Small Space Lessons: Floorplan & Solutions from Liz's Light Off Lake Michigan

A wall of glass and airy arrangements help Liz's 360-square foot home feel much larger than it truly is. Gray, black, white, ivory, silver, and soft blue give a light, ethereal feeling to this teeny-tiny space, making it feel like an extension of the sky outside.

As you can see from the floorplan, Liz made several wise choices in configuring the space to her needs. For one, she was lucky enough to have two large closets, but they "dwarfed" her "already minimal wardrobe." Instead of losing space to closets that didn't suit her needs, she repurposed those areas into a work area and a vanity area, adding even more functionality to her small space.

Secondly, Liz is a master at separating her living spaces. A curtain separates the aforementioned desk area, making it possible to close it off if you want to take an "out of sight, out of mind" approach when the work is complete. Her sofa's back is turned toward the bed so that visitors' eyes are directed toward the television or Liz's amazing wall of windows.

It's the gift of a good floorplan to have a walk-in closet in a 360-square foot space, and Liz truly made the most of it by adding a table, a mirror, and a rug, transforming what could have been simple storage into what now feels like a whole other room. She's created a dressing area that even visitors could admire. Neatly folded items are easy to access but also make a lovely display. If you've got beautiful clothes, then why not make them a visual feature?

An additional hanging bar and high shelves mean that Liz is maximizing vertical storage, which is key in making a small area feel larger. In addition to adding storage capacity, tall elements raise the eye higher, giving the impression of more space.

Substituting an antique chair for a nightstand means that there's additional seating available if Liz has a number of guests over. And she was wise to realize that if you only need one nightstand, then you should only have one. Getting rid of one unnecessary piece of furniture frees up space for another, more practical storage piece, like the barrister's bookcase on the left hand side of the bed. The headboard has some depth to it, making it ideal for a bit of additional storage and for the display of personal items. Necessary objects like books and a candle are kept close at hand.

Using hooks in the entryway is a common but smart way to stay organized, but Liz added an extra punch by painting the door with chalkboard paint. To-do lists, art, and random messages add some character and functionality to this tiny entry area.

A small but simple dining table is appropriately scaled to the space, and by choosing a two-seater, Liz has ensured that there is still plenty of room to move. Simple curtains accentuate floor-to-ceiling windows, which are one of the apartment's best features. If you have one show-stopper architectural element, then by all means direct the plan of the room toward it!

Overall, the color palette is simple, minimal, and light, which also helps the space feel cohesive and expansive. In Liz's words:

The wood, steel, greys and blues help blur the lines between inside and out; I often feel like the park and lake are my own private balcony.

For more on this space, see Liz's 2011 Small Cool entry.

(Image credits: Apartment Therapy)