The Huge Advantages of Small Spaces

This is a piece that is in praise of the diminutive. Think Ronnie Corbett. Being “compact” never did him any harm in terms of showbiz success did it? The thing is that most people live in cities. That may not necessarily be a choice thing- they may have to live in a city because that is where the work is. Retirement is for the coast or the country, whereas the city and the suburbs are for the grafters. As populations rise and urban sprawl spreads, there is almost one universal rule- we city dwellers get less for our money and space becomes tighter and tighter. Forget houses, we are talking small flats. Perhaps with only one bedroom. But think small not “oh I wish it was bigger”. There are advantages to having smaller living spaces. Learn to relish your cosy home!

Looking at interior design magazines you’d think that the only way to have a working kitchen would be to have one the size of a small cruise ship. But don’t they realise that if you were to plot your movements when cooking in a kitchen you’d be travelling much more in a larger kitchen than in a smaller one.  Galley kitchen or even a small square kitchen where you turn to each appliance just an arm-reach away is super efficient. Hob to work surface to microwave to oven- why would you want to travel distances?  And when it comes to cleaning- easy-peasy lemon squeezy as they say! And if you want to redecorate- again it’s good- just one pot of easy-wipe clean emulsion will do the whole kitchen.

You are not alone if you have a small home. From Brooklyn to Belfast, from Lisbon to London. Small is usual. Small is great! And there are things you can do to make the most of your small space. Make sure that you have no potential storage spaces. You have a bed and sofa? Why not go for a futon? Is there storage space available under the stairs? Are your walls being fully utilised?

This may seem strange but a small space seems lighter, brighter, airier and larger if you have the maximum amount of light coming in, and some greenery. So make sure your windows are ultra clean and that you have some plants around the place. Avoid clutter if you can, but that doesn’t mean you have to make your place lean, mean and austere. Think in two dimensions. A wall-covering, painting, floor rug etc will not take up much space at all. Try to buy furniture and other things that have a dual purpose. A fold-down table can be put in the corner and have a plant on it, and have chairs hidden away beneath it. When friends come, out they all come.

A more radical idea, and one that I have used, is to “loan” things to a friend with more space and just ask for some of it back as and when you want it. I have a massive dvd and CD collection and in any year will probably watch/listen to about 3% of it. So my mate in the country has it all in his spare bedroom, and each time I visit him, I take back the 30 or so CDs and DVDs I’ve had for the past three months and swap them for some different ones. It’s a win-win arrangement. Small doesn’t have to mean miserable!

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