Tips for couples sharing a small space (and how to make life easier)
There are SO many reasons why you might be sharing a small space with your honey. Maybe you’re waiting for a home to be built and are sharing a small apartment in the meantime. Maybe you’re just on vacation. Maybe you’re “camping out” in a hotel while a major remodel is done. Or maybe you’re REALLY camping out, camper and all!!
…I just hope you’re not camping in FEBRUARY!!
Whatever the reason, there are times when we have to share small spaces. As a couple, this can put MAJOR strains on your lifestyle, communication, and overall patience.
When you are sharing a small space thanks to a remodel, at least you can laugh and remember that this is just part of the Remodel Roller Coaster experience…right??
There will be tough moments. Whether it’s a temporary set-up or a more permanent one, for the sake of EVERYONE having a happy Valentine’s Day and maintaining some semblance of sanity…here are some of my favorite design tips and general “best practices” for sharing a small living space with your honey!!
1: Stick a desk in the closet
Imagine it! This might feel odd at first, especially since the view while you’re sitting at the desk won’t be anything that drives you wild, but storing a desk in a closet (and pulling it out when in use) is a GREAT way to keep precious floor space open.
Facing the closet while you work has its advantages, too! The lack of private room is the most OBVIOUS factor leaving us irritated when sharing small spaces…having an “escape” to a nook could be just what the doctor ordered to get work done or have some time to yourself!!
2: Use a bookcase to divide a room
Isn’t it just the most annoying thing to WANT to storm off into another room after an argument, only to realize that there’s NO other room to storm off to?!
Even if you’re in an Airbnb rental or temporary space, you can use a bookshelf—even a short one—to help “divvy up” room space. It creates separate “zones” without making it feel even MORE claustrophobic!! This is a GREAT way to show off favorite books and other décor on the shelves, too…
2.1: Or use a curtain!
If you don’t have a bookshelf that would do the job, or if you’re in an even SMALLER or more temporary space like a hotel during a remodel, you can separate space by hanging a curtain, too. Don’t be scared to get creative…this is your sanity we’re talking about!!
3: Be EXTRA strategic about storage space
Another MAJOR source of disruption when couples cohabitate in small spaces is clutter. (Go figure.) It’s easy to imagine why coming “home” to a MESSY space would automatically put someone in a foul mood…
That said, you don’t have a lot of storage options in these cases, either!! Especially if you’re living somewhere temporarily while a remodel gets done, storage solutions for all your stuff can get complicated.
There are many, many sub-tips to this, and it will depend how permanently you’re staying in that space. Try communicating expectations and “organizational systems” early, and be prepared to re-assess if the space still feels cluttered later. What will you use on a daily basis? Everything else should be packed neatly away.
4: Set cleaning expectations
And right along those same lines is the reality that a small space DESPERATELY needs to stay clean. Just remember, neither you nor your partner can change anything or live up to any expectations without first making them clear.
Can you live with a couple dirty dishes in the sink, but your partner can’t? Does the toilet have to be scrubbed every day, or every week? Even if you’re staying in a hotel with room service, set expectations for what is “tidy” and what is NOT okay.
Make the most of your space—and of your time in it!! If you and your honey are in a small space this Valentine’s Day, couldn’t that be just a little bit romantic? If you follow these tips, it really could be!
If you aren’t already in that small space but will be soon, take the time to draw up a floor plan and discuss all the pros and cons of your expectations and ideas. And be sure to reach out if you have questions or want more suggestions!!
And finally, if you ARE thinking about a remodel that would require sharing some small space for a while, be sure to factor those costs in with the new 2020 Cost vs. Value report to see how your investment will pan out overall.
Small spaces can make for big stories!! Share yours with us!
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