Our 1910 building is in a super convenient location for us and we love the 12-foot-high ceilings — but the bathroom and kitchen are notably tight spaces. We also haven’t finished buying furniture or decorating yet, so it’s somewhat of a blank canvas.
To learn how to best utilize the space in my apartment for the sake of functionality and aesthetics, I consulted Ohio-based interior designer Lisa M. Cini, president and CEO of Mosaic Design Studio.
The stars of the living room are some pieces of vintage furniture that we stooped (got for free secondhand). I wish we could highlight them more, but our apartment doesn’t have any closets so this central area is cluttered with temporary storage solutions, like crates and Ikea bags.
Currently, we have a lot of stuff living in boxes and piles around our small vintage couch.
One of Cini’s suggestions was to purchase a true Murphy bed that converts into a couch in order to add storage and help clear up the clutter.
The outside-facing wall of the living room has two large windows with our gold bar cart between them.
But the space above the cart is pretty empty so Cini said we should optimize it by adding some shelves or other wall storage.
Between the doors to our bedrooms, we also have a wide vanity where my roommate and I like to get ready.
Cini pointed out that there’s plenty of space above the vanity where we could install racks to hold accessories like scarves, belts, and jewelry.
As a solution to our lack of closets, Cini also advised us to take advantage of under-bed spaces for storage.
“Ikea and Lowe’s have a lot of storage items, but thrift shops can also have great options,” she said. “You can repurpose it with some chalk paint to make everything match and look fresh while being hip and interesting.”
She suggested choosing functional storage containers with wheels so they can roll out easily.
Right now, my bedroom is all mattress
A nice, big bed is important to me. The downside is that my queen-sized frame takes up the majority of the room, and I have to squeeze around the door or jump over the footboard to get into bed.
For that reason, Cini suggested nixing the footboard altogether to avoid the way it awkwardly divides the room.
She said I could swap out my elaborate frame for inexpensive bed rails to hold the mattress without taking up so much space.
The room has a ton of vertical space, which has great potential but right now feels very empty. Cini’s advice is to install netting over the bed to make it feel “more purposeful and vacation-like.”
Our kitchen is pretty tiny and narrow
As is typical of many Brooklyn apartments, our kitchen is really small. Between the stove, fridge, and counter, there’s just a sliver of floor space.
Like the rest of our apartment, though, the ceilings are nice and high.
Our bathroom layout is pretty unique — it’s a long, narrow space with the tub on one end and the toilet and sink on the other.
Again, Cini suggested we add mounted wall storage to help the space feel less tight and take advantage of our high ceilings.
There’s a good deal of room between the toilet tank and the shelf several feet above it so she proposed putting another storage solution in that space to hold our hair care and hygiene products.
Currently, there’s a medicine cabinet over the bathroom sink, but it’s pretty small and honestly not in great condition. Lisa suggested swapping it out for a bigger mirror that goes all the way down to the sink faucet. Not only would a bigger mirror be great for getting ready, but also it would help expand the space.
The last suggestion Cini had for our bathroom pertained to design. As of now, there’s simple tiling that stops about halfway up the wall.
Instead, she said, we should consider installing vertical linear tile that goes from the floor to the ceiling. This can draw the eyes upward to make the room feel bigger.
Overall, I learned that vertical storage is the key to utilizing this space and clearing clutter