Small Space Lessons: Floorplan & Solutions from Joe's Own Design Decisions

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Free from the limitations of landlords or roommates, Joe's 495-square-foot condo from the 2011 Small Cool Contest is elegantly arranged with (at least) five distinct areas carved out of the small space...

Through clever furniture selection and arrangement, Joe was able to clearly delineate the kitchen, dining room, office, bedroom, and living room, even though they are all connected in the open-plan condo. The T-shape nature of the space is a lucky break, making it easier to feel like there are separate spaces than one would in a standard box-shape, but still, arrangement is key.

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Joe's office takes advantage of an easy-to-overlook wall, with airy shelves perfect for holding his computer, books, and decorative pieces. The low-profile office chair and shelves hug the wall neatly, allowing for plenty of room to walk between the living space and the bedroom.

The bedroom is clearly visible from the rest of the condo, so Joe has wisely linked it to the rest of the space via the grey and white palette. Once again, the layout is a boon, preventing him from feeling as if he was sleeping in the living room/office/dining room.

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It could have been easy for the dining room to feel less like a room and more like a table plunked down haphazardly, but Joe anchored the area with a hanging light centered over the beautiful table. The bold marble further sets the dining room apart, the grey veining ties it to the sofa, pillows, chairs, and the round shape allows for flow around the table in a way a rectangular table wouldn't.

In the living room, Joe took a design risk that really paid off by investing in a generously-sized L-shaped sofa. One might think there'd be no room for such a piece of furniture in such a small apartment, but the L does a bang-up job of setting the living room apart from the rest of the space. It also provides more seating in less space than two separate sofas would require. The bookshelf provides an additional boundary between the "rooms" and provides much-needed storage.

The kitchen, laundry room, and bathroom are set off to the side, creating a nice utilitarian command center for the home. The most visible aspect of the kitchen from the rest of the condo is the stainless steel refrigerator, which plays off the stainless details- sofa legs, dining chair legs, office chair back- elsewhere.

I'd even argue that Joe has managed to set aside a sixth space, thanks to the comfy chair near the window next to the plant- what a perfect little spot to read, talk on the phone, or stare out the sunny south-facing windows.

This condo is the epitome of "a place for everything and everything in its place", allowing room for every type of activity without requiring rearranging. As Joe put it:

Although I like and respect the idea of multi-functional space and multi-purpose furniture, I chose to create clearly defined functional areas that would not require moving things based on usage needs. (No combination dining table/desk and no murphy bed!).

(Image credits: Apartment Therapy)

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