From Studios to Pods
Long gone are the days when people lived in large apartments or owned their own houses (with the obligatory white picket fence). Most young professionals consider themselves lucky if they have a studio all to themselves.
The most recent “trend” on the Millennial and Gen Z rental horizon are “pods” – large bunk beds with almost no personal space, that are fitted into larger rooms in shared living spaces. They make a living in expensive large cities possible, and they highlight the rising problem in available “home space.”
If you are a proud dweller of a tiny space that’s larger than a bunk bed, it’s time to decorate. Don’t think of getting the furniture as a frivolity – it’s a necessity. Well-picked furniture and storage from tested places like Retro Designs or IKEA are going to make your space more habitable, comfortable, and homey.
Here are some small apartment or studio must-haves, tested by students, singles, and couples living in small spaces all over the world:
A table is a must-have. It almost symbolizes the home in a way – this is where we enjoy meals, sit down for coffee or tea, socialize, and sit down to do work, homework, sewing, art projects or late-night conversations with a glass of wine – the table brings us together in endless ways. There are two particularly helpful table types for small spaces:
Round Table – round tables are perfect if you like entertaining in limited space. You can always squeeze one more person in, and not worry about anyone having to sit at the corner. The lack of edges makes it less cumbersome, too!
There are collapsible round tables available – where you can fold one half of it and secure it against the wall for a better fit. When you have guests, you can expand it and put it in the middle of the room.
Stackable Tables – there are a variety of tables that fold into each other, much like Russian nesting dolls. The advantage of this is that you can provide a small coffee or work table in many different places in your room or studio without multiple pieces of clutter that are very difficult to store.
This is especially good for students who have friends over to study. Study buddies can spread out and work, eat, and put their coffee in many places. When they go home, the tables can all go into one corner together, or nest below the biggest one in the space of just one table. Perfect!
Since we already mentioned stacking when describing tables, we might as well continue when describing the best chairs for a small apartment. Stackable stools are great if you want to have the option of sitting your guests, but also being able to put away unnecessary chairs when you’re not using them.
If you get stackable chairs instead of stools, it’s easy to hide them in the closet for easy storage.
Fun Furniture Fact: antiques are becoming less and less popular not because the younger generations don’t like vintage design (often, quite the opposite is true!), but because clunky, heavy wood furniture can’t keep up with the often moving, small space dwelling lifestyles. Those solid oak chairs inhabit rented storage units increasingly more than our dining rooms.
If there is anything that small apartment dwellers splurge on is this: mattresses, memory foams, pillows, duvets, down comforters, and other luxurious sleep accessories.
This is because too often, the bed is the only “sure” piece of furniture we own, that moves with us from place to place. In a way, this almost makes us like snails who carry their houses on their backs. Even after a hectic move, once we roll out the familiar bedding, we feel at home.
Memory Foam – there is nothing like a comfortable night’s sleep. Memory foam is great for our backs and joints. It’s also easy to pack and move from place to place. Packing tip – try packing your memory foam in a plastic bag and vacuum sealing it. This will prevent any dust, dirt, or weird smells from getting in, and make the foam easier to transport.
Luxury Sheets – Linen is making a comeback, not only in the fashion industry. Recently, more and more interior designers and lifestyle influencers have been swearing by it. Why? Cotton is warm and soft, but linen has the advantage of regulating temperature better. You’re less likely to get overheated in linen sheets, and they get softer with every wash.
Don’t skimp when it comes to your bed! When living in a small space, this is the one piece of luxury that you’ll always have room for.
Storage and More
Storage in small spaces sucks. Let’s face it. It’s hard to be minimalist when you don’t have a good place to store your necessities. Maybe those extra towels, rain boots, and suitcases don’t bring you joy, but you need them. Here are a few storage hacks:
Under The Bed – we all have that under control, don’t we? When living in a small space, it pays to have an extra tall bed so we can use the space underneath for storage. A word to the wise: don’t pretend that you don’t do it. Don’t pretend the nether regions of your bed are pristine and then secretly squeeze everything you can down there. Admit it’s a legitimate storage space and go all out. Get special under-the-bed storage boxes to prevent giant dust bunnies and chaos.
On The Wall – floor to ceiling bookcases isn’t only for books. Neat boxes are great for storage, especially when arranged in an orderly fashion on a bookshelf. They can even be used for things like scarves, socks, extra cables, and all the flotsam and jetsam that too often litter coffee tables, entryway cabinets, and in worse case scenarios – the floor.
Making A Home
In the end, your room or studio may be small – but it’s yours. Even if you live in a pod, there are ways to make yourself feel at home and love your personal space.
The key to everything is keeping it neat and not getting overwhelmed by the small stuff. Because, after all, it is only small stuff, isn’t it?