Inspired Humanity

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6 Tips to Make Living in an Open Space Manageable

After Jesse


Before I moved to downtown Los Angeles, I romanticized the idea of living in an artsy loft with no walls, high ceilings, and a bohemian feel where my artistic spirit could live and create as much as she wanted.I wish I could say that was what actually happened when I moved here but the reality is that making 750 SF of space with no built in storage work with 2 people and no walls is as challenging as it sounds. I also have to say that its still a work in progress, and we are still selling and buying items that we think would make living here easier for the both of us.

With every purchase and decision we made for our home, we had to consider:

– How much space we had available
– The position of our furniture
– What can we keep? What do we need to donate/sell in order to accommodate this new item?
– How much $ we should invest in storage solutions considering we weren’t planning on living in this unit long term.
– The practicality of each piece we purchased
– And lastly, but probably the most important item of consideration for me was: “how does it look and how does it make me feel”

I like to call the two phases that our loft has evolved through, “Before Jesse”, “After Jesse”. Before Jesse moved in, the living space felt empty and felt more like a hotel than it did a home with concrete floors, a low bed, and the bold modern white sectional being the center-piece of the living room. After Jesse moved in, having to incorporate one more person’s belongings with the same amount of space was our toughest challenge.

Before Jesse

1) Vertical Storage and Baskets

We purchased our bookshelves from CB2 and we use baskets from Target as storage solutions around the home to keep things like pillows, bags, and yoga mats off the ground. We’re currently considering using a Ikea PAX system to store some of our clothes outside of the closet. Do you guys have any experience with this system? Please share with me how your experience is below in a comment.

2) Use Furniture and Rugs to Create Living Areas

There are no walls within an open space, but it’s not quite a studio either. There are no walls to differentiate your bedroom from your living room, so placement of furniture is key. There should be points when you are walking through your home where you feel like you are in the kitchen, or the living room, or your bedroom, or office.

3) Create a Clear Walking Path from One End of your Loft to the other.

You can use furniture to create the walking path but I think its a lot less aggressive if you use carpets and rugs. We purchased ours from the DTLA rug district. There are several good quality affordable rugs you can buy from sellers there. I bought mine for under $100.

4) Buy furniture that matches, Try not to Mix and Match Extremely Different Styles

When I first moved in, I had several furniture pieces that were shabby chic style that I was in love with and had held onto for several years. I ended up letting go of most of these pieces with the exception of my DIY faux Mongolian fur stool. I’m all for creating your own style by mixing pieces with colors and not buying a complete bedroom set from a discount furniture warehouse, but I think that when the style of several pieces are starkly different in a small space, it creates visual clutter. When you have only 750 square feet of living space, the less clutter there is, the better. Most of our furniture has a hint of mid century vibes. The main material and textures I chose were wood, fur, metal, and marble due to the organic feel and nature of Mid Century Modern Style.

5) Minimalism is Key

I wish I could stick to this last tip better. There are always decorations, plants, photos, candles, and trays that I see that I want to bring home. But I remind myself that less is more. For the first few weeks that I lived in this loft, I had no furniture, it was completely empty in the living room with the exception of my yoga mat. I remember that this was extremely calming for me and that I enjoyed the emptiness of the space. As I began to furnish my home, I noted how clean everything always felt because I didn’t have that many items to store or organize. I try to keep this feeling in mind when I’m fawning over a cute candle at Target or at the flea market and I try to ask myself “will this add to my space or will it take away from what is already there?”.

6) **Bonus Tip: Wireless Headphones

For you couples living in open space, it is totally possible to live harmoniously but, you really have to invest in wireless headphones. While exposed HVAC and plumbing are all the rage in interior architecture design, its terrible for accoustics and sound. Especially if one person is working in the dining area, and less than 10 feet away, the other is watching TV in the living room area.

Even with how much we have progressed from the first week of Jesse moving in when we had 2 couches and 2 queen size beds in the middle of the living room, and we couldn’t see the floor, we are still working on building a more functional living space for ourselves

Projects we are currently working on:

1) Under cabinet storage solutions
2) Bathroom Counter Storage:
This is the first place I have lived that did not have a medicine cabinet. We are looking at either purchasing a medicine cabinet or building shelves into our bathroom that
3) Incorporating more plants.

Do you guys have any tips for living in an open space or a tiny space? I would love to hear some of your ideas!

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