Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Squeezing a Bed into a Studio or One-Room Apartment

Living in a smaller, one-room or studio apartment has some huge advantages.  Less space means you can live more centrally at a more affordable rate.  However, these micro-rentals can raise some big challenges when it comes time to organize your living, sleeping, and eating space.  Here are some great ways you can squeeze in and create a sleeping area within a one-room, studio apartment.

Hang some Curtains

Even if you live alone there is still something nice about separating the space in which you sleep from the space in which you live and work.  Creating a distinction between your sleeping area and the rest of your apartment vastly improves the visual flow of your space, and lets your bed remain out of sight when you have guests.  Curtains can be a wonderful and affordable way to accomplish this.  Hanging a sturdy, neutral-coloured curtain between your bed and the rest of your unit gives you privacy, and places a strong physical and psychological barrier between your sleeping area and your living area. Remember, this curtain is doubling as a retractable wall, so try to pick as sturdy a curtain and mounting system as you can, with a design that matches the rest of your décor.  The more integrated and “structural” the curtain looks, the more it will function as an actual barrier.  Another option is to go for the classic four-poster bed complete with drapes, which allows for privacy and separation when needed. 

Think Outside the Bed Box (or, Put your Bed in a Box!)

Another way to have a bed in a studio, in an unobtrusive manner, is to be a little more creative with the bed itself.  Both day beds and murphy beds allow you to tuck your bed away each day, either by sliding your bed under the couch or by folding it into the wall.  If this solution seems like too much effort, consider having a raised bed, like a high bunk without a lower berth.  A high bed raises your sleeping space above the fray of daily life, and gives you some badly needed storage or workspace at ground level, underneath the bed itself.  Another approach is to better integrate your bed into your work and living space (instead of hiding it) by boxing your bed in.  One idea is to make “walls” around your bed with bookcases.  This ensures that your bed remains somewhat out of sight, while economically making use of the barriers you block your bed in with as storage.  Or, consider building a box or container to house your bed.  By using simple building materials and a clean design, you can encase your bed in a little mini-room within your larger apartment.  Not only is this unique solution cute and trendy (its like your bed is encased in its own shoe-box diorama!) you can use the top of the box as a tidy storage zone!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Why You Need Plants in Your Apartment

Study after study shows that regular exposure to nature has tremendous benefits for both physical and mental health.  Despite this, renting in a densely populated, urban locale can make getting away from the concrete jungle downright difficult.  By keeping plants in your apartment, you can reap the rewards of being immersed in nature without leaving home.      

Hardworking Décor

Not only do plants liven up your apartment, they are hard at work while they do so!  Plants work as air purifiers cleaning your apartment of the airborne toxins found in many household objects, cleaners, solvents, and paints.  By filtering out chemicals like benzene and formaldehyde, plants keep your air clean and look great in the process.  Plants also raise the humidity levels of your apartment in the moisture they release as vapour.  This moisture can be indispensible if you have a dry upper level apartment, and it goes a long way to preventing respiratory problems, sore throats, and dry coughs.  

Health and Wellbeing

Plants are good for you, both physically and psychologically.  Plant life in your living and working space reduces blood pressure, lowers heart rates, and improves respiration.  Living with plants effectively soothes and regulates your body, by keeping your cardiovascular and respiratory systems running smoothly.  The physical wellbeing bestowed by plants also has psychological benefits.  Plants have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, and to contribute to productivity and a general sense of optimism.  One way plants accomplish this is by improving the depth and duration of your sleep.  Plants, like jasmine, aloe vera, and lavender, soothe the body, dissipate stress, and increase the quality of your sleep.  Not only do plants help prevent sickness, they assist in your recovery—studies have shown that patients surrounded by plant life or gardens recover more rapidly.

Décor you can Love (and Eat!)

Plants bring energy and colour to your apartment’s décor, and can really breathe life into the ambiance and atmosphere of your living space.  Dark corners can be reclaimed with larger-sized, planter plants, and you can brighten up and accent your window spaces with smaller potted plants, or with decorative planters containing multiple plants.  Not only do plants look good, they also give you free food!  Growing vegetables, herbs, and even fruit, in a mini-indoor kitchen garden brings vibrant colours to your space, ensures healthy eating, and lowers your grocery bill.  Tomatoes, carrots, smaller varieties of potato, avocados, herbs, and lemons, are all hearty plants ideal for small, indoor gardens. 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

How to Brighten Up Your Basement Apartment

Basement apartments might have had a bad rap in the past, but these days they are a wonderful and affordable option for people who want a little more space in a slightly more central location.  Despite this, basement apartments bring their own unique challenges, and can often appear dark and confined.  Here are some ways you can enhance and brighten up your basement apartment.

Let there be Light

Most basement apartments suffer from a simple lack of light.  You can combat this gloominess, first of all, by amplifying the light you do get.  Enhance natural light by ensuring there are no obstructions, like bushes, shrubs, or garbage bins, blocking your windows.  Continue this inside your apartment as well, by making sure your windows are free from hindrances like thick curtains or decorative objects.  In addition to maximizing your natural light, you can brighten your apartment by strategically lighting your space with lamps.  Placing high lamps in the corners of your apartment raises the eye from floor to ceiling, and ensures no precious space is lost in dark corners. 

Clean Lines and Minimal Décor

Another great way to brighten your apartment is through a de-cluttered design scheme.  While you want your apartment to feel homey and lived-in, too many furnishings can leave your space feeling cramped, crowded, and dark, so be selective in your choices.  Maintaining a simpler, more minimal look, and keeping your everyday objects tucked away in closed cupboards and closets (as best you can), does wonders to enhance and amplify space in small, confined areas.  This goes for the walls too.  If you can limit the colour of your walls to the whites, you can make your space feel roomier, warmer, and more tied together.

Plants, Mirrors, and Candles

Plants can be a lifesaver when it comes to brightening up a basement apartment; however, too many plants can have the reverse effect.  Choose a select number of striking plants and place them near your natural light to breathe new life into your apartment.  Just remember to opt for plants that do better in dimly lit, or shady environments, like bamboo.  Mirrors also do wonders to brighten up spaces.  A few nicely framed mirrors positioned opposite to your natural light source will amplify your light, give the appearance of space, and brighten your space.  Finally, instead of adorning your apartment with clunky knickknacks try decorating with sleeker candles that work to draw the eye upwards.  Candles and candleholders are an affordable way to bring light and sophistication to your space.