If the only thing about Marie Kondo that sparks joy for you is not watching Marie Kondo, then this is for you.
Don’t get us wrong. Pristine pantries and furniture organized like it belongs in a library index works for some people. But many of us would rather roll around in nettles and shower in vinegar than figure out which furniture pieces to keep and which ones to sell online as pre-loved delights.
Furniture for small spaces can be especially tricky to navigate. Never mind the complexities of playing air traffic controller for feng shui energy, small spaces clutter up quickly. You buy one big piece of furniture online and the next thing you know, you’re filling in your application to appear on an episode of Hoarders.
Space is at a premium, sometimes by choice. A minimalist lifestyle is a trendy choice for the eco-conscious and the “we don’t have a choice” for millennials who have been buying too many avocados.
Back in 2019, Global News reported that the cost of housing in Canada was inspiring people to get more creative with housing, with tiny homes becoming increasingly popular.
But not all tiny spaces are idyllic and bespoke. Some principals can be universally applied – even to spaces that are slightly larger.
Tiny living spaces can be very forgiving and present a unique opportunity to embrace trends that you might have recoiled at in the past.
Don’t worry, we’re not about to go Marie Kondo on you.
Mix and match – boldly
Just because your space is limited doesn’t mean your creativity should be. We’re not suggesting decorating like your home is a Jackson Pollock painting, but the days of being perfectly matched on everything are long gone.
Stale Stepford with starched napkins has been flipped on its head. Restaurants are doing it, architects are embracing it and dining rooms around the world are loving it.
Let your pre-loved furniture live its best life by, shock horror, mismatching your dining chairs. If you spot a second-hand furniture piece online which you just have to buy, but you have no idea where to put it, your dull dining room will thank you. It’s a great way to bring in colour and texture into a constrained space.
And the chair it’s replacing? Well, maybe that chair always wanted to be a table.
Upcycle old furniture pieces to bring the outside in
If you are a DIY delinquent and the thought of reupholstering a chair fills you with panic, relax. Repurposing old furniture doesn’t always require a YouTube degree in carpentry.
Be it a second-hand table that’s falling apart or an old picture frame you forgot you owned, a small succulent garden is a perfect fit for any space. Converting an old piece of furniture will require a bit more elbow grease, but using a neglected picture frame will work equally well.
Love your lattice
Lattice room dividers are seriously underrated. They’re equally useful at separating small spaces and presenting quirky storage solution – if you don’t mind hanging your laundry in public.
This underrated centrepiece is the Madonna of lowkey storage. You can reinvent it to suit almost any style or serve any purpose.
From tucking your sunglasses over a hanger to weaving your USB chords and earphones through the holes for easy access – learn to love the lattice. And the lattice will love you back by making sure you never have to waste ten minutes looking for that thing you can never find again.
We hope Mason is filing for his royalties, because there is nothing this jar hasn’t been used for. A vase, a lunch receptacle, candle holder, spice rack organizer, cutlery holder, herb planter and whatever else you can imagine – Mason’s done it.
If you’ve already turned second-hand furniture into a growing wall garden (cough, overachiever, cough), it’s time to turn your upcycle aspirations up a notch.
Even if you haven’t reached your upcycle furniture peak yet, this nifty tutorial is a great way to add extra storage pretty much anywhere.
Empty spaces underneath shelves are woefully underappreciated. In the pantry or those floating wall shelves – you’ve got a blank space, baby, it’s time to write Mason’s name. This tutorial gives the rundown for art and crafts room, but the solution will work equally well in the kitchen.
Bonus points if you use a pre-loved piece of furniture (chairs have a lot of space underneath them) to get really creative.
Chair today, table tomorrow
Speaking of chairs, why must they live their whole lives being chairs? You can be anything you want to be and sometimes, a chair might want to be a table.
In small spaces, second-hand furniture is a great way to mix things up a little. Whether you’ve bought a statement furniture piece online or simply reusing something you’ve already got.
Best part? You don’t even have to get out the hacksaw. If you want to, don’t let us stop you, of course. Twist the back of the chair into the corner and use as an end table. Don’t worry if it feels weird at first, it’s not cluttering up the place if you intentionally identity the chair as a table.
For thrifty online furniture shoppers only just beginning their vintage journey, the chair-to-table conversion has tremendous potential. Wood or metal will work equally well, just make sure the chair surface is flat and even. You’ll thank us later when you’re not losing your coins through the slits.
Go down on it
If you could just bring your mind back to home décor for a second, we mean look underneath everything.
From the empty space underneath a desk to the crevice underneath a bed – tiny bits of storage are an easy spot if you down.
It’s not inside, it’s on top
On the flip side, unused space also rises to the occasion when you look up. A caddy over the loo, an extended shelf from floor to ceiling or a wire memo board - just thinking differently.
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