Recently I’ve moved into a smaller place, 21.4m² / 230ft², and have been figuring out how best to use the space. I’m also trying to make sure everything I put in it is eco-friendly.
The bed vs sofa dilemma
First I looked at L-shaped sofabeds…then click clack sofabeds…then pulldown beds…then sofabeds again… You see, it’s got to have a comfy enough filling to be a bed, yet be easy to transform on a daily basis. And if possible look stylish.
Finally I discovered the Danish Unfurl sofabed, which actually has a third “laid-back” setting.
Now I can have people round without it feeling like I’ve invited them into my bedroom – plus it frees up enough floorspace for a housewarming!
The breakfast and dining table
Enamoured though I was with vintage formica extendable tables – and nifty though Ikea’s sustainable beechwood flip-down table seemed – I eventually fell for a lovely round table and matching stools which are totally foldaway-able. Helpful again for the housewarming!
Bought second-hand on e-Bay, the set cost less than the Ikea fold-down table (which was the wrong size for my needs) and took me on a journey across the Cotswolds to pick it up!
The fact it fitted into the back of a taxi and I could carry it onto train and tube prove how compact it is… though my arms ached the next day.
There’s a built-in wardrobe in my little 1920s art deco apartment, but I brought my old vintage wardrobe because it’s very lovely. However, it may have to go to free up some space… as I’m only using the built-in wardrobe as a coat cupboard at the moment, which does feel delightfully decadent!
As everyone needs more than to eat, sleep and work, my apartment has been graced by a compact upright piano, courtesy of e-Bay. It has six octaves instead of seven, but is everything I need as a beginner (and is being tuned as I write!) Apparently it’s at least 1930s if not before.
I had bought a roll-up USB keyboard but couldn’t get it to “interface” properly with my PC, and after hearing another real piano echo through the building, resistance became futile.
The study remains my French shabby-chic style desk, with the lovely legs. It’s nestled up next to some inbuilt shelving, and may be joined by a ladder shelf, currently keeping the piano company. The study chair is co-opted by the breakfast table, it’s a nice sturdy, padded-bottomed antique chair bought for about £23 in Brighton.
The coffee table and TV
Excitingly the coffee table is being made from reclaimed pallet boards, and put onto large wheels. It will have a shelf for mags and books, and will be wipe-able. Mine’s going to be finished in white, as too many dark wood tones would cramp up the space.
My old widescreen laptop is the TV and dvd player.
The guest bed
Not to be deterred by the sofa-bed being in full-time use, guests are still welcome and have their own allocated sleeping quarters!
The tatami mats, made of rice straw and seagrass, are also the yoga area when they are guest-free.
Except there was already in situ two really, really handy rails for hanging pots etc up on. I use one for all that and the other for hanging a nice cake-based art print.
There was also a smaller rail for utensils, washing up liquid and the like.
I changed the blind to let more light in, and use a Nutribullet for all soup- smoothie- and pancake-making!
It’s a lot more compact than a traditional blender, and by the way far less washing up than a juicer.
No worktop space is taken up by a coffee machine as I prefer those hob-top espresso pots – and inherited a gleamingly stylish one not in use by the previous giftee.
The oven here is electric, so in effect I have more worktop space from that flat surface when not in use.
And lastly there’s a dear little window-sill for plant pot paraphernalia, candles and suchlike.
I was overjoyed to have a larder in a studio apartment. It’s got lots of shelves for all those ‘dry goods’, plus recipe books and the odd bottle of wine (and Guatemalan tequila). Things like a fold-up step for reaching the top kitchen cupboards and reusable shopping bags live in there too.
There is a little occasional bar below the main room window sill, as the heater’s been boxed in and a shelf runs the entire back width of the room.
The vacuum and cleaning
Again an important factor for those short on space, I was initially going to go for a steam mop or roller broom. But I was the lucky Christmas-recipient of a brilliant and powerful stand up rechargeable slim-line vacuum cleaner.
For cleaning I get all Ecover products, and the sweetest smelling environment- and animal-friendly handwash, which comes in a most pretty recyclable plastic container. Micro-fibre dusters come in handy too!