The below is an OLD POST – we’re now a family of five in 700 sq. ft.! Click HERE to see the updates. 🙂
[DEC. 2015 UPDATE I did a pretty significant re-do of my living room/ desk area/ front entryway! I strongly encourage you to CLICK HERE to see all the awesome updates 🙂 ]
In March of 2015, one the very first blogs I ever began reading and one of my most favorite blogs still, Money Saving Mom, had a blog post about living in small homes. I left a comment about my family of four living in a 650 sq. foot home. I surprisingly received a few replies (including one from Crystal, the Money Saving Mom, herself :)) stating interest in reading a post about small home ideas if I were to write one.
So here it is! Room by room, how our family makes do in our small home. I should note that 700 sq. ft. is only small to some. Those who live in large cities recognize that you can do a lot with 700 sq feet and I feel very lucky to have the home that I do.
SQUARE FOOTAGE CLARIFICATION:
Our lease states the official square footage as 633 sq. feet. But in wanting to be “official” for this blog post, I decided to break out a tape measure. The exterior dimensions, along the outside of the house, is approximately 27′ x 28′ = 756 sq feet. Next I measured each interior room of our house and the hallway: 686 sq feet. Sooo…with all this, I still have no idea how big our house really is! So I’m gonna go with ~700 sq. feet. Ha, I’m like Goldilocks. 633sq feet? Too small. 756 sq ft? Too big. 700 sq feet? JUST RIGHT. 🙂
ONE OTHER IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not Martha Stewart and in this post you will NOT find beautiful pictures with neatly organized and color-coordinated items. I do like order and organization and even color-coordinated things, but I’m also practical, and I have two young kids, and that is not my life. These pictures are my life, clutter and all. Enjoy. 🙂
FRONT ENTRYWAY (click here to see much nicer UPDATED pics!)
Front Entryway Notes & Tips:
– Oh the classic and versatile Ikea EXPEDIT shelving system! This particular 2 x 4 cube shelf has been re-purposed in many different rooms and for many different uses over the years. Note: It looks like Ikea no longer sells the famous Expedit series! According to this article they’ve made some changes and renamed the series KALLAX, though the shelves look exactly the same to me.
– I added coat hooks to both sides of the shelving unit to hold everyone’s sweaters, as well as a coat rack to the wall for scarves, hats, bags etc.
– This is the shoe rack we have: Room Essentials™ 15-Unit Organizer – Espresso. My 3.5 yr old calls it a “shoe garage”; I don’t know if she learned that at school, but it’s kind of cute. We use a plastic tub on top for kid shoes since those seem to quickly take over and are too small to keep neatly in the “shoe garage”.
Don’t forget to check out the much much nicer UPDATED pics of my Front Entryway Area!
WORK/CRAFT SPACE (click here to see much nicer UPDATED pics!)
Work/Craft Space Notes & Tips:
– This work/craft wall is the very first thing anyone sees when they walk into our house. I’d love to stay that I keep it beautifully organized and presentable, but I don’t. If anything, as the initial focal point it is correctly representative of the rest of our home: lived in and loved.
– The wall shelves are EKBY JARPEN/EKBY BJARNUM from Ikea.
– Almost all of the organizational boxes and bins are various series of Ikea products.
– I pulled together the standing desk on my own using four AVDALA bookcases and two flat countertops I found in the discounted As-Is section. They may have been LILLTRAS, but I’m not positive. A standing height desk is perfect for working with kids in a small open-living space. I’m able to sit and focus if I have awhile, stand if I only have a few minutes, and I can easily check for new emails as I walk by.
– Underneath the desk I have a hidden storage area and some shelves. It’s a mess in here, but it does house the laser printer and some other office supplies. C likes to play hide and seek behind the curtain.
– The shelves on the left of the desk are C’s “Big Girl Shelf” with toys and activities that are mainly for her and that she only gets to play when S is sleeping or otherwise occupied. Yes,
Baby Almost-Toddler(snif, snif) S does get into the shelf sometimes but nothing in there is breakable and we try to steer him away and we just clean it up he does get into it.
– The shelves on the right hold some craft stuff and other things. Yes, both my kids sometimes get into these, but it’s mostly ribbon and yarn and sometimes I let them play with it and we then clean up the mess together afterward.
Don’t forget to check out the much nicer UPDATED pics of my Work/ Craft Space!
LIVING ROOM (click here to see much nicer UPDATED pics!)
Living Room Notes & Tips:
– We used to have a coffee table, but we got rid of it. Our living room is now more open for a soon-to-be-walking baby and a preschooler to play in. The living room is the main hub of activity and the largest area of the house. We do have this pretty cool side table that we can push up to the middle of the couch if we’d like a place to set drinks/food on.
– The bookcases are from, no surprise here, Ikea. The BILLY series. The boxes on the bottom two rows contain craft and office supplies, as well as random small toys that we can hide away quickly to pick up the living room.
Don’t forget to check out the much nicer UPDATED pics of my Living Room Area!
Overall the front entryway/workspace/living room combined area is 16′ x 15′ = 240 sq. ft.
Eating Area Notes & Tips:
– The table is bar height. Ikea BJURSTA. Because typical high chairs don’t fit with bar height tables, we instead opted for the Fisher-Price Booster High Chair Seat that we could use with a bar stool chair. It’s been a perfect solution.
– Due to KP’s erratic work schedule, we unfortunately don’t have many regular family dinners together, but for those times when we do need 4 chairs, we pull the chair over from my work desk.
– The dining room table doubles as KP’s work-from-home space. There are more EKBY JARPEN/EKBY BJARNUM wall shelves for his stuff here.
– This is also our family command center with a wall calendar and bulletin board.
– You may notice our Expansion Gate “accordion-style” baby gate installed along the wall. We used this a lot when C was a baby but haven’t used it much with S. It is a super helpful gate system for small homes though! I LOVE how it folds out of the way when not in use, yet is easy to pull out for when you want to contain baby to certain parts of the house.
– The dining room area is 6.5′ x 7′ = 45.5 sq. ft.
Kitchen Notes & Tips:
– We only have one outlet in the kitchen and it’s behind the refrigerator. This makes things a bit interesting as far as kitchen appliances, but we make it work. If we need to plug in a crockpot or blender, we typically put it on top of the washing machine. Or on the floor in the dining area. Whatever works!
– After VERY careful measurements, I got this New Visions by Lane Kitchen Buffet and New Visions by Lane Hutch to fit in the space next to the fridge. This buffet/hutch combo has given us much needed kitchen space!
– Probably my most favorite space-saving item in the kitchen are these Bamboo Over the Sink/Stove Cutting Boards. They are the best things! I use them as cutting boards and as extra counter space and they just make the kitchen look nicer somehow.
– My second favorite space-saving kitchen item is my Range Kleen 2 Wall Mount Pot Rack. Not only does it look nice and keep pots, lids, measuring cups, and potholders within easy reach, but it allowed us to free up a cupboard for something else. You may notice that our cabinet/cupboard space is a bit lacking.
– Most of the other space-saving ideas in the kitchen such as the wall drying rack, the hanging spics rack and the snack shelves in the corner are of course from Ikea. (Ikea should use our house as inspiration for one of their showcase rooms in their stores. :))
– The kitchen area is 6.5′ x 11′ = 71.5 sq. ft.
LAUNDRY AREA/BACK ROOM
Laundry Area/Back Room Notes & Tips:
– When we moved into this house we brought with us a side-by-side washer dryer set. There was not room for both in this tiny space. I suppose we could have bought a stackable combo, but we never did. Currently our washer is inside and our dryer is out in the hot water shed on the side of the house.
– We have a shoe hanger to collects odds and ends, sippy cups, bottles, bibs, grill stuff, etc.
– Our tiny pantry luckily came with these very odd little shelves that are the perfect height for cans and other food items. I added some extra shelves to the door. It’s a tiny pantry, but we make it work. We also store food in the buffet/hutch.
– The laundry room area is 7′ x 4.5′ = 31.5 sq. ft.
Bathroom Notes & Tips:
– That bathroom door allllmost scrapes the toilet when you close the door. The good news is that no little kids can barge open the door while your using the restroom, ha ha! Although you may get some banged up knees.
– We used an old crib railing behind the bathroom door as a magazine rack. This fits perfectly into a space that otherwise would have been completely useless.
– I really like this NORDRANA hanging storage. It fits quite well into the little space between the mirror and medicine cabinet and looks nice.
– We have an over the door hanger for towels.
– The bathroom area is 5′ x 7.5′ = 37.5 sq. ft.
KIDS’ BEDROOM – 5/6/17: Eek! We’re having Baby #3 in the next couple weeks – see the UPDATED Kids Room HERE!
Kids’ Bedroom Notes & Tips:
– The kids’ room is my most creative space-saving room, I think. I like it. And it’s almost completely Ikea. My whole house is Ikea, I know. We do live within walking distance! 🙂
– Big Sister C moved into her KURA loft bed around age 2.5. I originally planned to have her wait til Baby Brother S was big enough to move out of our room and into his HENSVIK crib (which was also her toddler bed), but she was so excited for her “new special area” that she wanted to sleep there as soon as we built it. And why not? It is pretty cool, if I do say so myself. 🙂
– I originally was going to DIY some kind of railing system for the TROFAST shelving unit “stairs” leading up to C’s loft bed, but I never got around to it and C has never needed them. I also once had labels on all the toy bins but they’ve fallen off. Someday I’ll replace them. Oh well.
– Under the loft bed is C’s “clubhouse”, though S certainly hangs out in there too. I was able to barely fit C’s KidKraft Vintage Kitchen play set underneath by taking off the legs and fridge door. The kids don’t seem to mind. I also put up this rope lighting (Darice LT-TUBE-1 Tube Light Set with Bulb, 18-Feet, Clear)to give it some more light under the bed and to make it look fun.
– Next to the bed are some more TROFAST shelves with more toys and C’s dress up stuff.
– The crib (which later converts to a toddler bed), wardrobe and changing table are all part of the HENSVIK series. The changing table is actually a bookcase, but I purchased the changing table attachment part. Someday, if we don’t have anymore kids, I can take this off and use just the bookshelf part.
– Inside the wardrobe, I organize the kids clothes in bins. Since C is old enough to put away and pick our her own clothes, I’ve put word/picture labels on the bins for her. Storing clothes this way for a preschooler is way easier than in drawers!
– To make more room, we took off the closet door and turned the closet into the changing table area. Luckily the changing table just barely fit! To be honest, while I used to change C on the changing table, I’ve hardly ever changed S on it and just use the floor instead. Still, it’s a nice place to store all the diaper stuff and other random things.
– The kids’ room area, other than the closet that I did not measure, is 11′ x 9′ = 99 sq. ft.
The Parent’s Bedroom Notes & Tips:
SEE HERE FOR UPDATED TOUR OF THE PARENTS’ ROOM – now 700 sq ft, family of FIVE! 🙂
– Our bedroom is probably the least interesting room of all, so much so that I’m not even taking a picture if it! I know, I know, I should probably put more effort into making it feel more special. It’s the next room on my mental list to put some umph into.
– A while back, we bought a matching bedroom set, NOT Ikea, you know, like “real” grownups. It all barely fits into our room, but it does.
– In case any more babies come along while we still live here, they will probably stay in our room for as long as possible. We can fit a travel pack n play or mini co-sleeper at the foot of our bed with enough room to get around it to the other side.
– Our bedroom area is 11′ x 12.5′ = 137.5 sq. ft.