, but there was actually plenty of room to move around. And it was either just me by myself doing homework, or my boyfriend and I hanging out so it's not like I had hoards of people coming in. I tended to visit people at outside locations a lot during this time. :)

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Dividing Your Space
The most important thing for me when setting this up, was that my bed was not in my living area. I didn't want to feel like I was back in a dorm. To achieve this, I pushed my bed against a wall and put two Billy Bookcases from Ikea along the outside. With those and my headboard blocking it off, you never knew it was there unless you were standing at the foot of the bed. This made a little entry way from the front door and provided storage in the "living room".

Living Room and Kitchen
There, I had a futon, coffee table, and little media center. Behind the futon is an old drafting table I had from my last room. I used it mostly for more kitchen counter space and prepped food there, but sometimes art projects spilled over to it and it was a desk again. I also moved the fridge to where the other kitchen-y things were because it was in a ridiculous place when I moved in. Next to the fridge I had another Billy Bookcase where I stored all dishes and kitchen appliances because I had just enough cabinet space for food.

Storage and Shelves
My favorite thing about the room was probably the fake fireplace. It had a beautiful tiled floor and I put dozens of different sized white candles inside. It was really awesome when it was all lit. On the mantel I had my jewelry box and necklace hanger and a bunch of art and knick-knacks. The shelves by my bed contained all my books and crafty supplies and the two big bins under my bed is where I kept all my art supplies for school, which I could easily slide out under the head board. My one closet contained all of my clothes which was tough, but with a combination of small storage containers and shelves I made it all work.

Tips for Small Spaces
To sum it up, I leave you with my final thoughts and tips for making a small space work.
1. Use furniture to create spaces and rooms.. with a few pieces you can change the appearance of a room drastically.
2. Make sure all storage is accessible.. there's no point in putting things under your bed if you can't get to them easily. You'll just get frustrated and probably never put anything away.
3. Put extra drawers and shelves in closets.. it makes the most out of the space and you won't see it once you close the door!
4. Use personal things as decorations.. I mixed my jewelry out with the art and knick-knacks on my fireplace so that it was easily accessible but still looked nice.
5. Keep it clean.. when classes got hectic my apartment felt the brunt of it. I would start to get really stressed out because I couldn't move in there with all the paper scraps and supplies hanging around. One quick clean up and my mood was instantly better and my head felt clear again. :)

Well if you made it this far, then you probably live in a small space ;). I hope this helped someone out there who was feeling the same frustration I felt when trying to figure out how to set up a shoebox.

Happy fall weather finally! :)

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