The commercial and residential building trend for today is more living area space and less bedroom space. When an apartment complex has to compromise - the large bedroom and its accompanying storage space will be the first to get the pink slip.
Lack of storage space is a flash from the past, when storage was not in walls or in shelving but in massive pieces of furniture each had a specific purpose and the grouping seemed to take up the whole room. As a renter - you"ll have to supply your own storage.
What"s the solution? Consider how America used to live. Small bedrooms herald back to way before the fifties, when people accumulated fewer things and consumerism was less focused on the individual and more on the common good of the family. That changed substantially after World War II and the birth of the "Me" Generation - better known as baby boomers. An exhilarated nation lavished new goods bought cheaply from around the world on its families, children and grandchildren, and consumerism has never taken a step back. No longer are we happy with one of everything (one winter coat, one TV) - now we have been enculturated to appreciate variety over value.
Increased availability and reduced prices for consumer goods has created an enthusiastic consumer for collecting small goods - clothes, trinkets, and accessories. For those who love to shop at The Gap and The Limited , and can afford to buy a whole new wardrobe every season, lack of closet space and smaller bedrooms can be a real inconvenience.
If space is a problem, look to the past on how to solve it and make it work for you in the meantime.
1. Revamp Your Wardrobe.
How did our grandmothers manage with those tiny closets and fancy carved wardrobes that we now use to hold our TV"s? The answer is simple - they had fewer clothes and they took better care of them.
Throw out anything you have not worn in over a year. Be brutal. Clothes hanging in your closet won"t give you any additional value, they just keep getting limper until you never wear them at all.
Assess what is left for wear and tear. Weed out some more. Again be brutal.
Try to make a mix and match plan with what remains. Any item that doesn"t go with at least two or three other items, you don"t need. A blouse should go with at least a skirt and a pair of pants, and perhaps, jeans. A sport coat should complement at least two different pairs of slacks. Some clothes can traverse the seasons and work layered under other things. A T-shirt can add warmth to a medium weight sweater that will get you through most cold days.
2. Buy fewer clothes and take better care of them. Any new item you buy automatically makes at least two items in your wardrobe obsolete. Don"t believe me? Do the math. You"ll likely wear a new item as often as twice in the first week you own it, then you might wear it as often as once a week or more for a few weeks more. You"ll also stop wearing items from the same "era." Why? The psychological associations are simply too strong. If you really want to buy something, look at how long the season is to wear it - 3 months to six months depending on the climate in which you live then divide the number of wearings (once a week) into that period. That is a quick way to decide if you realize that the great blouse you just found is going to cost you $30 a wearing because the seasons are about to change.
Joan Crawford was right. No more wire hangers...ever. The thin wire wears a groove into clothes and causes unsightly lumps in anything with a knitted fabric. Knits should be folded and stored. Wherever possible, get your hands on coat hangers or plastic hangers and use those for your hangables.
3. Decorate with some of your favorite wearables. Is your hat collection taking up too much room? Hang one on your bedpost, make an arrangement on the wall. Accent with bunches of upside down dried flowers. No way to keep your ties neat? Create a rack on one wall or use as a headboard. Ties can add color and style. Add to your collection with funky ties from the back of Dad"s closet or the Salvation Army.
4. Put everything on the walls that you can, including lighting. Lamps take up a lot of room on small bedside tables, room you may need for other things. Brace small shelves on the wall on either side of your bed and present your lamps like works of art. Invest in shelves that you can take down and take with you when you move. Create vignettes on the shelves that can be useful and bring color and urban wit to your bedroom - books, memorabilia. Decorate with items that are distinctively you.
One of the most charming decorative items from the past are wall shelves, brackets and sconces. If you go into new furniture stores, you will see that wall storage is making a huge comeback and at very expensive prices.
5. If your bedroom isn"t large enough to accommodate the kind of furniture you really want, paint a tromp-l"oeil version of what you want. Tromp-l"oeil is the art of painting or fabricating something so that it looks like the real thi ng. One decorating style book suggests painting a canopy on the wall and ceiling behind and above the bed to give the illusion of elegance. Rooms with small windows can be similarly fooled with paintings that feature windows and pictures of beautiful views.
6. Change the way you study, pay bills, or work at home. Move the "home office" out of the bedroom and find a convenient place in your more spacious living room area.
Psychological studies show that when you study, read or do work that requires concentration, you will perform better away from areas associated with relaxation and sleep. The reverse is true also. You will sleep better away from demanding reminders of projects due.
7. Keep it simple. A few large pieces of furniture will have more utility than scaled down versions of more items. Use one nightstand instead of two, but make it a large one. Use a large dresser that can accommodate all your foldables. Out of season items can be stored in boxes and put in the closet or under the bed.
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