But House & Garden magazine's style editor Brooke Stoddard says a small space doesn't have to be a wasted space. Instead, with the right pieces, an unused small area can be turned into a functional and stylish one. Stoddard provided the following attractive solutions for the fourth part of our series, "Organize This!"
If you have a small eat-in kitchen or a small studio apartment, you may think having a dinner party is impossible because most tables take up space.
She says Ikea's Lixhult drop-leaf table can be placed up against the wall when not in use, and when it's needed for a dinner, you just extend the table. It also has a magazine shelf beneath, so you can store your favorite reads - perfect for a small apartment.
The table, when not in use, is great as a coffee table or side table. Stoddard paired the table with a set of floor cushions. She says this makes dining fun and intimate. The floor cushions are velvet, very soft and practical.
For a guest room:
If you have a small house or even a one-bedroom apartment, it may be difficult to have overnight guests. Stoddard says this year, many lifestyle and home magazines have featured a variety of ottomans that are not just for sitting, but for storage of CDs, linens, and more. Stoddard found an ottoman that pulls out into a single bed.
She says it's perfect for a small study that can be converted to a guest room or even for an overnight guest in a small apartment. Stoddard paired the bed-in-ottoman with a small cube ottoman that can be used to store linens. The cube ottoman is made of sturdy, durable tea-stained rattan woven over rattan frames. It can also function as a bedside table next to the bed/ottoman.
The Puff Padua Bed/Ottoman is available from Ka International (reference #600604), about $890, plus the cost of 6.5 yards fabric. Call 1-646-497-1670 to order.
The Hapao Cube is available from Hold Everything Cube Ottoman, for about $180. Call 1-800-421-2254 to order.
If you have limited room for bookshelves, Stoddard says a tower is great because the open sides make it visually "clean," great for a small room or study. The height also adds a stylish presence to the area.
The bookshelves are available from Spiegel. "Madison" book curio and display tower comes in white, about $60. It's made of Asian hardwood with a white finish. Simple assembly is required. Call 1-800-527-1577 to order.
There never seems to be enough cabinet space in kitchens. Stoddard suggests a Pottery Barn cabinet, which is advertised as a bar organizer, to be used to store everyday plates, linens and glasses. It's easily accessible, but also hidden away. Now your limited cabinet space can be used for bigger items such as pots and pans.
The signature bar is available at Pottery Barn, about $800. Call 1-800-922-9934 to order.
For those who lack kitchen space and don't have a dishwasher, an expandable towel rack is great for drying dishtowels after cleaning up. It mounts on the wall, pulls out to hold damp towels and can be tucked away when not in use. The towel rack is available from Stonewall Kitchen, about $170. Call 1-800-207-5267 to order.
Lots of us have large collections of CDs and DVDs. It's hard to organize them and keep them accessible, but out of sight. Many companies are creating media towers and storage units, but Stoddard says the Ballard Designs storage unit stands out from the rest. It's crafted of solid pine with six adjustable shelves, doors on opposite sides and easy-roll casters. It can hold 360 CDs, 160 DVDs, and 96 VHS tapes.
The media storage unit is available at Ballarddesigns.com, about $248.
A mirror to check how you look before you head out is great. But what's even better is a mirror that has "hidden" storage. The "hidden" mirror from Umbra is like a medicine cabinet for your entry hall or hallway. The concealed shelves hide mail, sunglasses, keys and even cash for tipping delivery people. Stoddard says the 5 3/4-inch-deep shelf is the perfect place to rest barrettes, hair bands, and that last-minute lipstick.
The mirror is available at Umbra.com, about $130. Or call 1-800-387-5122 to order.