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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

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      (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

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            (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 December 2, 2019

            10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

            10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

            Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

            In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

            These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

            1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

            Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

            But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

            Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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            2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

            You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

            The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

            3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

            If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

            Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

            If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

            4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

            Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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            To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

            In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

            5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

            We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

            If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

            Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

            “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

            6. Give for the Joy of Giving

            When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

            One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

            So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

            7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

            Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

            Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

            8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

            When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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            So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

            9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

            Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

            It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

            It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

            10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

            There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

            But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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            Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

            More About Living a Fulfilling Life

            Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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