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Square Footage - Making the Most of Small Spaces

Updated on January 13, 2017

Extend Square Footage to Make the Most of Small Spaces

According to the U.S. Government Census Bureau, in 2010 the average single-family house completed was 2,392 square feet. In 2009, the average single-family house was 2,438 square feet.

Those "average single-family-house residents" are living in mini mansions when compared to our small spaces in Paradise. Our single-family home in Hawaii measures 640 square feet, so believe me when I say I KNOW small spaces. I can definitely tell you how to go about making the most of small spaces and how to extend square footage.

Whether it's a matter of limited quantities of land being available or the affordability of housing, or perhaps a direct result of owning too many things, space is often at a premium for many people. For anyone who may be serious about making the most of small spaces, this page has been created with you in mind.

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Bed Risers Extend Square Footage
Bed Risers Extend Square Footage

Bed Risers Produce Bountiful Square Footage

The single best space saver in our small home!

Bed risers make efficient use of square footage in the bedroom. Plus, getting in and out of a bed is so much easier for adults when the bed is elevated. In addition, bed risers are super strong. (We've been using the same set of risers for over five years and not one problem ever.)

Something to remember when purchasing bed risers....They normally are available for purchase in sets of four only, however, any bed over twin size routinely has at least one additional "leg" serving as a center support underneath. Amazon has made it convenient to get the correct number of bed risers necessary as they sell the single bed risers at a very affordable price. (as shown below)

(Photo credit Pam Irie)

Amazon Knows Bed Risers - And I do too. :)

These featured bed risers will do the job. I've also used bed risers to elevate a couch for an elderly relative. It is now so much easier for him to get on and off the couch.

KENNEDY Home Collection 5 to 6-Inch Black Bed Risers,4-pack
KENNEDY Home Collection 5 to 6-Inch Black Bed Risers,4-pack

These are the bed risers we've used for the past several years. Still going strong! :)

It's good to know also you can buy a single bed riser to go with a set of 4 because many beds over twin size have an extra "leg" support in the center of the bed frame.

 

New Longer Bed Skirt from Amazon - Cover up the Bed Risers and the Underbed Storage

Using bed risers, or bed lifts or bed elevators (whatever you wish to call them) allows for even more underbed storage which increases square footage in what would normally be considered wasted space. Unfortunately, standard bedskirts aren't long enough to cover the bed risers and the items stored under the bed. If you prefer you can make a DIY elongated Velcro bedskirt or purchase a 21" length bedskirt like the one below.

First question of this Lens......(more space-saving questions further down the page) - Would you (or do you) use bed risers in your home?

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    • MadelaineMouse profile image

      MadelaineMouse 3 years ago

      My bed is a Japanese style fuuton on the floor... so nope!

    • profile image

      MiaMusement 4 years ago

      Sure do!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      I might, it never occurred to me.

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

      Yes I have been using bed risers for years.

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I've never heard of them before but might try to get some.

    Small Space Storage
    Small Space Storage

    Magnets Make the Most of Small Spaces

    All over the house....

    Another way we maximize our square footage at home is with the use of magnets. A magnetic knife rack is convenient in our kitchen for keeping our knives in sight and, of course, well out of the reach of small children.

    In the bathroom, our nail clippers and small scissors are kept orderly with the use of magnets applied inside the medicine cabinet door.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Bedskirt Shoe Storage
    Bedskirt Shoe Storage

    Small Space Shoe Storage

    extend square footage!

    This is one of the most clever space savers I've seen in a while. This is called the Storage Dynamics Shoes Away Hidden Organizer and it's available through Amazon.

    This product provides a great way to expand square footage by storing 16 pairs of shoes and keeping them dust free, saving closet space AND storing shoes out of sight at the same time. Clever design!

    Small Space Storage
    Small Space Storage

    Savvy Storage Solution for Small Spaces

    Increase Square Footage in a Home Office

    Find an old mailbox, the type that hangs on the wall to utilize as small office storage space. Look in flea markets, at garage sales and thrift shops. Check online sites like Ebay or Etsy.

    Clean the exterior of the mailbox with mild soap and warm water. Rinse well and allow to dry. Shine with a metal polish if desired. Protect the patina for the small office storage space mailbox by spraying the exterior with a satin finish polycrylic.

    Write your last name on a piece of paper for the name slot or use the paper as a label to identify the contents. Hang the office storage mailbox on the wall. Insert letter and business size envelopes into this stylish new small office storage.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Repurposed Spice Rack
    Repurposed Spice Rack

    Repurposed Wooden Spice Racks Extend Square Footage

    Lots of possibilities for these thrift shop finds.

    Anytime I find a vintage wooden spice rack at a thrift shop or garage sale, I snap it up. They can be used is so many ways to make the most of small spaces. They can store cosmetics in a bathroom, lots of nail polish can hang on the wall in a teens bedroom.

    I have several in use currently at our home. One repurposed spice rack hangs inside a storage closet in the hallway. The shelves with their handy built-in dowel "railing", are the perfect size to store my small bottle of latex craft paint. I can take stock quickly of the stock paint I have on hand.

    Here's one thrift shop spice rack I found recently. It's just waiting for a quick coating of spray paint and I'll put it to use once again.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Amazon Gives You More Space Saving Options

    Umbra Conceal Double Wall Book Shelf, Nickel
    Umbra Conceal Double Wall Book Shelf, Nickel

    I have the single version of the Umbra Invisible book wall shelf in our guest bedroom. You can see it below in the picture. They are made of some sort of metal and are very sturdy. It truly looks like your books are floating on the wall.

     
    Source
    Bamboo Pot Rack Space Saver
    Bamboo Pot Rack Space Saver

    Bamboo Pot Rack Extends Square Footage in a Small Kitchen

    Free up valuable counter space in a small kitchen by making a trellis style pot rack of bamboo. Utilize "S" hooks to hang the pot. Perfect for the galley type cooking space.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Under Cabinet Coffee Filter Dispenser
    Under Cabinet Coffee Filter Dispenser

    Under Cabinet Coffee Filter Dispenser

    perfect for small kitchen storage

    Our tiny galley style kitchen is big on organization. It has to be......Products like this under cabinet coffee filter dispenser (pictured) and the paper plate dispenser (shown below) make the most of every inch of storage in this very small space.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Under Cabinet Storage Stretches Small Spaces

    Camco 43653 Coffee Filter Dispenser
    Camco 43653 Coffee Filter Dispenser

    I LOVE this dispenser. It was very easy for me to mount under the shelf and keeps the coffee filters close at hand.

     
    Tipsy Pot Planter Herb Garden Saves Space
    Tipsy Pot Planter Herb Garden Saves Space

    Tipsy Pot Planters Make the Most of Small Space Gardening

    Perfect for my herb garden!

    These tipsy pot planters are not only fun to look at, they are practical too. I found this idea on the internet and this picture is of my little herb garden just off our lanai.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Surfboard Racks Extend Square Footage

    Surfboard Racks Extend Square Footage
    Surfboard Racks Extend Square Footage

    My husband has been surfing the same spot on Oahu since he was 11 (over 40 years). He has lots of surfboards... different sizes, shapes, different number of skegs, etc. all for different surfing conditions.

    We have surfboards stored on the interior walls, on the exterior walls, under the lanai roof, under the house on racks too. Surfboard racks to the rescue!

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Surfboard Racks

    Surfdogz - 4 Surfboard, Steel Peg / Poly Base Wall Rack Set
    Surfdogz - 4 Surfboard, Steel Peg / Poly Base Wall Rack Set

    Sturdy, simple design holds 4 surfboards. (snowboards too!)

     
    Portable Gift Wrapping Station
    Portable Gift Wrapping Station

    Portable Gift Wrapping Station

    Convenient space saver

    I don't have space left under my bed to store wrapping paper, nor do I have an entire area I can devote to wrapping packages.

    The geniuses at Better Homes and Gardens came up with this practical, inexpensive solution. Read on to learn how to make this portable gift wrapping station. It'll be done in no time!

    Things You'll Need:

    5 gallon bucket

    1" wooden dowel (15" long)

    Small saw to cut dowel

    Bucket apron

    Drill & bit

    Gift wrapping paper, ribbons, assorted tapes, etc.

    Assemble the materials to make the portable gift wrapping station. Cut dowel to 15" length. Place the apron on the bucket, making sure to position it so the handle ends are located where the apron is sectioned.

    On each side of the bucket drill a hole large enough for your dowel to fit through. The dowel serves two purposes...it will hold your spools of ribbon and serves as a handy divider for the contents of the bucket.

    Hold the handle upright. Stick one end of the dowel through one hole to the left of the handle end. Push dowel in so it's protruding about 4" inside the bucket. Thread the ribbon spools on the open end of the dowel.

    Continue pushing the dowel into the opposite hole making sure this time the dowel is to the right of the handle end. This allows the handle to remain upright. Make sure the extended ends of dowel are the same length.

    Start filling pockets with scissors, adhesive tape, packaging tape, special pens, a 3-hole punch, shipping labels, address book, etc. Fill the pockets of the portable gift wrapping station with all the items normally used to wrap packages.

    Stand up rolls of wrapping paper on one side of the dowel inside bucket and gift bags on the other side. Store this portable gift wrapping station away in a closet until ready to use.

    Tips & Warnings

    Store small bows in a plastic cup and insert the cup into a pocket to prevent them from crushing.

    This makes an easy, handy gift for a friend or relative who could use a little help with organizing and appreciates practical gifts.

    When drilling the hole for the dowel, the idea is for the dowel to fit snugly to stay in position. Use a drill bit that is a tad smaller than the circumference of the dowel. This allows the ribbon spools to move smoothly.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Hanging Lamps Extend Square Footage
    Hanging Lamps Extend Square Footage

    Hanging Lamps Save Space

    Free up valuable space on nightstands by utilizing hanging lamps over each bedside. Swag lamps are easy to find and easy to hang.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    DIY Lampshade Extends Square Footage
    DIY Lampshade Extends Square Footage

    Extend Square Footage With a DIY Lampshade

    This DIY lampshade is a simple and inexpensive project to replicate and an innovative way to extend square footage. Thrift shops are a viable resource for lampshades. Apply latex spray paint and adhere self-adhesive cork circles to the surface and you've made a lampshade that doubles as a bulletin board.

    (Photo credit Pam Irie)

    Speaking of square footage......

    Tiny House Blog
    Tiny House Blog

    (Photo credit Tiny House Blog)

    How much square footage do you live in?

    See results

    © 2011 Pam Irie

    What is your favorite trick or product to help expand your home?

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      • MadelaineMouse profile image

        MadelaineMouse 3 years ago

        Multipurpose everything! Utensils, dutch ovens, shelving, NIC cubes, etc.

      • profile image

        MiaMusement 4 years ago

        Multi-purpose furniture, e.g., ottomans with storage, etc.

      • flinnie lm profile image

        Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

        For me it has to be shelves near the ceiling.

      • Frischy profile image

        Frischy 5 years ago from Kentucky, USA

        Came back to visit this wonderful lens to get some ideas for a project I am working on. I wish you could drop by for a cup of coffee and give me some ideas!

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        Installing shelves near the ceiling is a great way to use space.

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