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 colors make a space feel instantly cooler. The Skye throw by Serena & Lily, for example, adds a soft layer to sofas or side chairs.
Spring and summer are also excellent times to bring home a few new plants and planters. Plants add life and color 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 colors. 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 organized 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.