Tip # 146: Pick and choose your tiny apartment advice.
There are lots of schools of thought on decorating tiny apartments.
My approach has always been to keep the place spare and spartan to maintain an illusion of space, even when there isn’t much to speak of.
And so with this in mind, I finally realized what was bugging me so much about the kids’ room progress I’ve been trying to make. In anticipation of a brother or sister getting welcomed into the space, we transitioned Faye to a twin bed a month or so ago and left her crib in the room. But with bed, crib, dresser, and assorted toy-wrangling solutions layered on top of the striped rag rug, the room lost its airyness. I originally thought there was too much furniture in the 7-foot-wide room, but I came to realize that there was too much rug.
Conventional wisdom on rugs and rooms might have me believe differently. Designers often say that rugs should take up a significant proportion of floor space and fit neatly underneath furniture. I’m considering this my fiftieth permission slip to chuck out any conventional wisdom that doesn’t fit my needs (okay, and also to remember to go with my gut). If bright and airy and functional is what you need and if a large rug is getting in the way of that, I say, get a smaller rug. Ditto decisions regarding the proportion of your dining table, or couch, or bookshelf or anything you’re trying to make work.
In this instance, switching to two smaller rugs was just the right move to open the narrow room up again and make it feel more fluid, even with the additional furniture. More than being only visually appealing, switching to two smaller rugs also had the distinct advantage of making more of the room more useable. In this case, smaller rugs created more storage. I couldn’t easily slide boxes or crates around under Faye’s bed with the rug underneath it. When I tried, the rug bubbled and folded and got messy. But without the rug under the bed or crib and with the simple addition of a few new felt chair pads on the underside of wooden boxes, the real estate under Faye’s bed increased ten-fold. Now everything can slide easily in and out and as a result, a whole lot of floorspace has opened up in other parts of the room.
So, while part of this post is about using small rugs in small spaces, and while part of it is about how adding felt pads to the bottom of your wooden crates and calling them under-the-bed storage, the real moral of the story is to find a solution that works for you; regardless of what someone in the know tells you is the right approach. When you’re figuring out how to live in a small space, it’s not just the extraneous stuff that you might consider ditching, it’s the extraneous advice. If it doesn’t work for you, throw it out.
PS. If you’re wanting to know details about our current toy storage solutions, stay tuned for tomorrow’s Baby Proof.
For the curious:
We’re selling our rag rug. If anyone’s local and has a particular hankering for a large, somewhat unconventionally sized antique rag rug, feel free to shoot me a note. It’s not perfect, but it is charming, and we’ve cleaned the heck out of it.
+ We invested in these two rugs from Brooklyn shop, Joinery. They’re about a million times lighter-weight and easier to move for vacuuming, quick washes, or rearranging should the mood strike.
+ For more rug options, head to see these just-launched beauties.