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
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
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.
Use barn doors
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.”