Thursday, May 17, 2007

Making Small Rooms Bigger

I've heard a lot of people talk about how their bedrooms seemed big enough, but as their kids grow up the rooms seem to get smaller & smaller. Here are some things you can do to make the rooms seem bigger, or at least to use the space as effectively as possible.

  • Think Vertical - When floor space is at a premium, you need to use less "foot-print" and more "air space". (picture New York City compared with Phoenix!) Bunk beds and loft beds with desks underneath are good ideas. Use a tall but narrow six-drawer rather than a wide three-by-three drawer dresser.

  • Think Vertical (part 2) - Use every bit of the wall space to take stuff off the floor. Shelves, hooks and bookcases are great places to put things. You can put shelves up very high on the wall for pictures, mementos, and other rarely-used items. A White board &/or corkboard can give your young scholar another place to put notes and stay organized.

  • Baskets, baskets, and more baskets - Baskets and plastic bins are a great way to stay organized. "Stuff" can be grouped together and put away. Clear bins allow you to see what's in them, while colored bins can be color-organized &/or labeled.

  • De-Clutter - Nothing is worse in a small space than clutter. Every item should have its home, and should be put away when not in use. The baskets, bins, desk, drawers, shelves, and corkboards can help make this task easier!

  • Flexible Options - Use things that can be easily moved or used for multiple purposes. Bean bag chairs are a great idea. A laptop computer takes less space and provides more flexibility than its desktop counterpart. A Murphy Bed can be folded into the wall. A "Murphy Desk" can also be folded into the wall when it's not needed!

  • Color - Even though our intentions are good, kids are kids, and keeping organized is hard.. Using lots of color can make the inevitable chaos look like it was supposed to be that way!

I've seen most of these ideas used effectively, in one form or another, in different homes over the years, and have even tried some of them in our home. But I also want to give credit to Mark Cutler Design for parts of this list.

Helping your kids have more space will make them feel better, it will make you feel better, and it will make your home look better!