Making most of your space

  • 24.May 2012
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As our Maltese properties shrink to the smallest possible capacity, most of us eye bigger real estate in Malta with envy. Oh for such a space, oh for such a house!  But whilst living in a big house does have its tributes and repercussions, small space living is what a great majority of families have to contend with.  This for varied reasons – perhaps your budget wasn’t big enough to cater for a bigger property; perhaps you felt you didn’t need that larger apartment in Malta in the first place; perhaps you had decided to downsize but are now having misgivings about that decision; perhaps you’ve retired to a bachelor pad after returning to single status

Whatever the reason, small spaces have to be reckoned with and it does take some introspection in order to make the most of your space. Having said that however, there are several ways in which a small space can be maximised. Here’s how….

First of all – reduce the clutter! There is nothing more harmful to small space living than loads of unnecessary clutter that just sits there day after day, with nothing better to do than stare at you in the face. Sure thing – most of it can be useful. But can you be honest with yourself and find out what all that baggage is needed for before making assumptions? Tackle one room at a time, open drawers, cupboards, closets and wardrobes; clear shelves and examine each thing inside that room. Is it all useful? Is it all beautiful? Is it all required in your life today? Does it have a purpose? Have you used it in the past year, two years, three years……. 10 years? Each item will tell you its story and let you decide where it should go – bin it / donate it / keep it – according to its merits.

Once you have de-cluttered, you can look at the room with new eyes. You may find that some containing furniture is not containing so very much any more – can it be removed? If so, you may start organising what is left in the room and re-order furniture so that what stands empty can go, happily so.

Check out the window space. Is it taken over by excessive curtaining? Would you be able to utilise the space beneath the window for some shelving, perhaps to insert a chest of drawers or a roomy trunk? If you changed the curtains to less bulky ones, would you be able to change the feel of the room to give it more airspace? What about replacing the curtains with blinds?

Look at any alcoves in the room’s walls. Instead of shoving a sofa inside an alcove, perhaps you could create a bookcase or fit a ready-made one inside the space. Alcoves can be lost space or extremely useful space – depends on how you utilise them.

If this is a bedroom, check how you can re-organise utilities to increase storage options. No space for bedside tables? Buy two largish baskets and use them to hold whatever you would keep on your bedside table. Shove them under the bed when you’re out of bed. Instead of having bedside lamps, fit wall lamps. Instead of having a chandelier plus bedside lamps, have one large, long, stand-alone standing lamp that can be moved around according to need.

No space to keep your shoes and too many to keep in the usually small shoe closets you find in the stores? Create a ceiling to floor open shelving in a corner of the room. This can hold all your shoe boxes. If the boxes look too drab, cover them in sturdy and attractive wrapping paper, in colours that match your room’s scheme.

Remove bulky chairs and change to smaller ones that embrace the table the stand around, without hampering the walking space in the room. If there are only three of you at the table at dinner for instance, perhaps you can move the table to fit against a wall and leave even more mobility space available.

Keep in mind that smaller does not translate into worse. Smaller can be cuter, neater, cleaner, easier all round. It is just a matter of re-thinking your lifestyle and re-organising priorities.  Perhaps your in the transition of moving into a new Malta property or maybe your thinking about putting your property on the Malta real estate market. Nevertheless, a few tips from here and some logical manoeuvring will make your home a better living space.