Small Space Lessons: Floorplan & Solutions from Joann’s Truly Happy Home

updated Mar 11, 2020
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Coming in at only 400 square feet, Joann’s teeny-tiny entry from the 2012 Small Cool Contest is filled with clever ideas for storage, furniture layouts, and small-space organization–not to mention that it’s also cute and colorful!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In the living room, Joann figured out how to maximize seating so that she can host a number of friends, but no one feels cramped or closed in by an overabundance of furniture. A simple, streamlined bench opposite the sofa keeps the space visually airy while offering extra seating or surface area.

By having the sofa float in the center of the room, Joann ensures that there are multiple areas to walk through and consequently increases the flow of the room. Plus, it means that the door to the utilities is easy to access when necessary, and a console table gives Joann extra storage.

Joann owns a beautiful bike, so instead of hiding it, she decided to make it a key feature of the space by hanging it on the wall.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

According to Joann, the biggest challenge of living in her small space is storage:

There is only one closet in the entire apartment. Organization was definitely key, and taking advantage of all the cabinets available in order to store everything, as well as any alternative space including under the bed!

In order to maximize her storage, she thought about the space as a whole, instead of strictly confining herself to room-by-room limits. Follow her lead, and don’t be afraid to put bedroom furniture in the living room. This dresser looks right at home, and it’s just steps from the bedroom, meaning that it’s still conveniently located.

Hang curtains tall so that, even if the space is small, the ceilings feel like they go on forever. The illusion of space is often the key to making a small space feel comfortable.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Joann cleverly used the back of her entry door as a spot for coat hooks.

Her computer serves double duty as a “TV,” where she can watch work and watch movies. By pulling a chair up, the console instantly becomes a workstation.

All her favorite books are kept close at hand, and the spine bookshelf helps hide the electrical panel (which is also visually minimized by the stenciled wall pattern).

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

In such a small space, it’s best to embrace the coziness. By sizing the bed so that it occupies the whole space, and by adding plenty of soft elements, ambient lighting, and art, Joann made this small space into a comfortable cocoon. The close quarters feel intentional instead of claustrophobic.

A skirt on the bed adds a soft, floaty look, while hiding all the items that are being stored beneath the bed.

Instead of a headboard, she opted for additional floating storage (placed out of the range where a head might smack against it!). The simple, modern lines, make it retreat into the backdrop of the wall, and the closed doors mean that no one sees the motley items inside. A floating bookshelf holds all her current library books, keeping reading close at hand and providing a handy surface for nighttime necessities, like eyeglasses or a glass of water.

For more images of Joann’s space and for more clever solutions, see her full house tour, Joann’s Creature Comforts.