In Lotta Jansdotter's tiny San Francisco apartment, one thing is obvious: Small space doesn't confine creativity -- it demands it.
Lotta, a textile and surface designer, finds unique ways to maximize the 725 square feet she shares with her husband, Nick Anderson. Here's how she does it.
When Lotta's family visits from Åland (an island between Finland and Sweden), the living room is transformed into a guest room. The futon couch unfolds into a bed, and the coffee table becomes a nightstand. Futon casters make for quick rearranging.
By day, this is a his-and-hers workspace. After five, tuck the laptops away, put the lamp on the floor, and the office becomes a dining space for casual entertaining.
For an eclectic vibe, mix contemporary and vintage chairs and tables. Secondhand stores are hideouts for furniture with character; go often to watch for new stuff. "I love shopping at the Salvation Army," Lotta says. "It's like a treasure hunt."
Eighteen horizontal inches of wall may have more storage possibilities than you think. Though this tight space between two closets might otherwise go unused, Lotta fitted it with a nice narrow bookcase, made from a CD tower with a few shelves removed.
Welcome to the love nest.
Lotta and Nick found that their full-size bed fits perfectly in their oversize storage closet (fortunately neither of them is very tall).
Avoid clutter with the "in-and-out rule": When you bring in something new, take out something old.
Take a trip down memory lane.
Lotta salvaged this piece of junior high nostalgia off the street. It stores her household supplies: light bulbs, linens, laundry detergent, towels, and the like.
Stylish accessories can live out in the open, freeing storage space. You don't keep your framed Picasso (print) in the closet, so why banish your fashionable bags there?
Hardworking walls are a must in a tiny kitchen. When counter and cabinet space is limited, install a wall rack or sturdy shelves to make the most of vertical space.
Get designer looks on the cheap.
Look fancy? This sconce "shade" is a piece of wood veneer taped to the wall. If you try this yourself, make sure the veneer does not touch the bulb, and consult your local home supply store expert for veneer recommendations (some are a fire hazard).
Carve out space to display whimsical items.
In her home, Lotta enjoys setting up impromptu compositions, much like she does when working on her textile designs. Here, an architecture-school project displays Nick's trumpet -- proof that even in a small space, there's plenty of room for fun.