Moving Into a Small Space?

San Francisco Painted Ladies

San Francisco Painted Ladies

(Updated 4/27/2018)

Are you moving to a smaller home? There are a few things to consider when you are moving into a small space whether or not you’re moving from a larger home or one that’s about the same size.

And let me say that all small spaces are not alike.  There are so many variables to consider.

  • Floor plans, for example, might be about the same size but totally different in layout.
  • It makes a difference where the windows and doors are located and whether or not it’s a loft space, open concept or separate rooms.
  • Are there stairs? If there are, will you be able to move large pieces of furniture in and out of the space?

Checklist – 9 things you need to consider on your home search for a smaller space.

Are you planning to rent the property or purchase the property?

Some of the considerations will be the same but if you’re renting, these tips will make more sense. If you’re buying, they’re still important considerations but you’ll be able to be more flexible.

When you’re looking at multiple apartments or homes for the first time:

  1. Carry your Camera with you and take pictures. Photos will give you a frame of reference because – trust me…when you get home at the end of the day, you’ll need a frame of reference! It’s a big decision so you’ll need to weigh all the pros and cons of each place.

Floor Plan Sketch2. Bring a tape measure. (I always have one with me) so that you can measure each area…will your furniture fit?

3. Do a quick sketch of the floor plan.  Where are the windows and the doors?

4. If you’re renting, ask if you can paint the walls or hang wallpaper?  If you’re buying, of course, you’ll just have to decide if that’s something that will need to be done.

5. Consider storage: What size are the closets? How much storage is in the kitchen…the bathroom? Is there a cupboard for your linens? Is there a coat closet near the front door?

6. Ask these questions, too:

  • What is the countertop material…laminate or natural stone?
  • What appliances are included?
  • Is there a dishwasher?
  • Where is the laundry area…in the apartment or on another floor?
  • Are you allowed to install your own laundry appliances?  This is a consideration if you’re buying a condo, for example.swing arm lamp

7. Consider what kind of lighting you’ll need.  Is there ceiling lighting or are there wall sconces already in place? If space is going to be tight, consider purchasing wall sconces to hang in lieu of table lamps or floor lamps.

8. Check out the flooring:  Are the floors carpeted or are they hardwood or laminate…is there tile in the kitchen and bathrooms? Will you need Area Rugs ? (affiliate)

9. Check the size of your current furnishings and refer to the photos you took of each place to see if there is a good fit.  Once you decide which space is right for you, you can feel confident that you’ve made a good decision.

Honestly, I’ve experienced the remorse of moving into a smaller home thinking all of my furniture and belongings would fit and then realizing that I was totally wrong!

True story…when we moved from Pittsburgh, PA to a lake home in Minnesota we brought along a beautiful sectional that we’d purchased years ago when we lived in Kansas City (yep…I was a corporate wife and we moved several times during my husband’s career).

Anyway, I had a miserable time trying to fit that sectional in the living room of our new home. Talk about frustrating! Finally, I figured out an arrangement that worked but that’s an illustration of what can happen if you aren’t prepared.

Mercury Row Storage Bench from Wayfair

Mercury Row Storage Bench from Wayfair


For small space furnishings like storage benches which are classic multipurpose furnishings, you can’t go wrong with either Zulily or Wayfair, two hugely popular online retailers. (affiliates)

They both offer free shipping and that’s huge if you’re ordering large pieces.

I like that Wayfair has a section called Room Ideas with over 16,000 rooms you can browse for ideas! That’s an amazing feature in my book.

So this should give you some guidance when you’re considering a move.  Print this list to carry with you.

What are some of the dilemmas that you’ve faced during a move? Did you figure out a way to resolve them? Leave a comment or a question and I’ll promise to reply.

I hope you’ve found this post interesting and useful and if so, it would be grerat if you’d share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Google+.


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Small Outdoor Living Spaces

Side Yard Garden

Clever Side Yard Garden on Pinterest

One of the most clever ways to maximize living in a small space is to add outdoor living space wherever possible.  If you have a deck or patio area, you’re all set.

Decorating an outdoor living space is lots of fun and very rewarding. And it can be accomplished on any budget…small budget or “the sky’s the limit”.

This is probably not the best time of year to talk about moving outdoors but then again maybe it’s the perfect time!

I moved to my townhouse in Minnesota in February when there was snow up to my waist.  I had a tiny private patio and I couldn’t wait to sit outside on a warm summer day with a glass of wine or iced tea.

I had months to browse the internet for ideas. Pinterest is my favorite place to find unique solutions to most decor dilemmas, including outdoor living spaces.  Here are a few of my favorites!

Even the smallest deck offers additional space and can be a delightful place to relax at the end of a long day or on a summer evening.

Pretty stone patio

A pretty stone patio that’s almost maintenance free.

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A perfect small deck design on Pinterest

A cozy little deck

A cozy little deck.

Small courtyard

Small Courtyard beautifully designed.










So these are just a few suggestions to get your own creative juices flowing.

You can find small scale patio furnishings that are beautiful and reasonably priced so many places, these days.

Dot & Bo, for example, is one of my favorite sources.

Don’t be afraid to add pattern or color. Think of the space as an indoor room when you’re deciding on furnishings.

Orian Indoor Outdoor Rug

Rugs and curtains add interest and warmth and there are so many materials that are impervious to temperature and weather fluctuations.

UPDATE: It’s spring! Sort of…Well, almost…

While I lived in Minnesota spring was slow in coming. Now that I’m in Arizona, it’s awesome being able to sit out on my patio most of the year.  I will admit that it’s not so enjoyable during summer months!

But real spring weather is just around the corner.

In the meantime, if you have created a comfortable and pleasing outdoor area that suits your small space to a tee, be sure to leave a comment below and post a photo or two, as well.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, I’d love it if you’d share it.

(Updated 4/20/2018)

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How to Get More Space Without Moving

(Updated: 4/27/2018)

If moving just isn’t possible for whatever reason, you will surely find ways to get more space without moving in this wonderful slideshow from Houzz.

There may be features that you cannot change that you’ll have to live with.  For example, in the kitchen you might just have to learn to adapt to what’s there, after all.

As Cheryl Freeman, the author of the article points out:

…if you have a stove, fridge, sink and enough counter space for a chopping board and toaster, you’re doing just fine.

So, there you go.  One less stressor.

There’s a terrific book that emphasizes the importance of decluttering. The go-to reference is decluttering guru Marie Kondo. She has a multitude of fans!

Kondo’s theory is simple. She says, “Your real life begins after putting your house in order”.

Check your local library for Kondo’s book or purchase The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing at a local bookstore or online. It’s packed with sensible strategies for organizing your small space. (affiliate)

My daughter was visiting me when she spied the book on my shelves. She picked it up and loved it so much she asked if she could take it home! Of course, I let her do that.  And I promptly replaced it!

Cheryl Freedman, from Houzz, points out that in a small space, “The key is clearly defining each area so its purpose is obvious.”  Then, choose furnishings that serve that purpose and that purpose, only.  If you live alone, you don’t need a dining table that seats twelve!

picture of wall stud shelves to get more spaceSmart space planning is the most important element to achieving more space without moving.  Consider moving or removing a wall.  If you can gain more living space by removing a non-load bearing wall, by all means check out that possibility.

If you don’t want to remove the entire wall, a pony wall or half-wall would serve two purposes…it would define your space while making the space feel larger!

Another genius way to gain a bit more storage is to create shelving between the studs in a wall…a clever niche can be fancy or not depending on the need.

It would be perfect placed behind the bathroom door, for example, because that’s pretty much wasted space, anyway.  Plus, if you mounted a sliding mirror over it, you’d have hidden storage and a full length mirror!

picture of a bedroom wall niche to get more spaceHere’s a bedroom niche that’s pretty AND functional.

Check this link to DIY Network’s step-by-step instructions on how to make your own wall niche.   How To Make A Wall Niche.

Could you use a how-to book? I really like how-to books because I can easily refer to the instructions as I go along.  If I have an interruption, no worries…I can easily return to my task with the instructions right at hand.

Small Space Decorating Book


Even if you eventually have to move to a larger home, I hope this post gives you some breathing room.

I’ve been in my small home for a couple of years and I’m still tweaking the spaces now and then. My next project?  To turn my tiny utility room into a laundry center.

What projects would you most like to tackle? Have you thought of other ways to get more space without moving? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you enjoyed this post, please let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to Share, Tweet, and Pin.  Thanks!

Stay tuned!

Small Space Home Office Solutions

Location, location, location…


Whether you are self-employed, frequently work from home or are a student, finding a place to work in a small space can be tricky.

  • It needs to be easily accessible, able to contain your work or study necessities and relatively private, depending on the situation.
  • You’d also need access to an electrical outlet in order to plug in a task light and cords for computer and printer, etc.

The little office in this picture is about as simple as it gets if you happen to have a staircase niche where you are able to tuck a small desk and chair.

This would also be do-able in a small closet.  You could remove the doors…or not. Shelves above the desk could store supplies. Again, keep in mind that you’ll need access to electricity.

The photo below illustrates how to create a study or office space where there is no closet or under-the-stair niche. 

This appears to be on a bedroom or dressing room wall as evidenced by the jewelry and a mirror hanging above the desk and illustrates that an area such as this can serve double duty.  I think it would be particularly good for a student’s study spot.

wall mounted desk area

Wherever you choose to create your small space office, it’s important to keep clutter at bay.  Being organized will make working from your home office so much more pleasant and you’ll be so much more productive.

Be sure to make it a pleasing area with wall art and a plant or two.

If you have the room, put in a comfortable chair. If your work chair is a comfortable chair, all the better! I call my comfy chair my “thinking” chair.  It’s where I go to brainstorm ideas. I can have a cup of tea and just let the creativity flow naturally.  It works!

Placing a plant on your desk or in your office space brings life into the space.  Plus plants are known for increasing air quality.

plant on desk

Ideally, your desk will face the door but if it doesn’t and you have no alternative, hang a mirror over the desk.  That will serve two purposes: it will spread any natural light that you have and it will satisfy a feng shui principle for creative positive energy.

desk with mirror

When you’re looking for desks, don’t just concentrate on traditional desks.  The ideas here in this post illustrate that you can use a shelf or a small table with a stool or a chair and you’ve got that office niche.  I do like a desk that’s a multipurpose piece.

This Winsome Wood Rochester Console Table with one Drawer Shaker is a great example.

What’s great about it is that it’s truly multipurpose:

  • Place it flat against a wall to use as a desk.
  • Place one short end against the wall and it’s a perfect small dining table, too, with a chair on either side.
  • Try using it as a sofa table if the sofa is placed in the middle of the room.

So there you go…some simple but effective ways to create an office or study space in a small room.

Please let me know in the comments below how you’ve solved this dilemma.  I’d love to see a picture of your small office.

Thank you.



Review: A Bookcase for Small Spaces

Threshold Carson 5-Shelf Bookcase

Target Bookcase

Threshold Carson Bookcase

  • Website URL:
  • List Price: $119.99 plus 5% discount if you use your Red Card)
  • Dimensions: 72″ H x 30.6″ W x 13.6″ D
  • Shelf Capacity: 75 lbs. (Total Capacity: 375 lbs.)
  • Available in 5 Colors: Chestnut, Midtone Cherry, Espresso, Ebony, White
  • Care: Wipe clean with dry cloth
  • Assembly Required
  • Reviews: 4.6 Stars (See My Review Below)

I live in a townhouse about half the size of the home I sold.  I believe I’ve mentioned in a previous post, The Challenge of Small Spaces, that downsizing was a huge challenge for me.  It is still a work in progress and I’ll be documenting my journey here, as well.

But one of the rooms just off my dining area is a small sitting room or study.  I like to sit in there and read the Sunday paper and I often have my computer on the little desk that’s there (although I confess to doing most of my work at my dining table because the view from the window is pleasant).

I wanted to have bookshelves in that space but it’s small, of course, and I didn’t want to make it appear any smaller than it is. Another dilemma is that I’m partial to dark woods.  Their warmth appeals to me. But putting large dark bookcases in a small space was counterproductive.

I purchased two of these Threshold Carson Bookcases from Target and I love them!

My Review

This was packed well with the instructions right on top.  Everything was bubble wrapped and the box was lined with foam.

  • It’s easy to assemble if you follow the directions…took about an hour (per bookcase)
  • It’s sturdy
  • It has a rich, high-quality appearance.
  • It blends beautifully with my antiques as well as my more contemporary pieces.
  • It’s a very good value
  • I would definitely recommend this.

A few reviewers complained that the boxes were damaged and one or two didn’t think the quality is as good as they expected.  It’s not meant to be a high-end piece so expectations should have reflected that.

My opinion is that for the price, it’s a great value.

Please let me know if you purchase this bookcase and your thoughts on its quality and value.  My purpose is to present furniture solutions for small spaces and this qualifies as an excellent choice.


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