Small spaces have always made big demands when it comes to function and style. This will be especially true in 2021 and beyond, as the cost of real estate continues to rise across the country, living spaces get smaller (and arguably more efficient!), and lifestyle shifts are prompting us all to spend more time living, working and entertaining at home. It’s a lot of pressure, but with some thoughtful planning, even a small space can be everything you need – and more. Here are three essential areas to focus on, and some tips to help you make the most of them.
The kitchen is the hardest-working home in the room, and it’s also the one that under the greatest style scrutiny. It was to serve many functions – cooking and dining area, homework and home office space, entertaining area, storage space, and likely a number of other functions as various day-to-day needs arise. So, how do you achieve a kitchen that can do it all? Start with your work triangle. After all, cooking is the primary function of this space. If you’re renovating and repositioning elements within the space, ensure the fridge, stove and sink are within easy access of each other.
If your kitchen is also a dining space, ensure the table or breakfast bar is large enough to accommodate the number of users while allowing room to manoeuvre within the room. If you’re tight on space, consider relocating the table to a dedicated dining area. As we all know, a well-organized kitchen is a well-working kitchen. If you’re renovating or building a kitchen from scratch, invest in custom cabinets that make the most of every square inch of space. If you’re upgrading an existing kitchen, there are plenty of smart, simple storage solutions to make the space you have more work even harder for you. Think drawer organizers, a hanging pot rack, pantry sliders and corner cabinet racks that leave no wasted space.
Here’s where we get down and dirty, and if all goes according to plan, get clean again! The great news is, modern design delivers form and function, allowing you to wash, fold, iron and repair your clothing and linens in style.
Like the kitchen, a little smart storage will go a long way in the laundry room. Incorporate upper and lower cabinets to organize your detergents, sprays and softeners out of sight, yet conveniently on-hand. Add aesthetic appeal with door handles and pulls that suit the overall style of the space. If you have open shelving, organize items in stylish storage baskets as an effective and cost-efficient way to hide away your laundry-room essentials. Ensure the countertop that’s deep enough to fold and iron laundry. For added function, mount a rail to hang delicates and freshly ironed items. Laundry is a chore, no matter how you slice it, so make the space more welcoming by balancing your functional needs with your style goals. Choose a great tile that adds personality to the space, and great lighting is essential.
Last but not least (and especially given current times!) is the home office. With many workplaces transitioning to permanent or semi-permanent remote work models for their employees, our homes are now serving double duty as workspaces, too.
Ideally, you have a dedicated room (with a door) where you can focus and get down to business. But this may not be a possibility for those who call a small space “home.” Regardless of the specifics, aim to minimize opportunities for interruption and increase your productivity. Leave the television and other diversions at the door, and instead surround yourself with things that motivate you. Artwork, an inspiration board, or samples of successful past projects on display can give you that extra push to promote future greatness. If your job involves paperwork, ensure you have sufficient storage space in the form of shelves or filing cabinets. This could also be a good time to consider converting to a digital file format that eliminates the need for hard copies and the furnishings required to accommodate them.
Don’t let your small space be defined by its square footage. Even homes with limited space can live large and meet all your needs – functional and stylistic alike. Whether big or small, you’ll notice a common thread in every well-functioning home: thoughtful storage and a layout that takes into consideration your lifestyle and how you use the space. Work with a design professional to make the most of it!
Designers Eugenia Triandos and Korina Khamis, are both co-founders of Hibou Design & Co. Collectively with well over a decade of experience this Montreal-based multi-disciplinary design firm has become known and focused on creating both stylish and well-curated interiors. The firm provides complete bespoke residential design services throughout Canada & North America. Visit hiboudesignco.com for more. All photos: Hibou Design Co.