Making the Most of Small City Spaces

Designing for Small SpacesRecently I had the pleasure of designing the bedroom for one hip New York City living two year old. Like most two year olds, this one has a lot of fun toys and books and very little space to store them.  In designing this room that would be cool for the little guy but useful for his parents I decided to look to areas that were being completely overlooked to maximize the use of the space. 

When you look at the before picture you can see that the window wall has two recessed areas to either side of the radiator that are noticeably dead space.  This became a place to just shove currently unused toys and never gave the items a permanent home.  With some clever searching I was able to find two bookcases that were the almost exact dimensions of the recesses to create a place that would be an organizing whiz while being decor friendly.  I picked up the bookcases from Ikea, the pair and all storage bins were less than $200.

The bookcases came with  a natural finish, but my plans called for the cabinets to be white so I grabbed some primer and white paint and went to town. Once my many coats had dried I went to assemble to bookcases and the paint started scrapping off! I quickly realized that the natural look to the bookcase was actually a matte clear coat and the paint was never going to stick.  At this point I sanded all of the painted pieces down to raw wood and then primed and painted. That proper prep worked like a charm and the paint adhered fantastically.  When you are going to refinish any piece of furniture and are unsure of the existing finish, it always better to sand the surface to get to raw material then prime and paint. These steps will ensure proper adhesion and a perfect finished piece.

In addition to adding the storage I decided to change out the window treatment.  The long black drapes were there to help darken the room for nap time but they were making the room feel very heavy and not very child like. By creating a drape that ended at the top of the radiator we immediately got rid of the heaviness from the panels hanging on either side of the radiator.  I added black out fabric to the drapes to help keep the room nice and sleep friendly as well as some decorative trimming in fun kid colors. By making small and inexpensive changes you can create more usuable space and get a room that works for your family.

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