The Shoebox: How To Make Your Small Flat Feel Airy & Cool This Summer

Welcome to The Shoebox, Refinery29's small space advice column. With the help of Homepolish interior designer Ashlie Broderic, we'll tackle all your cramped living woes — from where to store your stuff to how to make 500 square feet feel as open and unique as you are.
Question: What are some ways to make small spaces feel cooler and more open in the spring and summer months?
Ashlie's Answer: To make small spaces feel cooler and more open in the spring and summer, start by switching out dark and heavy materials for lighter, airier ones. For example, replace chunky knit blankets with gauzy linen throws and put away any faux fur pillows or fuzzy sheepskins. Materials like linen, cotton, sisal, and jute in pale colours make a space feel instantly cooler. The Skye throw by Serena & Lily, for example, adds a soft layer to sofas or side chairs [unfortunately, not available in the UK - try TOAST's Elina Linen Throw instead].
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In the bedroom, make a big visual impact by changing sheets, pillows, and the duvet. Parachute makes great quality linen bedding in summery colours like bone, fog, and blush. On a budget, H&M sells linen bedding at a very good price.
Spring and summer are also excellent times to bring home a few new plants and planters. Plants add life and colour to any space, and there are so many fun planters on the market, like this tall terra cotta piece from CB2.
Finally, try switching out wall art seasonally. Invest in a few standard size frames, then purchase different art for different times of the year. For the summertime, look for prints with more white space or pastel colours. It is easy to store off-season prints rolled up in a closet. Poster Club and Wall of Art sells gorgeous art prints, which will fit into standard Ikea frames.
Question: What are some solutions for living with a pet in a small space without having their stuff (litter box, toys, food dishes, etc.) constantly underfoot — or worse, stinking up the place?
Ashlie's Answer: Setting up an organised entry space with lots of closed storage is an ideal way to keep pet accessories out of sight and neatly arranged. Ikea’s compact Mackapar system is affordable and works well in small spaces. The shallow cabinets fit into tight hallways, and have plenty of shelves for leashes and toys.
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In a very small space it is often impossible to completely hide away pet toys and accessories. Fortunately, companies like Mr. Dog produce bowls, toys, and beds for the most design conscious pet owner. I love their wooden bowl stands that add a mid-century vibe to a simple dish.
For tucking away a litter box, Way Basics designs a discrete, modern enclosure to keep kitty necessities out of sight. The IRIS Top Entry Cat Litter Box is attractive and comes in a stylish white and birch finish [available in the UK at Pet Planet].

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