So you've just moved to a small space, and of course the king-sized bed and the giant sectional sofa had to go, but you're still left wondering how in the world you're going to fit all the things you need into this little bitty footprint. But it may not be as hard of a job as you think. One of the beautiful things about living in a small space is that it forces you to evaluate what you really need. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of 5 "necessities" that you may not need at all.
1. A really big trash can.
Most American households have truly enormous trash cans, and those puppies can take up a whole lot of floor space. You can save a lot of real estate in your small kitchen by swapping a larger trash can for a 1 or 2-gallon model. (To save even more floor space, consider getting a trash can that mounts inside the cabinet door.) This may force you to take out the trash a little more often, but you'll never have to worry about funky trash smells. And as an added bonus, you can use grocery sacks as trash bags, so you never have to pay for trash bags ever again.
2. A TV.
If watching TV is really important to you, this may be a non-negotiable. But if you only watch shows every now and then, you could save a lot of space by getting rid of your TV entirely and using your laptop to watch shows and movies. Not only will eliminating the TV save the space that would be taken up by a console — it also solve that pesky old 'but where does the TV go?' dilemma that every living room faces.
3. A dining table.
Think about where you eat. Are you the kind of person who carefully puts out a place setting for every meal, of do you wind up eating pretty much all of your meals on the sofa? If you fall into the second category, you might not need a dining table at all. A c-shaped side table or one of those lift-up coffee tables can serve as an impromptu dining table when you're sitting on the couch, and you can always tuck away a folding table to bring out for dinner parties (or just rent one when the occasion arises).
4. A couch.
At least to me, a couch is one of those things that really says 'home,' so it's hard to imagine an apartment without one. But I've also seen really successful spaces from our Small Cool Contest where the homeowner made do with a couple of comfy chairs (or just one comfy chair) instead. As with the other items on this list, it's really about your lifestyle: if cuddling on the couch is an important part of your weekend routine, obviously this won't work for you, but if most of your couchtime is spent curled up reading, you might be just as well served by a nice wing chair.
5. A coffee table.
Sofas and coffee tables go together like Rocky and Bullwinkle: seldom do you see one without the other. But eliminating the coffee table can go a long, long way towards opening up a living room. And if your space is really small, you may appreciate not having to worry about banging your shins on the coffee table anymore. One (or two) strategically placed side tables can take over the job of the coffee table, while taking up a lot less space.
Re-edited from a post originally published 2.21.15-NT