Small space living on a budget

October 24, 2012
7 ideas to save space

Skyla Freeman makes the most of every inch of her bright 425-square-foot studio apartment. Here are some of the ways she keeps her stylish home organized without spending a fortune.

1. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT

There are no storage units in Freeman’s building so, as she says, “If I own it, I love it.” She advises small-space dwellers to keep only what they really like and be ruthless about the rest. She’s had good luck selling on Craigslist. To get the most for your furniture or accessories, style the piece to its best advantage before photographing it. Craigslist shoppers are sophisticated and picky. Post early Thursday morning, when people are thinking about weekend shopping.

2. Mine retail vignettes for ideas

Grab a friend and spend a morning or afternoon at a place such as Ikea. Spend time studying organizing and closet vignettes, which have clever ideas for saving space.

3. Tape it out

Don’t buy any furniture before taping out its dimensions with masking tape in the exact place you plan to put it.

4. Explore the world of apps

In a small room there is less space to make mistakes, so keep information such as measurements and paint chips with you at all times. Freeman is a huge fan of the app Evernote to store decorating information, including photos of her floor plan with room dimensions and furniture sizes. It also contains photos of her china patterns, linens and collections in case she wants to match them.

5. Stay Organized

A small space is even more reason to go digital: Instead of writing lists or cutting photos out of catalogues or magazines, pin decorating and shopping needs on a Pinterest board. Right now, Freeman’s list includes chinoiserie prints, a West Elm green throw and a sunburst mirror from Ballard Designs.

6. HAVE A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING

Out-of-place items will make your home feel cluttered and even smaller. Give all your belongings a home and keep them there. Freeman uses her grandmother’s vintage glass butter dish to corral her three remotes in the living room.

7. THE BASEBOARD RULE

Keep baseboards visible because when you can see under furniture, it draws the eye up and gives a feeling of spaciousness. Look for chests with legs and sofas without skirts to give your room a lift.

Site specifics

Here are some of Skyla Freeman’s favorite design blogs.

MIMI AND MEG

“A great source for decor and style news in the D.C. area.” The blogger does a series of interviews on the best tips and tricks for time management and work style.

Matters of Style

“Used to be a D.C.-North Carolina team; now North Carolina only. Dedicated vintage shopper with great DIY ideas.”

Gorgeous Shiny Things

“A madly talented muralist and the creator of O’verlays, decorative fretwork panels. She’s also a very inspiring DIYer.”

Sketch42

“A New York artist with a great eye for fashion and style.”

The Pink Pagoda

“She decorates and draws, one of her lovely prints is on my Pinterest shopping list.”

The Visual Vamp

“A gifted New Orleans decorator and blog friend who does Southern with a twist.”

READ MORE:

Living well in 425 square feet

PHOTOS | Decorating small spaces

PHOTOS | Furniture, accessories for a small space

Designer tips to maximize small spaces

The right tools for small space living

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