Kim Lewis, interior designer, Ply Gem blogger and regular on FYI’s “Tiny House Nation” is the queen of living large in small spaces. She’s part of a new trend of homeowners and designers who think you’ll live better with less — that is, in homes between 150 and 600 square feet. Those who’ve joined the movement say that choosing the tiny home lifestyle saves money, is eco-friendly, and it can help you live a simpler, less chaotic life.
Since living in a city means a small space isn’t a choice as much as it is a fact of reality, Lewis offers the following tips to make even our 300 square-foot adobes feel like a spacious penthouse.
Go for height
Use a wooden pallet to build ceiling-mounted storage in narrow spaces.
Molly Winters Photography
For items you don’t need to reach every day, take up air space instead of floor space by building shelving that’s high up. It’s a cheap and easy DIY project, says the expert.
And if you’re really handy, Lewis recommends mounting a ceiling shelf in a narrow space or nook. “If you take a pallet, you can use simple eyelet hooks and chains to hang it from the ceiling for added storage,” she says. “Just be sure to hit a ceiling joist when you drill so the weight is supported from the ceiling.”
Get creative with storage
Vintage metal watchmaker's cabinets can store everything from clothing to office supplies without taking up too much space.
In tight bedrooms there’s not much space for a dresser drawer, so Lewis encourages you to rethink those bulky pieces and go for something more streamlined.
“Shallow drawers of [vintage] watchmaker's cabinets make it easy to organize a lot of different things in small spaces,” she says.
You can use a tall watchmaker’s cabinet to store clothing, jewelry or even office supplies. They’re much sleeker, and have more drawers, so you’ll be able to store more in a whole lot less space.
Barn doors make for stylish space savers.
Molly Winters Photography
In tiny spaces where every square inch counts, even doors on hinges can be a major waste of space.
“Barn doors are a great space saving feature for urban and tiny living because you don't lose three feet for a door swing, and three feet in a small space is a lot,” says Lewis.
Cut the crap
If you spend 10 minutes looking for a shirt or notebook each day, it’s time to clear out the mess. Lewis found the key to stripping belongings down to the bare minimum.
“There’s a really fun exercise that we’ve done on ‘Tiny House Nation’ where the only things you can [keep] are what you can fit on a king-sized bed,” she explains.
“It really makes you think creatively about what you actually need in order to function.”