No one likes to refer to their apartment as ‘small’. We much prefer the word ‘cozy’. When you’re living by yourself, or with just one other person, you don’t need two floors with six rooms each. You wouldn’t know what to do with all that space.
That’s an overwhelming amount of space. Two or three rooms, maybe even just one room if you’ve got yourself a studio is much more manageable. I think cozy is the perfect word to describe an environment like that.
But here’s the problem: There are certain things that are just essential for your home even if you are trying to be as minimalist as possible with your furniture, you could still find yourself with quite a bit of clutter when you don’t have as much space.
You can’t reap the benefits of a cozy apartment if there’s barely room for you to move. Why not use this as an opportunity to flex your creative muscles. Here’s a few ideas for space-saving DIY furniture:
Folding Dining Table
A dining table is usually one of the larger pieces of furniture that you’ll have and they tend to take up a lot of space in smaller homes especially. You have to have a place to eat though, so this is definitely one of those essentials.
Most of us would want a table that can seat more than a few people because naturally you are going to be inviting people over. The minimum would probably be four seats, and if we want everyone to have sufficient space then that’s a pretty big table.
Even if you opt for a round table instead of a big, clunky rectangle, it’s still not going to be small. Unless of course you can fold it up. Think about it, what purpose is a dining table serving when you’re not eating?
It just stands there getting in the way. It would be great to just be able to take it out when you need it. To make a folding table from scratch might sound like a complicated process but it’s actually not that bad.
Check out this method. It’s a fairly standard woodworking project with very little intricacies or complex cuts. The main difficulty is installing the folding brackets. The end result is a table that can be compacted whenever you’re not eating.
If you want to take it a step further, you could do something like this method, which involves building a cupboard that has a table folded up inside. Significantly more complicated and difficult but and ingenious idea and highly functionable.
Extra storage space as well as a table that you don’t even see until you open it out from inside the cupboard. For dining you would probably want to go for a bigger table and a bigger cupboard than the one in the tutorial, but the idea is fantastic.
If you’re someone who likes to read, you probably don’t want to just store your books you also want to show off your books. Depending on the size of your collection, you might end up needing a huge bookshelf that’s going to take up like half a wall.
So how do you work around this? Well, one good method would be to build some corner shelves. Unless you live in a lighthouse you’re going to have no shortage of corners and it’s a great place to tuck stuff away.
There are a bunch of different ways you can build corner shelves and the vast majority of these methods are super easy and only require minimal tools and materials. And unless you’ve got an absolute abundance of books, you won’t run out of corner space.
You can control how many you put in each corner, the distance between them if you want to fit more books in one corner and how many of your corners you use. And even if you put like 6 shelves in each corner, it’s still not gonna cost you a whole lot of money.
On the subject of bookshelves, here’s something else that could potentially save you some space and some money: Check out these ideas for converting ladders into bookshelves. Not as space efficient as the corner shelves, but definitely less bulky than most of the wooden bookshelves you’d find in furniture stores.
This idea is in a similar vein to the moving folding table idea that I discussed above, in the sense that you will be basically concealing something until you need it. Building some rolling shelves that you can just slide into a gap in your kitchen, will allow your to maximise your cupboard space.
Take this idea for a rolling pantry. It’s simple enough to design, the only real difficulty here being the casters that you need to attach. Mainly it’s just wood fashioned with some easy cuts and a bit of drilling and screwdriving.
The idea behind this one is that you can just slide it in next to your fridge. This will leave all of the cabinets and cupboards already in your kitchen, free for your to fill up with pots, pans, dishes and cutlery.
You won’t need to source any extra storage space for food. And it doesn’t just have to be a rolling pantry that you make. It’s basically just shelves at the end of the day and you could make one to store clothes in your bedroom or for books in the living room.
And that’s not all you can do with casters either. If you’re living in a studio and you want to try and separate the bedroom area from the living room area, you could make some sliding room dividers.
It’s more than likely going to be a bigger tougher project, but it’s beneficial if you want to make the rooms more private and it will be a rewarding experience putting it together.
One of the problems of living in a smaller space is that there is often a lack of division between the rooms and as such, it’s difficult to get some privacy, especially if you are living with a couple of different people.
You can’t chill out and watch TV in the living room while you’re roommate and his friend are getting drunk in the kitchen if the living room and the kitchen are in the same place. Dividing that up might not be as difficult as you think though.
You can build your own partition to separate two areas, and there is actually a lot of different ways to do this. Most of which can be designed in such a way that they’re sliding and can be moved back with ease.
These can be as simple as curtains or beads, but you can also make ones that will be more effective at controlling the noise. Glass is effective, it might be difficult to build but it’s not impossible.
Your best bet is probably to make something out of wood. Similar to this one perhaps. This is a fairly simple one, it might be worth your time to work on a more complex choice that doesn’t block the light but this is a great place to start.
Tilt-Out Trash Can
This isn’t the most significant space saver that I’m going to talk about but it’s still a handy thing to have, especially if you’ve got two or three different trash cans in your home. If you’ve got one for recycling, food waste and general waste, that’s three cans taking up space.
Building a tilt-out cupboard like this one eliminates that clutter. You need counter space anyway so you can incorporate your trash into that. Build three of them, one for each and then you’ll have some extra counters.
It’s also a very minor imposition to the space when you tilt them out. You won’t have to worry about bit clunky cupboard doors opening out and being basically stuck for space in a narrower kitchen. These tilt-out cabinets are super compact.
DIY is a great hobby to have because it allows you to get creative and have something to show for it afterwards. And as you can see, you can utilize it very well in ensuring that you’re smaller apartment is as cozy a home as possible.