Thursday, February 18, 2010

Functional Art

Last week, the New York Times ran a great article about Zach Motl's 178 square foot apartment in Brooklyn. For anyone who has lived in a large city, you know that space is both limited and extremely pricey. And because of this, it's not uncommon for someone to live in a shared space for much of their life. If you do have the option to own or rent your own space in a metropolitan area, chances are it's small (just to give you an idea of how pricey even a small space can be, a 500 square foot studio in Washington, DC averages in the 300K range).

Using limited space to the fullest potential takes good planning, creativity, and constant organization. You can tell that Motl's tiny apartment layout has been meticulously planned with a place for each of his belongings. I love how Motl uses books as a nightstand and on the open shelving above his bed. In the kitchen, the pot rack and cup hooks are all he has for kitchen storage. These carefully placed items together create a cohesive space and provide an asthetically pleaseing backdrop for his apartment. To me, the space actually looks larger than 178 square feet because of his ingenious use of the room.

The first step to make a small space both workable and attractive is to assess your needs and get a solid grasp on what you own. You may think you already know how much stuff you've got, but I guarentee that you have twice as many belongings than what you think. Then, come up with some creative ways to store your belongs.

Here are a few ideas:

- Use a bookshelf for clothing storage. The shelves are thinner and have more stacking space than dressers since they are taller. Cover the shelves with a curtain to hide your belongings. You can also use baskets on the shelves to store socks, jewelry, etc.
- Use every possible inch of space under your bed. There are plenty of options for this kind of space utilization from risers to bins.
- Like Motl, use books in unobvious ways- as a nightstand, coffee table, or tv stand.
- Hang your necklaces or ties on hooks as wall art. Check out what Lauren at Pure Style Home did in her bedroom.
- Use magnetic spice containers to store either spices, or small desk accesories like push pins and paper clips. Bed Bath and Beyond sells a set for under $20.
- Create a framed office organization board like Brooklynlimestone's. I love this idea!
Organization is also key when living in a small space like Motl's. Otherwise, there's just too much stuff in too little space. The last thing you want is to feel like the walls are closing in on you.

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