I recently moved back into Manhattan after living in Astoria, Queens for two years. I won’t say anything bad about Astoria but I will repeat what a deli owner summed the spot up with: “Astoria is worldly… but not cultured.” Now, I’m no snob- what I missed most about the city was its dirt, its soot-stained streets that looked like they’d been dipped in chocolate. Astoria was too clean, too “vanilla.” But, what I took for granted in Astoria was the fact that my two roommates and I could get an entire floor to ourselves- a front balcony, back porch, living room, dining room, and separate kitchen for $2900/month. One of my roommates and I just moved into ideal-ass UWS and while the location and it’s convenience beats out the past everyday, I was having trouble getting used to the shift in space. My bedroom is about 9 feet by 9 feet with one steel guarded window that lets in about a millionth of an inch of sunlight. But, the space is getting better every day through exhaustive research, sweat and tears. Here’s what I found on how to make a small space feel livable:
Little Furniture that’s Big Furniture
Maybe if you hit a sweet spot, you could load up your tiny space and it would feel cozy, not suffocating; but for me, that wasn’t an option. The trick is to find select larger pieces instead of piling in lots of smaller pieces that only add clutter. In my case, I situated a foyer desk I had next to my bed to double as a nightstand and work area.
Use a Peaceful Color Palette
If you’re like me, confined spaces can give you some anxiety- like you’re in Indiana Jones and the walls are caving in on you. In small bedrooms, Chicago designer Olga Ratajski recommends layering light and airy tones, which she says “provide(s) a warmth and coziness to a small bedroom space,” while still helping to “to keep the room feeling large and open.”
The Highs and Lows of Storage Space
If one room in your apartment is going to be teeny, it’s probably best that it’s your bedroom. A smaller size can help those of us who like to feel snug as a bug when settling down for sleep. However, the biggest problem I’ve faced is lack of storage space. I’ve tackled this issue by looking up and down, utilizing wall space for shelving and two under-the-bed drawers. Storage can also be a fun opportunity for visual interest; a wall of shelving can act as a design-savvy headboard and setting your bed atop a cool modular piece is both cool a.f. and can take you back to summer-camp-bunk-bed vibes.
A small space is a hard space but if it means avoiding the N/W subway lines, I’ll take it.