You Do You: How To Rearrange Your Stuff To Suit How You Really Want to Live

published Sep 1, 2016
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(Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

Did you know that in some European countries, apartments are advertised according to how many rooms they contain, but these are not specifically denoted as bedrooms, living areas, etc? I think they’ve hit on a good thing: we don’t all have the same home needs, after all. No matter the size of your home, you can think creatively about its space and not be constrained by words on a floor plan. Read on for some ideas on how to adjust your home’s available space to align with how you live in it.

The Entertainer

(Image credit: Alexis Buryk)

Say you love nothing more than cooking up a storm for your nearest and dearest, consider Wednesday a reason to celebrate, and have an open-door policy for friends. You’re going to need a home that supports that, while allowing you to maintain some peace the rest of the time.

(Image credit: One Kind Design)

Prioritize a dining table. With a lack of formal dining rooms to go around, you’ll need to get creative—you could forgo a kitchen island for a large table, or consider temporary/fold-up options for the living area. I’ve even heard of someone who runs a supper club turning her bedroom into a dining room, opting to turn her living area into a studio sleep/live place. (image via One Kind Design)

(Image credit: The Jungalow)

Consider flow. The best parties are the ones where the guests feel free to come chat in the kitchen, wander on to the balcony, and make themselves at home. Think about knocking through walls if possible, or just propping open doors if not. Even using color and music to create cohesiveness in the “public” areas of your home is a great place to start. I mean, with that backsplash and open shelving, wouldn’t you want to hang out in Justina Blakeney’s kitchen?

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

The Midnight Hustler (Or Home-Based Worker)

(Image credit: Lauren Turner)

Anyone with a side project or a flexible job knows that a home office is important, no matter how small. By creating a permanent space (ideally one that’s separate from your living areas) you can give those projects the attention they need.

(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

Carve out a separate and permanent workspace. In a smaller home, a large closet can become a fold-away desk, with storage above. In a larger one, an infrequently-used dining room becomes an office of dreams. Ask yourself what space/storage you can sacrifice to make it work.

(Image credit: Laura Hyman)

The Fashionista/Fashionisto

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

As most lovers of sartorial style will agree: there’s never enough closet space. So break out! By maximizing storage space and bringing your clothing out of the wardrobe, your home can be happier (and better dressed).

(Image credit: Eleanor Büsing)

Consider an open closet. If the closet you have just isn’t cutting it, consider ripping it out and going vertical. A double-level open closet makes great use of space, just note that light can affect delicate fabrics, so make sure you have good curtains to cut the exposure to the sun’s rays. Bonus: You’re likely to wear things more often because you can see them.

(Image credit: The Everygirl)

Bring beautiful storage out of the bedroom. A freestanding vintage armoire (or even a modern shelving unit like the one above from The Everygirl) adds extra hanging space, and looks beautiful just about anywhere. By choosing storage options that can go in the living room, office or hallway, your clothing and accessories can do double duty as art, too.

(Image credit: Rodellee Bas)

→ Need more smart solutions for storing clothing outside of a closet. Here are 6!

The Perpetual Host

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

So you live in a world-class city, and every other weekend it seems you’re playing host to friends from around the country. It can be a blessing and a curse, but being a constant host can work for both you and your guests.

(Image credit: Elle Decoration Sweden)

A comfortable (sofa) bed. Unless you have a guest room, you might have to sacrifice the sofa of your dreams for one that folds out to a bed. There are also increasingly clever (and attractive) Murphy beds on the market, such as the fold-up number in the lead image of this post. Ensure that your sofa feels like a bed by having small tables and lamps on each side, and enough empty space around it (when unfolded) for comfortable maneuvering.

→ Need some guidance on where to start your search for a comfortable (and stylish) sofa bed? Don’t miss our Annual Guide on the subject: The Top 15 Best Sleeper Sofas & Sofa Beds

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Privacy for all. If the “guest bedroom” is open to another area of your home, you might want to employ the use of a freestanding folding screen or curtain to give everyone a greater sense of seclusion. This can be pulled back, or stored flat against a wall like artwork when not in use.

(Image credit: The Everygirl)

Storage for extras. Frequent guests mean more sets of sheets, towels, plates, etc. than you might normally use. Consider a coffee table with storage (perhaps a spacious trunk like the one above from The Everygirl), or squeezing in some high-level shelving for these extra necessities.

(Image credit: Dominic Cerino IV)