Sam Ben Hamida sent us photos of a 24 square meter apartment he recently completed in Austria, Vienna. He also added some interesting tips on how to live large in a small space. Let’s see what the designer has to say:
I have always lived in small spaces. Through my passion for personalizing furniture and as a student in architecture at the Vienna University of Technology, I developed a keen interest in making small interiors more liveable. From the perspective of my work experience, I considered the case of my 24 m² (260 ft²) flat, consisting of a 15m² room with adjacent kitchen and a bathroom. Flexibility and research are the key words. This may require some main steps, illustrated in the following 10 tips.
#1. Measure and plan
If you know that you are about to live in a tiny place, each m² will count. To make sure that your furniture will fit correctly, take your time to measure everything: length, width, and even the height of some elements like the ceiling or the windows: these elements have a lot of influence on the choice of your furniture.
#2. Sketch in 3D and think in 4D
In other words, try to imagine how your furniture will look in space (which is made of three dimensions) and especially how they will be used throughout the day (which would be the 4th dimension, called “time”). Set priorities to what you really need and design your home accordingly. Once everything is standing, and you still feel like having enough space left, you can head to the details.
#3. What to hide, what to display
Nowadays every single one of us is using more than one electronic device at home. That gives us a whole bunch of cables. Try to find ways to hide them and still make them reachable. This also counts for the lights. The more you have, the more important it becomes to hide them. It makes your space look a lot more tidy and gives it a bigger appearance.
Put your apartment on a diet: From the first day on, when moving to your big little home: be selective. Ask yourself what you really need, and what not. Nevertheless, you will find yourself unconsciously collecting items over time, which is a complete natural behaviour. But if you’re not able to store them in a clever way, get rid of it. Be convinced that in these living conditions, an empty space can be more valuable than an endless clutter. In small apartment, empty spaces are cherished more than furnishings.
#4. Choose a color palette
If you have always had your favourite set of colours, this may be an easier step. However, if your new home already comes with certain tones due to the existing materials, you might want to consider matching accordingly. Ask a friend to get a second opinion for choosing the right palette that suits you and your apartment.
#5. Convertible and movable items
In a place of 24m2, the lost surface, taken away by your bed, can be a dramatic loss during daytime (unless you’re a student who sleeps a lot). In that case, multi-functionality is the key. If your ceiling is high enough, you can use a loft bed. If not, like here, consider having a sofa bed. Nowadays, sofa beds became quite comfortable and they are very easy to handle. What you want to avoid, is to be constantly in a room that looks like a bedroom, especially if you plan to work there.
#6. Multifunctional and flexible
Small apartments often have only one main room, in which you are supposed to do everything. But that does not have to be. In fact, you can visually divide your room into zones. In this case, there is a resting zone and working zone. Both are separated by a shelf, which slightly marks the separation of the two zones. When being in each zone, you still want to feel the entire room.
When you divide your room into zones, it is always helpful to resize those zones according to your needs. In this apartment, some of the furniture are placed on wheels. This helps to transform the resting zone into a bigger living room when guests are coming over. At the same time, the working zone may become roomier for a better comfort and for keeping the focus on your work. Besides, your vacuum cleaner will be very thankful when passing underneath.
#7. Work on different places
If you are a student or working at home, long working hours can be quite frustrating. Especially in a tiny room. Consider having different spots where you can work in different positions (sitting, standing, laying…) and under different light conditions. This helps to avoid the feeling of a never-ending work session. At the same time you are keeping the possibility to let your friends work with you as well.
#8. Avoiding central lights
Having one strong light on your ceiling may be the easiest and most efficient way to lighten up a room. However, it can sometimes kill a room’s atmosphere. Try to literally “spread” the light over your room. This makes it also more soothing for the eyes to look through a space with multiple weaker lights, rather than having an “artificial sun”. At the same time, adding lights to each corner of your room, gives you the feeling that each spot in your room is interesting and valuable. This also gives the illusion of a larger space.
#9. A friend wants to stay overnight
No problem! Since you are able to create new space, you can make a second bed appear out of nowhere. Just like that. Inflatable beds or convertible armchairs are a good option in that case. Try to give to your friend the same sleeping conditions as you have: same light, same sheets, same color. This shows him that you care as much about him than about yourself.
#10. Last but not least: Home, sweet home…
The longer you live in your home, the more it becomes a part of you. And this deserves to get as much attention as you are giving to yourself and your surroundings. Personalize it, make it different and let your inner architect reveal himself!” [Photos and information provided via e-mail by Sam Ben Hamida]