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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

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            Last Updated on January 25, 2021

            What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

            What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

            It’s always fun to do something new, but often we fall into the trap of spending our weekends the same way.

            If you’re stuck in the same old routine, it might be time to try something new.

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            What should I do today? No ideas?

            Everything listed here is something you can easily do no matter where you live, and even on a tight budget! Try out one of these 30 new things today, you’ll be happy you did.

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            Try Out These 30 New Things To Do Today

            1. Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much.
            2. Learn ten phrases in a new language–what about Japanese, Italian or Portuguese?
            3. Listen to a genre of music you haven’t tried before–perhaps Jazz, Punk or Blues?
            4. Have a picnic in your local park complete with a packed lunch and your animal friends.
            5. Start a daily journal to write your thoughts in.
            6. Try a new cuisine–what about French, Lebanese or Korean?
            7. Visit your local library and borrow some books for the weekend.
            8. Plant some flowers in your garden. If you don’t have one, try an indoor potted plant.
            9. Visit a local museum or art gallery and view their latest exhibition.
            10. Learn a new skill–what about sewing, gardening or cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can learn in an afternoon.
            11. Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to.
            12. Make a card for a friend and send it to them with a handwritten note.
            13. Learn how to cook a new dish for dinner. We all get tired of eating the same thing, why not try making something new?
            14. Re-read an old favorite book. Don’t leave it gathering dust on your book shelf; get it out and read it all over again.
            15. Research the culture of a different country online–what about India, Guatemala or Sweden?
            16. Go for a walk or bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
            17. Watch a classic film like Casablanca, The Godfather or The Wizard of Oz.
            18. Make a photo album of a recent holiday you took. Don’t let your memories get lost on your computer hard drive; make a special keepsake album of your trip.
            19. Visit your local farmers markets and pick out some fresh produce. Farmers markets are full of delicious fresh fruit, veggies and more. Find your local market and take a visit.
            20. Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city–it might be the seaside, mountains or another city!
            21. Check out what community events are running in your area and attend one.
            22. Make a birthday present for a friend. Handmade gifts are personal and much more special than anything you could buy from a store.
            23. Attend a play at your local theater. Support your local theater and have a fun night out at the same time.
            24. Volunteer with your local nature conservation society to plant some trees. Conservation societies are always looking for helping hands; do your bit and plant some trees.
            25. Be a tourist in your own city and visit all the popular tourist sites you’ve likely never been to (don’t forget your camera!)
            26. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently and have a good long chat.
            27. Put on your favorite song and dance your heart out. You might be surprised at how much fun you have!
            28. Invite some friends over for a BBQ. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent with good friends and good food.
            29. Try out a new form of exercise like Pilates, tennis or swimming.
            30. Organize a clothing swap with your friends. You’ll have a great time, and save some cash and the environment all at the same time!

            Now that you’ve read my list of 30 new things to try today, my question for you is, “what new things will you try today?”

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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