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Small Spaces, Murphy Beds, Interior Design, & More!

 
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I've got about 500 square feet to design.

Basically, I've got the kitchen, the bathroom, and a living room and bedroom built.  

I'm looking for some interior design ideas...basically to explain to someone what I want and help inject design ideas.  

No idea on how / where to start...but I'll be ready to do some adulting when I'm debt free this summer.

Look forward to planning this out and would appreciate any thoughts / feedback on how to do so.



It's rough...but each square represents approximately one square foot.  It's just a rough sketch using Excel.

I've attached the photo of the space via a link above and am trying to update the post with the photo here also.


 
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It's only 23ft by 23ft.
I like to think about it as 4 rooms each one almost 12ft by 12ft.

Maybe by interior design, You meant the color schema, maybe modern industrial look vs log cabin rustic. If so I am not too great at that, but if there is specific styles you are leaning towards, please go ahead and share.
1bdrm.png
[Thumbnail for 1bdrm.png]
 
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S Bengi wrote:It's only 23ft by 23ft.
I like to think about it as 4 rooms each one almost 12ft by 12ft.

Maybe by interior design, You meant the color schema, maybe modern industrial look vs log cabin rustic. If so I am not too great at that, but if there is specific styles you are leaning towards, please go ahead and share.



That has some wasted space, a hallway to nowhere between the bathroom and the bedroom, incorporate that space into the bathroom, so the bathroom door will be opening at the end of what is now the dead-end hallway.  Now the washer a dryer can go into the bathroom, and the area of the kitcehn with the washer/dryer can be pantry/storage
 
Sue Reeves
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And yes, if the bed is a loft bed, off the floor or a murphy bed then the bedroom area can have double duty for sewing or office or....
 
Rob Kaiser
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S Bengi wrote:It's only 23ft by 23ft.
I like to think about it as 4 rooms each one almost 12ft by 12ft.

Maybe by interior design, You meant the color schema, maybe modern industrial look vs log cabin rustic. If so I am not too great at that, but if there is specific styles you are leaning towards, please go ahead and share.



What I meant is efficient use of the space...

The layout and build of the space is complete.

Just looking to "finish" it and furnish it...but need space for yoga, movement, crafts, office, etc.

Currently doing yoga/movement in front room off videos via the television near wood stove.

 
Rob Kaiser
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Sue Reeves wrote:And yes, if the bed is a loft bed, off the floor or a murphy bed then the bedroom area can have double duty for sewing or office or....



Definitely looking at a murphy bed for space savings, possibly a loft?

A loft would give me space to pursue mushroom cultivation under my bed.  Hmm.
 
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Do you have a floor plan? Space saving stuff is always space-specific. I love space designing.

I lived in a 400 sq ft apartment for 3 years. Currently 1.5 years in a poorly laid out 600 sq foot apartment with no closet space. If you were still working on the layout of the rooms (honestly the most important thing) my suggestion would be avoiding hall space at all costs.

My ideas/tips based on my experience

1) A well organized IKEA pax closet, with drawers and hanging space. Mine is 1.5 m wide, and stores all of my copious spare bedding, linens, clothes, etc. I used one as a room divider in my last place. I fold all my things the "Kon Mari" way, because I don't mess stuff up when I take things out, and because it holds more that way.
2) Floor to ceiling type storage whenever possible. My "office" furniture is an antique china cabinet which stores all my books and knicknacks in the top glass bit, all my pens/stationary in the drawer, and my printer, spare paper, and sewing supplies in the bottom.
3) Shelves in closets - some stuff needs deep storage like sleeping bags, tents, suitcases, and hobby supplies, etc. A "regular" closet with deep, widely spaced shelves is ideal.
4) Wire close hangars hold more stuff in a small closet than plastic or wood ones.
5) My desk is also my dining table.
6) Have a defined entrance way, with space for keys/purse/bags/coat, and to take off muddy boots.
Personally, don't own a Murphy bed. I can't imagine taking the time to make my bed/take off bedding, and put it up. I do have drawers under the bed for storage.

If you are looking for appliances/kitchen cabinets, check out the dual microwave/oven combos, and induction hot plates. I rented a 300 sq ft apartment for a few months with them, and loved them. It means you get more counter space in a small space.


 
Rob Kaiser
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Catie George wrote:Do you have a floor plan?



Yep!



(edited and updated)
 
Sue Reeves
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Many years ago I lived with my husband in a very small apartment, and we wanted the very small bedroom for an office.  So, we just slept on a hide a bed ( fold out couch).   It was not difficult at all, the bottom sheet stays on the mattress, so you just scoop off the duvet and pillows, all in one, put the pillows on top of the duvet, roll it up, put it in the closet, fold the mattress frame back into the couch, put the cushions back on the couch.  Takes less time than making a conventional bed.  Very quick and easy.  It is my understanding that the Japanese traditionally had bedding that was rolled up and put away every day so that the space was used for other things.  
 
Catie George
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OK.

My number one suggestion is taking your layout, putting it on paper graph paper, and then cutting little furniture pieces to scale that you can slide and move around the space. I am an ikea junkie for small spaces as they actually have small scale furniture, so I usually start there. You can even do "I need 6' x 4' for yoga" and make a square that represents that, or other activities. Then think. Ok, I get in the house, I put down my coat - where? I put my wallet here. I step in and then ______. Or, i wake up, and I X.. Just try and visualize yourself moving through the space.

1. Where is your supplementary heat source, other than the fireplace. If you go away for a few days, your house will freeze and pipes will break. Personally, I like infloor electric heating, because it's efficient, doesn't mess up where you can put furniture, and feels marvelous on the feet. Please make sure you check the setback distances for your wood stove!
2. Can you move your doors as shown in red? It would give more space/more efficient use of space
3. Where do you store: off season clothes, tools, pantry goods, linens, toilet paper?
3. Do you have a computer/printer - where do you store electronics stuff?
4. Current TV location is hard to see from any potential sofa locations. If you put it over the moveable table shown, you could also theoretically use it as a giant monitor. Also, the heat from a woodstove can cause a TV to die prematurely (ask me how I know lol). You can store spare chairs in that large closet thing shown
5. Where do you store your vacuum cleaner, broom, cleaning supplies? If you get a tankless/on demand hot water heater, you have room for a cleaning closet in that area.
6. I only see 2 windows - could you add more?
7. If the front door can be lined up with the bedroom door + bedroom window, you can create a cross breeze for cooling in the summer.
8. Where is your cooking surface? If you move the sink + a window over the sink to across from the window by the fireplace, then another cross breeze. If you add another window across from bathroom door + bathroom window that I drew, you can have another cross breeze.
9. Where's your electrical panel?


More ideas:

- All my side tables have drawers for storage. At this point, i actually have too many drawers. It's awesome.
- Kitchen cabinet uppers or shelves above the sofa for infrequently used items
- Personally, if your ceilings are high enough, i'd go with a loft bed over a murphy bed. There are some great examples online of loft beds being used as closets and storage areas.

Here's my 15 min sketch - I'm 100% sure it could be improved. Blue squares are suggested additional windows, grey squares are storage unit thingies, red lines are doors.
layout.png
[Thumbnail for layout.png]
 
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I would spend a bunch of time on google images using words like, "small house interiors", "space saving ideas", "storage ideas" etc. Interior views of all the home-built trailer homes will give you some idea of what appeals to you. In a small space, built-in drawers for the bedroom may be more efficient. Sometimes, putting a bunch of stuff on wheels (good heavy duty ones even if that looks a bit industrial is worth the cost if you're willing to go to that style) will really help you reconfigure the open area quickly if you need to.

An example of that is: I have a small rectangular dining room table that will barely fit 6 (5 is better). I have a round kitchen table with two fold down sides which matches the dining room. For a bigger crowd, we move it into the living room, put one leaf down and put it against the dining table to get a "keyhole shaped" table that will sit 8 comfortably and 9 still OK. But if it's a big crowd, we move the kitchen table in but leave it separate and seat 9 comfortably, or up to 12 being a little cozy.

So the key is flexibility of both space *and* what's in that space and where you're going to store stuff when not in use. The key to keeping it looking intentional is to choose colours you like, get tones that go together (get help with this if you can't sense what clicks colour-wise or not - people who do their own weaving/sewing/quilting usually have that sense and are often happy to help because we tend to think of that as "fun"). From my experience, home-built or antique are likely to be longer-lasting and sturdier than new plastic/compressed sawdust stuff.

Beyond that, may I suggest you take some actual photographs of the space and building and post them?  
 
Rob Kaiser
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Sue Reeves wrote:Many years ago I lived with my husband in a very small apartment, and we wanted the very small bedroom for an office.  So, we just slept on a hide a bed ( fold out couch).   It was not difficult at all, the bottom sheet stays on the mattress, so you just scoop off the duvet and pillows, all in one, put the pillows on top of the duvet, roll it up, put it in the closet, fold the mattress frame back into the couch, put the cushions back on the couch.  Takes less time than making a conventional bed.  Very quick and easy.  It is my understanding that the Japanese traditionally had bedding that was rolled up and put away every day so that the space was used for other things.  



In years past, I slept japanese style for years...just that way!  It was great.

Since then, I've picked up a Casper mattress - which is why I'm entertaining the idea of a murphy bed.  :)

Didn't include any of my furniture on the floor plan though...didn't want to influence anyone's creativity!
 
Rob Kaiser
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Catie George wrote:OK.

My number one suggestion is taking your layout, putting it on paper graph paper, and then cutting little furniture pieces to scale that you can slide and move around the space. I am an ikea junkie for small spaces as they actually have small scale furniture, so I usually start there. You can even do "I need 6' x 4' for yoga" and make a square that represents that, or other activities. Then think. Ok, I get in the house, I put down my coat - where? I put my wallet here. I step in and then ______. Or, i wake up, and I X.. Just try and visualize yourself moving through the space.



Great ideas.  I just might do that...would be helpful for visualizing.

Catie George wrote:

1. Where is your supplementary heat source, other than the fireplace. If you go away for a few days, your house will freeze and pipes will break. Personally, I like infloor electric heating, because it's efficient, doesn't mess up where you can put furniture, and feels marvelous on the feet. Please make sure you check the setback distances for your wood stove!



Supplementary heat are two small radiant heaters.  Used far more than I thought since the place is so well insulated.  

Radiant heating would have been great, but costs and the time frame of the build did not allow for that unfortunately.  

Setbacks on stove are good to go and there's a heat shield behind just for good measure to be on the safe side.


Catie George wrote:

2. Can you move your doors as shown in red? It would give more space/more efficient use of space  



Unfortunately I can't move doors, they're installed.

Catie George wrote:

3. Where do you store: off season clothes, tools, pantry goods, linens, toilet paper?



Currently, everywhere and anywhere, lol.  This space in built in a 40x60 barn.  Working on shelving in barn in addition to walk in cooler and future commercial kitchen framing.

Future shelving and in storage / loft area above my "office" space is where items will be stored long term.  Pantry goods in limited cabinets I have.  

Catie George wrote:

3. Do you have a computer/printer - where do you store electronics stuff?



Computer and printer are on a temporary desk that consists of a folding table supported by two filing cabinets. All temporary.

The modem and all that jazz will be run through the ceiling and shelved above the water heater on it's own separate power strip to be turned off easily.

Catie George wrote:

4. Current TV location is hard to see from any potential sofa locations. If you put it over the moveable table shown, you could also theoretically use it as a giant monitor. Also, the heat from a woodstove can cause a TV to die prematurely (ask me how I know lol). You can store spare chairs in that large closet thing shown



Yep - TV in-wall was kind of a stupid thing to build, but man...I had it set in my mind that this was going to be awesome.  

I saw it on some house show that my mom watches.  I thought...I can build that!  We did...and while it's cool - it's not *that* cool.

The tv is never any closer than 18" from woodstove, so I'm hoping for the best and also banking on cheap electronics if need be.

Catie George wrote:

5. Where do you store your vacuum cleaner, broom, cleaning supplies? If you get a tankless/on demand hot water heater, you have room for a cleaning closet in that area.



Broom and mop are stored beside the fridge.  Vacuum in the closet.

Catie George wrote:
6. I only see 2 windows - could you add more?



I could possibly make the two windows larger, but the wall on the "kitchen" side is on the inside of the barn.  Not an option.

Catie George wrote:
7. If the front door can be lined up with the bedroom door + bedroom window, you can create a cross breeze for cooling in the summer.



Good ideas, and the cross breeze in the summer is a good idea, but also since this is on the north side of the barn and heavily shaded, it stays pretty cool as it is.

I do admittedly run an air conditioner in the hottest 2 months of the year though.  :)

Catie George wrote:
8. Where is your cooking surface? If you move the sink + a window over the sink to across from the window by the fireplace, then another cross breeze. If you add another window across from bathroom door + bathroom window that I drew, you can have another cross breeze.



Yes...a stove.  It's missing in the picture.  I'll add it and update the photo!


Catie George wrote:
9. Where's your electrical panel?



Another important piece of information!

Check the updated photo soon.  :)

Catie George wrote:
More ideas:

- All my side tables have drawers for storage. At this point, i actually have too many drawers. It's awesome.
- Kitchen cabinet uppers or shelves above the sofa for infrequently used items
- Personally, if your ceilings are high enough, i'd go with a loft bed over a murphy bed. There are some great examples online of loft beds being used as closets and storage areas.

Here's my 15 min sketch - I'm 100% sure it could be improved. Blue squares are suggested additional windows, grey squares are storage unit thingies, red lines are doors.



Definitely looking at storage in side tables and such.  

I wish I'd taken the time to build up the walls to the height of the ceiling in the barn.  

We were pressed for time, and decided to just keep it standard at 8' ceilings...which was a BIG mistake.  Lesson learned.

SO many lessons learned lately.  :/

With that said, I'm likely going to go for a murphy bed...I like these: https://resourcefurniture.com/browse-product-categories/

Thank you *so* much for your response!
 
Rob Kaiser
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For murphy beds...these look *awesome* but very spendy:  https://resourcefurniture.com/browse-product-categories/

With regard to furniture, I'm likely going to go with IKEA...specifically the IVAR series in large part.  https://www.ikea.com/us/en/cat/ivar-system-11703/

My inner permie struggles with this...but with regard to the context of this entire homestead build - entirely fitting.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Also worth noting is that this space will also serve as a "complimentary" space with the future commercial kitchen next door.  The door in the bedroom (read future office - with murphy bed) will lead to the commercial kitchen...and my "office" (read apartment) will have the required bathroom and wash facilities for the commercial kitchen.  For inspection/zoning purposes, this space is a "business office" and will sort of be designed accordingly.  The living room and kitchen will serve as a space for entertaining guests with the bedroom serving as small office and space for crafts / side hustle projects.  

Eventually, this space may be available to WWOOFERs or other tenants, but for the foreseeable future I will likely remain in this current set up.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Jay Angler wrote:I would spend a bunch of time on google images using words like, "small house interiors", "space saving ideas", "storage ideas" etc. Interior views of all the home-built trailer homes will give you some idea of what appeals to you. In a small space, built-in drawers for the bedroom may be more efficient. Sometimes, putting a bunch of stuff on wheels (good heavy duty ones even if that looks a bit industrial is worth the cost if you're willing to go to that style) will really help you reconfigure the open area quickly if you need to.

An example of that is: I have a small rectangular dining room table that will barely fit 6 (5 is better). I have a round kitchen table with two fold down sides which matches the dining room. For a bigger crowd, we move it into the living room, put one leaf down and put it against the dining table to get a "keyhole shaped" table that will sit 8 comfortably and 9 still OK. But if it's a big crowd, we move the kitchen table in but leave it separate and seat 9 comfortably, or up to 12 being a little cozy.

So the key is flexibility of both space *and* what's in that space and where you're going to store stuff when not in use. The key to keeping it looking intentional is to choose colours you like, get tones that go together (get help with this if you can't sense what clicks colour-wise or not - people who do their own weaving/sewing/quilting usually have that sense and are often happy to help because we tend to think of that as "fun"). From my experience, home-built or antique are likely to be longer-lasting and sturdier than new plastic/compressed sawdust stuff.

Beyond that, may I suggest you take some actual photographs of the space and building and post them?  



All great ideas and suggestions.  I'm currently using a small table with folding sides and storable chairs.



Luckily, much of the wall art and decoration has yet to be purchased as well...with ability to "change it out" for business purposes.

While my preference for home built and antique is strong, the modular functionality of IKEA wins this battle.  

I'll get some photos of the place as it stands sometime soon.  That would definitely help with the idea generating.  
 
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Have you purchased the appliances yet? On demand water heaters take up far less space than a conventional water heater and might free up some more storage space in the bathroom.
 
Rob Kaiser
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Robert Ray wrote:Have you purchased the appliances yet? On demand water heaters take up far less space than a conventional water heater and might free up some more storage space in the bathroom.



All purchases have been made.

We opted for a smaller conventional water heater.
 
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Rob Kaiser wrote:For murphy beds...these look *awesome* but very spendy:  https://resourcefurniture.com/browse-product-categories/.



They are gorgeous! I've been admiring them, too, wanting one so the guest bedroom can also house the sewing room. I actually asked for pricing and availability info - 3 times! - several months ago, have yet to hear back. Guess it'll just be rolling shelves in front of a homemade murphy bed here.
 
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