The Challenge of Small Spaces

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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.

I recently downsized from a single family residence to a townhouse and, although it has everything I want in a home, it’s so much smaller than I realized when I purchased it!

Even though I purged a lot of belongings before moving into the townhouse, it was surprising how little room I had to work with.

For example, I had a sectional that I just loved and when measuring the new living room before moving in, I thought it would fit just fine.  Nope!  Even though it DID fit, it was just too big for the space.  So I sold it and purchased a sofa and two chairs.

Buying a smaller sectional would have been a good option but having a sofa and two chairs will make rearranging the room so much easier.  And I promise you, that furniture will be rearranged from time to time.  It’s in my DNA!

Furniture for small rooms doesn’t necessarily have to be small.  Good proportions and style are more important, in fact.

My small space doesn’t look so small, now!

So I’m on a learning curve and I’ll share my journey with everyone facing the challenge of their own small spaces.


I’ve since moved from that townhouse in Minnesota to an even smaller home in Arizona. So I’ve been able to use everything I learned when I first downsized!

First of all, I didn’t move all of the furniture I had in that townhouse. The layout of my new small home is totally different than that of the townhouse.

I decided to furnish my new abode AFTER I moved. It saved moving expenses and I used that money to buy new furniture.

Actually, a lot of it isn’t NEW new…I’m happiest when I find hidden gems at resale shops, consignment stores, and Craigslist. It’s the thrill of the hunt, I guess. I love everything I found, though, so all’s well that ends well. And everything fits!

There’s an article in the latest online edition of Apartment Therapy that I think you’ll enjoy.  It’s all about measuring properly before buying furniture.

In a nutshell, it reminds us to measure:

  • The room
  • The length, height, and depth to determine angles
  • Doorways and Stairs
  • The furniture that you’re planning to purchase

Had I measured that sectional as well as the room before I moved, I definitely wouldn’t have moved it! So this is good advice.

Your thoughts?

Have you overcome a small space decor challenge?  Please let me know what you think in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “The Challenge of Small Spaces

  1. nnamdi says:

    I guess the whole thing with space has to do with how you handle and manage the space. Just as you complained that your new home was small but you managed to create space and it does not look small to you anymore. Thank you for sharing how you made your home comfortable.

  2. Julie says:

    Hi Cheryl,

    I would have to agree. Small areas can be challenging and definitely can bring on a rather irritable mood if there is a lot of clutter surrounding yourself!


  3. K says:

    Creating the most out of a small space can be a challenge. It can be difficult to downsize. I like your site because you offer good ideas and make it sound a bit easier.

    • Cheryl Kohan says:

      Thanks much! I hope to focus on a particular issue each time I create a post and I’m happy to try to solve any small space problem that I’m presented with.

  4. Steve says:

    There are two of us sharing a small bedroom and yes, the clutter drives both of us mad… You’ve inspired me to ‘think outside of the box’… and get some of these awesome boxes! Thanks!

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