by Kimberly Blackford
Apartment garage living is a great solution to many family changes. Whether you have a child home from college looking for their first job right out of school, or you have a live-in parent who requires some assistance, but can do many daily tasks unsupervised; a garage apartment may be the perfect fit for your family’s needs. But, how do you make an apartment garage feel comfortable, cozy, and functional? The last thing you want it to feel like is, well… a garage.
Special challenges need to be met that make apartment garage living different than a home. First, square footage has to be maximized to its fullest. Apartment garages are small, so every inch of the floor plan has to be accounted for when selecting and placing furniture. An oversized sofa or large L-shaped sofa may be exactly what you want, but once you get them in a small space, suddenly they may appear monstrous in size. Carefully choose the furniture pieces so that they are multi-functional as well as comfortable. Some great examples of versatile furniture pieces include a futon or sofabed that offers additional sleeping space as well as space for seating when entertaining. Or, use an ottoman to double as a stool for seating or propping your legs up after a long day, or even add a tray on top for an easy additional table that can be placed anywhere anytime. Stacking tables also offer added function by using very little space, but they can be separated to provide extra table space near seating areas. Multi-functional furniture pieces will give you added function without overcrowding the interior with too much furniture.
Another universal challenge with garage apartments is their lack of storage space. Apartment garages aren’t known for their large spacious, walk-in closets. In fact, the closets are often tiny in size. So, get creative with adding storage throughout the floor plan. Purchase adjustable rods that can be added to the closets for extra rows of hanging space. Also, install pullout rods that can quickly be pulled out in the bathroom for a handy place to hang a robe or bath towel, but don’t require a lot of wall space when not in use.
If you have a hard time finding a spot to hide larger household items like seasonal decorations, family mementos and other items you don’t have to access often, then use the space under your bed and sofa for additional storage. You can also raise your bed by using cement blocks and then use a longer bed skirt to hide the blocks. The extra height will create just a bit more storage space than usual, all while creating an elegant feel to your bedroom or sleeping area.
Other stylish ways to add storage is by finding interesting shelves that not only create additional storage, but also offer functionality. Shelves provide a nice spot for collectibles or functional items and keep the floor space open. Whether it’s a shelf with towels and pretty soaps in the bathroom, or a shelf with books and photos above the bed, it’s functional, but also provides architectural interest. Browse local flea markets; yard or estate sales for unique one-of-a-kind shelves that create a stylish focal point, while also spotlighting other items.
Accessories to Open The Space Up
Many apartment garages have open floor plans with all living spaces combining. In some ways, this is a plus because additional walls separating everything would only make the interior feel even smaller. But, with all spaces combining, sometimes in order to make sense of the space and make it function properly, some separation visually needs to occur.
Try building or buying a screen that can be opened up to provide more privacy from the bedroom to the main living space, for example. Or, remove the screen to really open up the space to the fullest. This unique addition can change your floor plan feel within a matter of minutes.
Another way to designate a space in an open room is to use rugs to visually separate the interior. Use a bold pattern, such as a striped rug to act as a partition between the living space and the bedroom and suddenly the bedroom will feel like its own special place.
And to easily open up a room, no matter what its size, mirrors will give the illusion your space is much larger than reality. Placing mirrors across from windows also offers a chance to increase the brightness of the interior during the daytime hours meaning less need for so much extra lighting, which we all know takes up precious table space.
Whatever your needs may be, an apartment garage can be a great solution by creating additional living space that is private, yet convenient to the main home. Take these inexpensive decorating tips for small spaces and use them to make a garage apartment that feels comfortable, cozy and functional all at the same time.
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