1 Year in our 50% bigger space (part 2)

fluted fireplace tile, window ledge with plants, light filtering honeycomb shades and bocci lamp

Part 2: Summarizing what changed and stayed the same moving from 600 square feet to 900 square feet as a family of 4 (Part 1 Here).

What Stayed the Same

Multi-Functional Spaces

We learned in our last apartment that each room can do many things for us and this has continued over here. We still spend the majority of our time in the main living area (living, dining, kitchen). I work at our dining table and we still use it for games and crafts beyond it’s traditional use to host all of our meals.

Our current bedroom is still just a doorway away (no hallway separating the rooms) from the kids but it’s more like 10 steps away rather than 3-5. Since we brought over our wall bed and often put it away, our bedroom becomes an open room. We haven’t yet found another purpose for it but we appreciate the blank space to move and the kids to play when the bed is away.

We shared a closet in the previous apartment and do the same now. The difference is we now have a door so we can turn on the light when the kids are sleeping, after years of tip toeing in the dark, this is a luxury.

In fact our kitchen and bathroom in the new apartment are smaller than our previous apartment. Just because you add square footage doesn’t mean it’s all highly usable or functional square footage as many readers with small older homes have shared with me over the years.

Less Furniture

We had minimal furniture in our one bedroom apartment and we haven’t added much since we moved into a bigger space. Again just enjoying the extra room to breathe. We have added a lounge chair and two stools and the playgym. In fact we removed half our couch as our new living room is quite small.

I do miss the kids small bedroom as one piece of art and a few shelves decorated the whole room. Their new large room has cabinets and a playgym beyond their efficient bunkbeds and I still have space for more furniture. Currently I’m considering some soft seating like bean bag chairs. I would say the kids love the extra space and love to spread out ALLLL over. They are actually asking for desks for drawing and art making. Something they have never asked for before.

The kids bedroom in our 600sqft apartment. Photo by Gillian Stevens for Jenni Kayne

What We Can Live Without

We learned lessons in the many years we lived in our one bedroom apartment that have changed the way we look at living. We have lived without extra space, without privacy, without tons of furniture or extra things and we were happy. Those lessons I hope we never forget. I find we use that same lens of physically not having enough space for new things to make us question any new purchases.

Do we really need it?
Could we wait?
Is there something else we have that could provide the same purpose?
Could we borrow it?
Get it secondhand?

We’ve learned over the years that we don’t own things, they eventually own us. They become work to clean, maintain, store and organize. Having fewer things is not being in want, it is being free. So while we gained more floorspace in our new home we don’t have a strong desire fill it with things we couldn’t have in our previous apartment. Interestingly I have found through my One-x-One consults that the same small space challenges/themes exist whether a space is 500 square feet up to 1200 square feet and while well chosen furniture and a mix of closed and open storage is helpful, the best way to live comfortably in a “small” space is having fewer things.

And then there’s cleaning

Cleaning a small space was faster and easier than cleaning a bigger space. Yet I find the bigger space is easier to keep tidy. By that I mean that in an open floorplan 600 square foot space it would only take a few out of place items for the whole space to feel messy. In our larger space if the kid’s bedroom is messy, the upstairs can still feel clean and organized, because you can’t see the kids room from every corner of the home. The separation of space means that it can feel more calm and uncluttered and less messy than a smaller open flooplan, even when there is a similar amount of everyday mess around. I still find the cleaning manageable at 900 square feet with one bathroom. I would be nervous to have anymore to clean! Though I do miss that 15 min vacuum of the entire home!!

So I think that pretty much summarizes my observations a year in. Let me know if I missed anything or if there was something you were wondering about.

Our current bedroom by Modern Nest Photography