Living in a Small Space.

Note: This article was originally titled "Leben Auf Kleinem Raum" and ran in the German magazine CouchIt has been translated into English (and slightly edited) by Iris in 't Hout.

33 sq meters

From a family home to a doll size apartment. How do designer Michael Sainato (V.P. Marketing + Creative at Design Within Reach) and stylist Iris in 't Hout solve this? With lots of style – and storage room.


The table barely measures 70 cm x 80 cm, so the built-in seat benches can have storage drawers underneath. Dog Miles always finds a spot by Iris and Michael.


Comfortable arrangement. With the red Olivetti poster from 1961 and the Bianchi road bike, Michael has put together his favorite pieces in a decorative way.

Tip: Furniture with light and airy metal frames optically takes up less space.

Someone calculated that our apartment would fit into Grand Central Station's main hall 88 times. We're breaking a record for living in the smallest space!


Books are stored underneath this grey Neo Sofa by Niels Bendtsen.


Honey, I shrunk the chairs. Classic mini versions on the shelves by the kitchen nook.


The windowsill in the kitchen is reserved for potted herbs. The built-in closets hide the kitchen appliances. (i.e: fridge, washer/dryer)


An Ikea blanket and self made pillows add happy/fun accents to the aluminum frame Min Bed. Underneath the bed are storage containers on wheels.

Tip: arrange your favorite pictures by theme on shelves.

Sticky Note:


A cohesive color scheme keeps the space simple. Bright colors appear bigger, darker colors can be cozy but can optically make a room look smaller.

Mirrors can make a space look twice as big. They work their magic on doors or cabinets as well as on a wall.

Edit everything constantly. You don't need 3 winter coats or 6 pairs of boots. (FYI… I think they're wrong, I do have a few of those in the closet!) When we moved from San Francisco we cleaned out and donated a lot of our belongings.

Furniture with AHA effect:
Bookshelves also function as room dividers. The pocket doors are a space saving solution, they slide into the built in bookshelves , no space wasted for the required swing out of regular doors.

In our apartment almost all furniture has metal frames, which creates a light and airy feeling. We also don't have a big heavy coffee table. Instead we have a space saving nesting set of three tables.

Everything that can be hung on a hook or can be stored in a cabinet will help keep your space tidy and organized. Plan to store things higher up. Want to bet you can find more space for a shelf or a cabinet way up high? Our built in cabinets in the kitchen go all the way up to the ceiling. Everything from the washer/ dryer o the ironing board goes in there!