For many young people, a first apartment might be a cramped studio or just a bedroom in a shared living arrangement. Juggling that room's living, dining and sleeping spaces requires creativity.
Take Meg Volk, a New York-based producer and photographer who at 22 is a seasoned veteran of the tiny-home trenches: She's on her third, under-300-square-foot studio apartment.
Find vertical space; think small and light; and when in doubt, do without, she advises.
"In my first solo studio apartment, I had about 200 square feet and the option of a twin-size bed or a futon," she says. But she was lucky enough to have 10-foot ceilings. She built a sleeping loft with a porthole entrance and storage in the stairs. Was it claustrophobic? A little, but worth it, she says.
"While it's nice to be able to sit up in bed, it's even nicer to have room for a couch, media center and side table."
IKEA has embraced this mobile-renter demographic with its P.S. collections. Now eight years running, the collections feature pieces that are portable and inexpensive but well-designed. The Havet sofas have wheels; a stool has an embedded LED lamp.
Peter Klinkert heads the retailer's Special Collections. He says this year's 50 pieces came out of collaborations between young international designers and the IKEA in-house team.
"Small space doesn't always mean no space," Klinkert says.
Buy furniture that's multifunctional, he advises: storage cubes that also work as coffee tables, or a dining table that offers storage, so it can be used as a workspace. (www.ikea.com )
Bookcases can be clunky and cumbersome. Consider floating bookshelves that take advantage of wall space without taking up floor space.
IKEA's Lack wall shelves come in a variety of colors, and there's also a corner shelving unit in the P.S. 2014 collection that would maximize a dead space.