Two years ago, I moved from Brooklyn to Iowa – from concrete to cornfields – to give my fiction writing dreams a real-world whirl. Removed from all I had known – friends, family, career – I needed my new apartment to be homey and welcoming. It’s been a true haven for me, filled with sunlight and mementos of travels and loved ones. My bookshelf in particular is chockablock with things that make me smile: books, books, books; a wood-hewn slingshot from the Dominican Republic; the turtle shell I drummed on at a Belizean percussion school; some of my African doll collection; a mini-FLOTUS figurine (Christmas prezzie from my sis) - all capped by a makarapa hat from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa (Go Indomitable Lions!).
Three of My Best Tips and Tricks for Creating a Successful Small Space::
1-Eyes on Scale: Forget “lbs.” Think square feet. I had to optimize my main living area into a library–office–parlor–dining–kitchen multi-purpose space! Through precise furniture measurements (“tetris” became a verb) and keeping down clutter, my apartment miraculously feels airy and open to me despite its Lilliputian dimensions.
2-Oddly Enough: With a rental, you learn to love that polka dot bathroom tile like a dotty old Auntie whose eccentricities, oddly enough, give her more character.Trying to marry my own aesthetic with my apartment’s existing design elements, like the unapologetically avocado kitchen range and countertops, was a challenge. I’ve since embraced my kitchenette in all its retro splendor – ha!
3-Type-A Furniture: Your furnishings should be organized, high-achieving multi-taskers. Ex: my work desk does double-duty as a culinary buffet when dinner party guests arrive, and a pretty bench in my bedroom provides seating and storage for off-season clothing.