Category Archives: Small Spaces

Sprucing Up Your Home with Houseplants

Does your home need a little makeover?  If so, consider adding a few houseplants to freshen up a room.  Let’s take a look.

Decorating with Houseplants

Decorating your home can be easy when there is a big holiday like Christmas or Easter.  We have so many decorations, that it’s easy to fill the mantle.  But how does your family room look off-season?  If it’s feeling a little bare, consider adding a houseplant or two.

Spider Plants

In the picture below, we added a spider plant to our mantle.  It’s on the larger side, and anchors the left-side of our mantle.  We opted for a spider plant with solid green leaves.  There are also spider plants with green and white leaves.

Spider Plant

We chose this spider plant in particular because it has the potential to harvest more spider plants.  To do this, we will cut off the little spider plants and put them in water.  It will form roots, and we can transplant it into a pot with dirt to create another houseplant.  The process is very easy.

Selecting Houseplants

When selecting houseplants, take into consideration the light in your room.  Some plants require more light than others.  You’ll also want to think about maintenance.  The plants we selected are relatively easy to maintain.  Other houseplants may require more work.

Here is another example of a houseplant.  We chose one with large leaves.  This one is two-toned, with a little bit of height.  It serves as the anchor for the right side of our mantel.


Adding houseplants are a simple way to spruce up your room.  Plants can soften a room, and give it a comfortable feeling.

Happy gardening! 🙂

Alternative Uses for Curtains

Do you have a closet without doors?  Perhaps you need a simple way to close off an area.  Check out these ideas which involve curtains, drapes, or shower curtains.

Using Curtains as a Closet Door

Closet space is always in demand, especially in smaller homes.

Issue: The main closet for this bungalow is at the top of the stairs.  It didn’t have closet doors, but desperately needed closing off.  Doors were not an option.

Solution:  Since it was such a small area, we opted to hang a long curtain rod and attach some simple curtains.

Curtains - closet

There are several hooks on the inside of the closet to hold up the curtain rod.  For our purposes, a wide curtain with one slit in the middle did the job.  The curtains hang directly on the rod.  When we need something from the closet, we simply pull back the curtain.

Another option is to hang the curtains on hooks with clips.

Curtains - brown with rings

It is easy to slide the curtains back and forth when they are on hooks.

Using Curtains in Handicapped Accessible Area Under Sink

The curtain rod and fabric curtain idea also works in kitchens.

Issue: We have a friend who moved into a handicapped accessible apartment.  She is elderly, but does not use a wheelchair yet.  Her kitchen is handicapped accessible, and there is a large open space under her kitchen counter.

Solution: Since she isn’t in a wheelchair, she opted to use a tension rod.  Then she added hooks with clips to hang her plad curtains.  This is a great solution, since it is temporary, and doesn’t change the handicapped accessibility of her kitchen.

Curtains under sink

Using a Shower Curtain to Hide Sump Pump

Plumbing pipes are not very appealing to the eye.  However, it’s important to have easy access to them.

Issue: A sump pump and plumbing pipes were visible in the finished laundry room.  We still needed easy access to this area, but didn’t want to look at it every day.

Solution: We used an adjustable shower curtain rod.  Since it was a tension rod, we could adjust it to fit the exact space without drilling or making holes.  Then we hung a pretty fabric shower curtain that we used years ago in our main bathroom.

Curtain - shower

Now we don’t need to look at the sump pump area, but can access it easily when needed.

Using Curtains under a Staircase

The area under a staircase can offer some storage space, especially in closet-poor houses.  Access to this area can be tricky.  In this picture, a simple white curtain hung on a dowel stick hides the storage area.

Curtain - under stairs

It also makes for easy access into the storage space under the stairs, where a door just wasn’t feasible.

Do you need a few more ideas for organizing your space?  Check out these articles:

Ideas for Organizing Ball Caps

Small spaces: Narrow Staircase Challenge for Mattress

How to Organize the Shoes in Your Entryway

Small Spaces: desk ideas

Small spaces: Narrow Staircase Challenge for Mattress

The staircase was a main selling point for the house we purchased.  One look at it, and we were sold.  However, the bedrooms upstairs were small, and we had concerns about whether or not some of our existing furniture would fit.

During the Open House, we couldn’t help but notice that the current owner’s bed never completely made it upstairs.  The box spring was still downstairs, propped up against the dining room wall.  Strange, isn’t it?  It was at least a full size, if not a queen size box spring, which clearly could not fit up the narrow staircase.  We knew we didn’t want a similar problem.

Remember the saying “Measure twice, cut once?”  Well, before placing an offer on the house, we measured the bedrooms and staircase several times.  Then we measured our furniture, over and over, to make sure certain pieces would fit.  We came to the conclusion that the furniture could fit in the rooms, but getting it up the staircase would be a challenge.

The Solution

So, how do you get a mattress and box spring up a small and narrow staircase?  One piece at a time:

Headboard – The headboard was easy.  It fit up the narrow staircase.  Once it was partially up, we flipped it up and over the railing, onto the second floor.  No problem.

Mattress – Although the master bedroom was small, we knew a queen size mattress would fit.  However, getting it up the staircase was another story.  We were reassured that the delivery men could “fold” the mattress, if necessary, to get it upstairs. With a little maneuvering, it went right up the stairs, and over the railing, just like the headboard.

Box Spring – The box spring, on the other hand, could not be folded.  So, we opted for a split box spring.  This means that the box spring comes in two pieces.  It worked like a charm.  The guys moved it up the stairs, and up and over the railing at the top.  Our queen size mattress sits right on top of the split box spring, and you would never know the difference.

Ah, the joys of owning an older home.  So glad everything fits! 🙂

Interested in reading more about small spaces?  Check out the following articles:

Small Spaces: desk ideas

Consider Portable Air Conditioner for Small Spaces

Storage for Small Bathroom

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Small spaces: desk ideas

Do you need a desk, but don’t have a lot of room?  Consider a small table to store only the essentials.

Repurpose an Existing Table

This table once displayed our pictures.  I recently moved it into the kitchen to serve as a small desk.  There are two drawers which are perfect for:

  • Stamps and Mailing Supplies
  • Coupons
  • Gift Cards and Gift Certificates
  • Take Out Menus

On the top of the desk, there’s room for:

  • Laptop
  • Houseplant
  • Cube of paper for notes
  • Cell phone

This table works well  in front of the window.  It gives me a great view of the backyard.  It’s also in the main part of the house, so I’m close to where the kids are playing.

Off to the right, I have a small table which holds our incoming mail.  There’s also a storage unit for our receipts, and a telephone.  Everything is in one central location, but doesn’t take up too much space.

Consider purchasing or repurposing a small table to serve as a desk.  It may very well get the job done for you. 🙂

Additional articles you may enjoy:

Organize Your Gift Cards

How to Organize and Store Your Receipts

Create a Mailing Supply Folder

Organize Your Store Coupons

Simple Way to Organize Take Out Menus



Consider Portable Air Conditioner for Small Spaces

Are you having trouble staying cool this summer?  If you have a challenging area to keep cool, consider a portable air conditioner.

What is a portable air conditioner?

A portable air conditioner is a small unit that looks like a little robot.  It is a little larger than the average dehumidifier.


  • fits in almost any space because it is small
  • requires venting through outside window, but this is temporary. When you are finished using the unit, simply take out the vent and close the window. This is a great safety feature, since you can close and lock your window.


  • can be heavy to carry upstairs; easier to carry when it’s in the box
  • requires venting through window
  • requires a drip pan. The pan must be emptied once a day on average.  Plan to empty it more often on extremely hot and humid days.  The process is very easy.

Steps to empty portable air conditioner

  1. Take off cap.  Below is a picture of the cap.

Portable AC Cap


2. Put drip pan under the unit.  We found an “Easy Foil” pan that fit perfectly.

Portable AC Drip Pan

3.  Pull plug and drain water.  It’s that easy.

Portable air conditioning is one way to keep your space cool, without spending thousands on central air, or tying up your window for the summer.  We love our unit, and don’t know what we would do without it.

Stay cool. 🙂