How to survive small space condos and homes

Forgo a long sofa and consider individual club chairs in the living room. Tess Chair, $1,380, Crate and Barrel.

I am moving into a spacious walk-up apartment. I am concerned that the narrow hallways and stairwells might impede me from getting larger furniture pieces into my space. Any ideas or design tricks? 
Tina Daenz, via email.

As a former walk-up apartment renter myself, I know your anxiety around getting furniture up.
Here’s a few things you should be cautious of when ordering furnishings, and a few moving solutions I learned.

Bed
If a king-size bed is your choice then opt for the split-box spring. Each piece is the size of a single box spring, which makes it easy to move around in tight spaces. You can also choose two smaller mattresses (called twin plus), which is great for customizing your comfort level from one side to the other, and still enjoy the size of a king bed. Co-ordinate the split bed with one king-size headboard and bedskirt to give a finished king-size look to the bed.

Couch
If a comfy sofa is just too large to be brought up a skinny staircase, consider a grouping of lightweight, small-scaled club chairs. You’ll create a lounge feel with the chairs around a cocktail table or large round ottoman and you’ll be seating as many people as if you had the traditional sofa and chair set. Plus, you’ll have more flexibility for re-arranging the furniture during holidays and parties (see the Tess Chair, above).

Forget about a sleeper sofa altogether; not only are they heavy, they are usually much deeper in size than a regular sofa (the extra depth helps contain the mattress mechanism).

Cabinets
Armoires and china cabinets too large? Find furnishings that disassemble or can be placed together once inside the desired room. If choosing a china cabinet, make sure it comes in the form of a credenza and hutch; each piece will be easier to move up and down stairs.
You can also purchase three or four smaller cabinets or bookshelves and line them up along a long wall for the look of one large piece of furniture (see the Stockholm Glass Cabinet, left).

Like a ‘ship in a bottle’

Here’s a list of easily-moved items that can offer big impact and still move easily up the stairs:

•    Area rugs. Look for colourful, large patterned rugs to fill a room with style.
•    Draperies. Make small windows look larger by hanging draperies on the dead wall space beside windows.
•    Artwork. A big mirror or a piece of art helps create a focal point in a room and offers something large-scale without taking up precious floor space.
•    Paint. If you’ve got a naturally dark room in your place paint it a dark colour for unexpected drama.
•    Lighting. Whether you are renting or own your home, new lighting is a great way to make a place feel sexy at night. A single spotlight on a piece of art or a dramatically painted wall washed with light will help create a special mood in your new place.



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