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5 Design Hacks to Make Small Spaces Cozier and More Functional

5 Design Hacks to Make Small Spaces Cozier and More Functional

Living in small house or tiny apartment can sometimes feel constricting and limiting. As a result, you’re often forced to get creative with layout, furniture, design, and storage. And while there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to making small spaces cozier and more functional, here are a handful of design hacks most will find valuable.

1. Use Bright Paint Colors

The community used special rubber-based traffic paint to fill in the design, which they received at the standard city utility price. The paint is manufactured specifically to withstand the typical wear-and-tear of being used on a city road. Photo: David Derong/Iowa State Daily
    (Photo by Ames247)

    Since you can’t actually make the room bigger, you’ll need to leverage some design hacks. One of the best ways to do this is by painting the walls.

    “Light and bright walls are more reflective, making a space feel open and airy, which helps maximize the effect created by natural light,” says Mihai-Cristian Micle of Freshhome. “Dark colors, on the other hand, tend to absorb light, making a room look smaller.”

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    Another trick is to paint wall trim and moldings a lighter color than the walls. As a result, the walls actually appear further back than they are. This can make your living spaces seem much bigger.

    2. Create a Focal Point

    5127609091_5416d858e5_o
      (Photo by Katri)

      Small spaces need focal points that command attention. Perhaps the best option for creating a cozy focal point in the living room is a gas fireplace. Gas fireplaces are not only cost-effective sources of heat in small rooms, but they also provide light and ambiance. The fireplace establishes a natural furniture layout and guides the room in a particular direction.

      Another ideal focal point is a large wall mirror. Mirrors reflect light and create the illusion of more space. They’re also great decorative elements and allow you to fill lots of wall space without unnecessary clutter.

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      3. Let in the Natural Light

      SONY DSC
        (Photo by romana klee)

        Dark spaces feel small and dingy, while light spaces feel open and airy. Wherever there are windows, make sure you’re maximizing the natural light they provide. While it may be necessary to have blinds or curtains to ensure privacy, make sure you choose the right ones. White curtains are great because they can give you privacy without blocking out light. If using blinds, angle them in such a way that they still let in light without giving others a view into your living space.

        4. Be Strategic with Furniture

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          (Photo by Bonsoni.com)

          You need to make the most out of the furniture you purchase. For example, buy a coffee table that doubles as a storage unit, or purchase a sleeper sofa so you can give guests a place to sleep, even if there’s no guest bedroom. Find as many uses as possible for your furniture and design elements. The versatility won’t make rooms bigger, but it will make them more functional.

          5. Get Rid of the Junk

          851672959_6fc621ed25_o
            (Photo by Avi)

            There’s nothing cozy or functional about having lots of stuff. One of the beauties of living in a small apartment or home is that you’re forced to get rid of things you don’t need.

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            Go through all of your belongings and ask yourself two simple questions: (1) Have I used this item in the past six months? (2) Will I use this item in the next six months? If the honest answer to both of these questions is no, then it needs to go.

            Let Your Creative Side Loose

            When you’re working within the confines of a small space, every individual element suddenly becomes more important. You can’t afford to waste any nook or cranny and you must take advantage of every opportunity to maximize functionality and aesthetic appeal.

            Use these five tips as a helpful starting point and don’t be afraid to let your creative side shine. There are no steadfast rules. When it comes to design, beauty is in the eye of the decorator.

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            Featured photo credit: Ames247 via flic.kr

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            Anna Johansson

            Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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            Last Updated on October 20, 2020

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

            You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

            We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

            The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

            Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

            1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

            Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

            For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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            • (1) Research
            • (2) Deciding the topic
            • (3) Creating the outline
            • (4) Drafting the content
            • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
            • (6) Revision
            • (7) etc.

            Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

            2. Change Your Environment

            Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

            One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

            3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

            Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

            Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

            My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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            Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

            4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

            If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

            Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

            I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

            5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

            I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

            Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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            As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

            6. Get a Buddy

            Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

            I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

            7. Tell Others About Your Goals

            This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

            For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

            8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

            What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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            9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

            If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

            Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

            10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

            Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

            Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

            11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

            At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

            Reality check:

            I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future. Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

            Bonus: Think Like a Rhino

            More Tips for Procrastinators to Start Taking Action

            Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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