Condos in Toronto keep getting smaller. Here are nine life hacks to make the most of your space

Condos in Toronto keep getting smaller. Here are nine life hacks to make the most of your space

Whether you’re renting or buying, square footage in Toronto is at an all-time premium. With condos shrinking, many of us need to find creative ways to stuff our lives into 400 square feet. Fret not, there’s no need to purge every last tchotchke, keepsake or skirt you hope to one day squeeze back into. When it comes to tiny homes, it’s all about maximizing the minimal. Here are nine ways IKEA can help make the most out of the fewest square feet.

1. Add Extra Storage
When furnishing your small home, furniture with built-in storage is an absolute necessity. Many new condos have barely enough storage for your spring wardrobe, let alone the other three seasons of clothes necessary for Canadian life. IKEA’s VIMLE sofa is the perfect solution to a claustrophobic closet situation. This sofa boasts hidden storage in the footstool and chaise longue. It makes for an excellent faux linen closet, so you can keep your closets for clothes!

2. Keep It Seasonal
A puffy winter coat doesn’t need to be hogging valuable closet space in the warmer months. If you’re without the luxury of a storage locker, we recommend tucking out-of-season items in rolling bins under the bed. The RÖMSKOG, made of braided rattan and lined with cotton, is a fetching option.

3. Get Modular
Condos with awkward angles or ill-positioned pillars can be a challenge to furnish. Modular furnishings like IKEA’s BESTÅ line make it easy to add storage to any living space, no matter the layout. This living room storage series is entirely customizable, so you can mix and match everything, from the doors and drawers down to the knobs. Neatniks who like a minimalist look can opt for sleek neutral hues with closed doors hiding any clutter, while those who prefer to show off their collectibles can choose glass doors.

4. Keep It Tidy
The great thing about small homes? They take no time to clean. The bad? A pair of socks on the floor and a couple of dishes in the sink can look like a tornado’s struck. Rather than leaving items scattered, hang them on the wall using a pegboard like the SKÅDIS: this will expedite cleanups, as there will be fewer knickknacks to reorganize.

5. Dividers
In a loft, floor-to-ceiling dividers can provide privacy. But walls, be they curtains or drywall, will make a studio feel cramped. Creating visual barriers using shelving units keeps a space open and cheery. We love how this Torontonian used a KALLAX to create a dreamy sleeping niche.

6. Become a Curator
By using interesting wall hooks such as the SKUGGIS, you can make a museum-like display out of purses or statement necklaces that would otherwise be tucked away in drawers.

7. Get Vertical
Make the most of all your square feet, not just the floor space, by using the space above your head. A loft bed can make even the tiniest home feel spacious. We’ve seen many a micro-office tucked under suspended bedrooms, but that same space can be transformed into anything from a TV-watching nook to a mini–yoga studio—the tight quarters will have you working on some seriously innovative poses.

8. Multi-Purpose Furniture
Furniture that can do double duty—or even triple duty—is paramount to making small homes feel spacious. Condensing multiple furnishings into one multi-functional item is a huge space saver. BRIMNES beds are a furnishing unicorn that combines three items into one: it’s a comfy bed, a chest of drawers and a bookshelf.

9. Think Inside the Box
Toronto Life has spent the last year visiting dozens of Torontonians who live in some of the city’s tiniest homes, and one thing that’s ubiquitous is boxes. Whether it’s vibrant boxes for storing hard-to-fold hosiery, or wicker baskets used to hide the extra linens, having a place to stash bulky items is key. One of our favourite boxes is the STUVA. One budding PR maven turned hers into a dedicated shoe closet. By positioning it in the entryway, the STUVA also did double duty as a bench, where she can take off her shoes before storing them away neatly inside the box.