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We live in an apartment right now, and as such, our living areas are relatively small. We live in 1200 square feet, which is divided between two kids rooms, one master bedroom, two bathrooms, one laundry closet, a kitchen, a living area, and a porch. Living in a small space with three young children has definitely been an exercise in strategic space planning, getting the most out of a small room, and figuring out how to make our space both inviting and useful.
Despite our small living quarters, one of the first comments I get when people come to our home is, "It's so bright and airy in here!" While our space is undeniably small, I'm fairly adamant about a few important things that make it look clean and bright, despite our lack of storage and space to spread out. It's crazy how much the cleanliness or clutter of my home affects the cleanliness or clutter of my mind.
Here's how I make my small spaces look larger.
LET THERE BE LIGHT
As a blogger and as a photographer, it's pretty ingrained in me to look for good light. I turned away from a few apartments because there was very little natural light, which is bad for both my happiness level and my photography. One of the huge draws of our apartment is the floor-to-ceiling glass sliding door in our living room. It lets in so much light! Brighten up your space by opening windows, installing sheer window coverings, and adding lamps or LED bulbs in any dark corners. The more light in a space, the larger and more inviting it looks.
HIDE THE MESS
Basically my motto is baskets, baskets, baskets! We have a basket by the door for shoes, because four pairs of shoes in a basket (ahem, the four pairs of shoes my husband rotates between) looks so much cleaner than four pairs of shoes on the floor. We have another basket for blankets and another for toys. Taking twenty seconds to dump the toys in the basket is so worth it when the mess and clutter is gone and the space looks larger.
We even have a small tray to catch all the random cards, papers and coins that inevitably accumulate in a main living space.
A tiny room may not be the best place for a large, eclectic and busy gallery wall. Lots of colors and patterns in a small space means too many focal points for the eye to take in. The result? Your room looks smaller. We have a very simple color scheme in our living room, and we keep the patterns and decor to a minimum.
When we first moved into our apartment, it had an.... interesting..... smell (let's just leave it at that). I had never put so much thought into the smell of our home, and I'm surprised how much of a difference it makes.
I'll admit I tried a cheap off-brand $3 plug-in when we first moved. It was so sickly sweet and powerful that it combined with the smell that was already here to make me utterly nauseous. So we spent a few dollars more and tried two new Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrances by Glade®. I cannot tell you how much of a difference it has made! The weird smell is totally gone, and now our apartment smells like a high-end peaceful home.
My favorite candle is N°2 Bright™. It contains hints of sweet pea and pear, and overall is such a light, clean, fresh scent. In fact, these pictures were taken a couple weeks ago, and I've burned the candle during our waking hours almost constantly, so it's burned down quite a bit. Sam's favorite is the N°1 Enchanted™ (it has also been burned for many many hours at our house). It evokes a more complex, charming scent with notes of cedarwood (my favorite scent) and jasmine. We picked up both new candles at Fry's, our local Kroger banner store. These candles elevate our apartment by making it not only look but also feel and smell like a larger, comfortable, bright home.
When I light the candle, I remove it from this tray and put it in the middle of the raised kitchen counter. It's out of reach of children and anything flammable, and it's a great spot for the scent to reach all corners of our main living spaces.
If you can, avoid furniture that extends all the way to the floor. Bye bye, couch skirts. Our couches and entertainment set are only 6 or so inches from the ground, but any space visible underneath furniture lets more light through and makes the space appear larger.
Guess what? Anything that goes vertically up the entire wall will make your space look larger, whereas something that only takes up 2/3 of the wall will make your space look segmented and smaller. If you have curtains, hang them 2-3 inches from the top of the wall and let them fall to 2-3 inches above the floor. If you have a bookcase or built-ins, have them extend all the way up the wall instead of partially up. Floor-to-ceiling anything draws the eye upward and makes the room look larger (and more elegant too).
While we love to daydream about owning a home and spreading out someday, we have loved making this space tell our own unique story - while feeling large, inviting, and wonderfully scented at the same time.
PIN FOR LATER:
Have you tried the NEW Atmosphere Collection™ Fine Home Fragrances by Glade®?
What is your favorite thing about your main living space?