How to Personalize a Small Space Rental

Photo by Gades Photography on Unsplash

The Challenge:

Renting rather than buying your home presents a new challenge. How do you personalize your small space while keeping within the terms of your rental agreement?

The primary challenge for living large in a small space is how to create a warm and inviting home while finding the best use for every square inch without creating clutter.

That’s quite a challenge in itself.  But it’s not impossible. It’s totally doable.

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The Challenge of Small Spaces

Small Space Challenges and How to Deal With Them

There’s an interior designer from Boston, MA named Gary McBournie and this is what he says about small spaces:

“I prefer living in a small house. It just puts its arms around you and makes you feel at home.”

That’s a lovely sentiment and it’s exactly how I feel in spite of the challenges that are part of small space living.

I do know something about the challenge of small spaces.

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Using Mirrors in Small Spaces

Using Mirrors in Small Spaces

Why You Should Use Mirrors in Small Spaces

Regardless of the size of the room, light is an important element in home decor. Light enhances the furnishings and the colors in the room. Natural light is ideal but sometimes it’s lacking in a space so including mirrors in room design is a favorite choice by many interior designers.

Mirrors and Light

Using mirrors in small spaces is an effective way to enhance the size and depth of the room by reflecting the natural light. Mirrors give the illusion of more space and add to the decor without adding clutter.

Contemporary Living Room by Sydney Interior Designers & Decorators Darren Palmer Interiors

Where to Use Mirrors to Their Best Advantage

  • If you can hang a mirror opposite a window, go for it.  It will reflect the most light.
  • Using mirrors in living and dining spaces is the first choice, if possible. For example, reflecting the table in a dining room creates the illusion of double the food. That creates a feng shui symbol that signifies wealth and abundance.
  • Reflecting a pretty outside view brings energy into the room and it’s said that prosperity is signified by a reflection of water.
  • Placing a mirror in the entryway along with a chair or bench is a long-standing tradition. If the foyer is small, a mirror gives the illusion of space plus a place to check your appearance before leaving home.
  • Never place a mirror to reflect something unappealing…you don’t want to reflect a toilet in a bathroom or the trash container in a kitchen.
  • Never put a mirror on the ceiling…that’s just not classy!

Mirror Size and Shape are Considerations

So what size should you choose?  Well, it depends…

A large, floor mirror in between two windows gives the illusion of another window. But placing a large mirror across from a living room window is also a fine idea.

A round mirror will bring relief to a room that has an abundance of sharp corners.

Contemporary Bathroom by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers William Duff Architects, Inc.

Unique Ways to Use Mirrors

Put a mirror inside a bookcase.

A mirror propped against the wall on a fireplace mantle is a clever decorating technique.

Placing a mirror inside a non-working fireplace is a wonderful way to open up and bring extra light into a small room.

Think about using mirrors as a backsplash in your kitchen. Mirrored subway tiles, for example, are very popular and add a bit of bling, as well.

Placing a large mirror at the end of a narrow hallway will make the hallway seem not so closed in.

A recent online article in House Beautiful, 10 Unique Ways to Decorate With Mirrors, suggests using mirrors outdoors on a porch wall. It will make the space feel more like a room and at night, it reflects candlelight.

Two other suggestions from the article include layering a large empty picture frame over an even larger mirror over the fireplace and using mirrored wardrobes in a dressing area or bedroom.

 Mirrored furniture should be used judiciously but that’s an option, too. Mirrored end tables or chests are good choices.

Traditional Nursery by Dallas Interior Designers & Decorators Amy Lambert Lee,/center>
So there you go… just a few suggestions for using mirrors to maximize your small space!
If you’ve already used mirrors in a unique way, I would love to include your ideas, too.   And, as always, thanks for stopping by!
Cheryl K Logo

 

 

 

 

(Updated 9/1/2018)

SOURCES: Houzz.com, House Beautiful

Best Kitchen Storage Ideas

Kitchen Storage – A Universal Dilemma

Well, if any room in the house is almost guaranteed to have a lack of storage, I’d say the kitchen wins, hands down!

There are a couple of tricks you can employ to ease the situation but first and foremost, it’s back to that pesky “purge what you don’t really need” task.

I don’t know about you, but I have to confess to having a kitchen drawer filled with odds and ends…stray cookie cutters, a knife sharpener, jar openers, the odd canape knife, twist-ties, plastic forks or knives, straws, pencils, pens, a screwdriver, odd nails & screws…you get the idea.

If you’re like me, half of the pens in that drawer don’t even work…you scribble a little on a piece of paper and if it’s not working you just toss it back in the drawer. And when was the last time you used that knife sharpener?

My point is, that drawer could be put to MUCH better use!

Vertical Storage Solutions

Another common storage problem is how to store cookie sheets, trays, cutting boards, cooling racks, etc.  I had mine in the bottom drawer of my oven but every time I needed an item, it was nerve-wracking trying to get to the one on the bottom…because what I needed always seemed to be at the bottom of the drawer. That drawer is a good place to keep lids from cooking pots or grilling tools, etc.

Here’s how I solved that problem: A vertical divider in one of my kitchen cupboards.  Now I can select just the tray or cookie sheet that I’m needing easily with no frayed nerves.  (That’s a food processor peeking out on the left side of the photo).

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My Best Kitchen Storage Solution

Kitchen dividers like this are not expensive, at all, but they’re worth their weight in gold as far as I’m concerned.  And there are dozens to choose from.

When all is said and done, it’s all about organizing…that’s how you maximize space.

Cookbooks

I’m the last person who should be talking about cookbooks.  There was a time when I had hundreds.  I’m not kidding.  I can sit down with a cookbook and read it like a novel.  I love to cook. I had a food blog so they were all necessary resources.

In this day and age, however, there is little need for cookbooks because there’s virtually no recipe that you can’t find somewhere online. There are food blogs galore and food network websites. And yet, I can definitely make a case for keeping cookbooks at home.

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My Cookbooks in the cabinet above my microwave oven

Some of my favorites I’ve had for many years and there are family favorites and recipes that I’ve tweaked so the modifications are noted on the pages.

You know that cabinet that’s above the microwave oven or over the stove or above the kitchen sink? Most of the time there’s a stove vent pipe inside or, in my case, the plug for the microwave and the outlet are inside so there’s not much room.  Well, as you can see, there was just enough room for the cookbooks I’ve decided that I can’t live without.

Pots and Pans in a Small Space

A good solution for storage of pots and pans is to hang them on pegboard mounted on a wall in your small kitchen.  An attractive and sensible idea.

pot hanging wall

Consider wall storage for cooking utensils.

kitchen wall storage

Eleven Amazing Kitchen Hacks!

This video illustrates 11 genius ideas for maximizing space in any size kitchen, but they’re particularly brilliant for small kitchens. My favorite is the cutting board storage tip.

I hope these suggestions will help you think outside of the box for small space kitchen storage solutions. Let me know if you try any of these ideas or if you’ve created a unique solution that you’d like to share.  Send pictures, if you have them.

As always, I’ll periodically update this post so stay tuned!

(Updated 10/25/2018)