Space Planning

Space planning is really, really key when it comes to maximizing your apartment’s square footage, especially when living in a small space (mine is around 840 square feet. I’m not complaining; it really could be smaller). The point of the following ramble is to show you that you don’t need to follow “the rules” when it comes to placing the layout of your space!

  • If you entertain a lot, and don’t even own a TV, you will be devoting much more space to a dining area–possibly to seat 6-8! (Most apartments seem to be designed to seat around 4 comfortably.)
  • If you are clueless in the kitchen and eat out every meal, why bother with a dining room table? A bar stool at your counter for morning cereal and coffee might be all you need.
  • If you live alone and really, really need a dedicated office space, consider using a daybed in the living room and turning the bedroom into a mega-productive office.

Those are just a few examples I could come up with off the top of my head. Don’t let yourself be limited by where items “should” be!

A while ago, I shared the floor planย that my complex’s pamphlet assumed I would go with but just for refresher, here it is, including my notes for where I planned on placing furniture.ย Note: My unit is the reverse of this, but you get the picture.

As you can see, “they” assumed that the dining area would go right outside the kitchen. Unfortunately, for me, plunking down a table and chairs in the intended dining area would cause a major obstruction to the flow of traffic. Instead I’ve got my dresser sideboard, desk, and china cabinetย blocked in around theย perimeter,ย and the major floor space open to lead nicely into the living/dining space.

Above is a quick little floor plan I threw together on floorplanner.com to show you how things are really goin’ down around here. As you can see, the living and dining spaces are side-by-side at the back of the unit, with the “extra” area serving triple purpose of entryway, office, and storage.

Here’s a tip: Online floor planners are fabulous tools, but on many of them, if you don’t have a paid account (I don’t), you can only do one space at a time. Also, their selection for furnishings is very limited (as you can see) but overall I love these tools for doing virtual re-arrangements (so I don’t go and move around all my heavy furniture only to discover that I hate it).ย 

Here’s my fancy “flow of traffic” arrow. Isn’t it nice that there’s no real need to go around anything to get to the back of the unit–where most of the socializing and hanging out would occur anyway? this arrangement is totally my jam.

Here’s a tip to be filed in the “do as I say, not as I do” category. In order to NOT waste your time, measure stuff. See the plan above? Totally eyeballed. Since I do live in my space, I know approximately how big things are, how far away from the wall stuff is, etc. If you want to get the most benefit from your space planning, please measure your space, then measure your furniture items. Floorplanner.com (and most other online floor planners) will have an option for you to change the size of everything, down to the inch.ย 

Remember my three imagined scenarios from the beginning? Well, using much of the same furniture, I came up with alternate-reality versions of my apartment.

The entertainer who has no TV:ย the focus here is really on the dining area, which seats 8.ย 

The TV fanatic who doesn’t cook:ย movie nights will be epic with the addition of another couch, and added shelving provides storage for a huge movie collection. Note the folding table for one.

Turn the bedroom into an office: Slip the bed behind a couple of folding screens and create a “bedroom” where there was previously open space.

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Staci

Staci blogs about affordable travel at TheVoyageer.com and about interiors, life, and thoughts at MyFriendStaci.com.

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