Scripps Howard News Service
Small apartments and condominiums are becoming popular these days -- thanks in part to our sagging economy.
Small is affordable, but it can be a decorating challenge. How do you fit all your necessary furnishings into a miniscule space?
Sometimes the most challenging thing isn't the size as much as it is deciding how to arrange and organize the things you have.
Creating a living space that is comfortable, fun and maximizes the space available is the challenge.
Let's explore some possibilities and solutions:
Planning (and often a lot of it) is the most important part of decorating a small space. One idea is a hideaway bed.
Since privacy is important in a bedroom, the hideaway bed should be at least partially separated from the rest of the room.
That can be accomplished by putting it in a nook, if the architecture provides one.
Another idea is to use a folding room divider.
This is a convenient item that can be opened and put into place when the bed is in use, and tucked back against the wall with the bed isn't in use.
The bed can be either a sofa by day, or simply an added wall with drawer and shelf storage on either side of the hidden bed.
An important part of the plan is measuring everything.
You will need to measure the room and draw out a simple floor plan.
Measure the furniture you intend to put into the room, and make cutout templates so you can arrange and rearrange the little templates around the room to see what works best.
The hideaway bed must be measured before you buy it to make sure it works in the space you have available.
In some cases, floating the furniture in the center of the room creates a nice division.
It creates a space for the living area, and a space for the dining area.
If the space is really, really small, dividing the room might not work.
You can still delineate the different spaces with color.
For example, one part can be in vivid reds, while a different area can be a bright blue. Area rugs also help delineate between areas used for different purposes.
Windowsills, if deep enough, can be used as seating areas.
Closets can be used as home office. And don't be afraid to hire a professional architect or interior designer to help you with your space.
They might see possibilities that you might not have considered areas that can lend themselves to storage or reading nooks or something else creative.
Rosemary Sadez Friedmann, an interior designer in Naples, Fla., is author of "Mystery of Color." For design inquiries, write to Rosemary at DsgnQuest@aol.com.