life in a tiny apartment.

October 29, 2019

Tip #189: Growing family, growing furniture? Open yourself to possibilities.

Last year around Christmas, we hosted family for a festive morning at our place. We pushed furniture around to make space for people (twelve), and merriment (plenty). When our guests went home, we decided to leave things as we’d rearranged them: our tiny couch floating a bit in space, and two tables smushed together to make one. The new arrangement gave us a whole new way of seeing our space, and more importantly, living in our space. After some deliberation, we hung a tiny lamp to shed some light on dinner time. And for the past year we’ve happily dealt with too many table legs and the occasional mishap that’s inevitable when two tables making one get pulled apart from one another. (In all, we’ve had only one drinking glass casualty, which I think we can all agree is something to be proud of, considering the risk.)

But after a year of getting used to a new arrangement and dealing with a bit of funkyness, we’re gearing up to welcome a new table, this time with a typical number of legs and just one solid table top. The waiting has required patience and a bit of breath holding, but I’ve been in the mood to embrace change, and so we here are.

I’ve also been eyeing possibilities for replacing our very small couch with something that might better accommodate multiple small bottoms (or even just one bottom attached to an expanding belly with legs stretched out and feet getting a massage). Our little upholstered bench has served us well, but it doesn’t exactly allow for the type of lounging one might hope for in a couch.

I’ve always prioritized small furniture and airiness in this tiny apartment, but I’m feeling more confident lately that it might be possible to maintain a sense of space without also skimping on comfort. (Or, apparently, family members. Heh.)

So, here’s to embracing change and new possibilities. I’ll keep you posted on our growing furniture (and family).

Tiny Apartment Survival Tips #1-#188.

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  • Reply Mirva October 29, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    I’m excited to see the changes you’ll be making — it’s always good to be open to them.

    Also, I wanted to thank you for directing me to Evie’s post I can’t hear you. It inspired me so much, and somehow opened me up to writing freely again. I’m so thankful you shared it.

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 29, 2019 at 3:00 pm

      oh, i’m so glad you landed there! i love her writing!

  • Reply Camila October 29, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Life in a tiny apartment or anywhere is all about change! Love this new season you’re in and all that is being birthed from it. I’m sure y’all will be all good in that beautiful little space. <3

  • Reply Tara Rasmus October 29, 2019 at 4:23 pm

    So exciting! I remember your little lamp project. We really need a light over our dining table, too. Ugh lighting, it’s a whole thing.

    Re: a larger couch, this may be TOO large, but Alison Mazurek’s minimal sectional on 600 square feet and a baby comes to mind! Something flexible and minimal could work well, even if you end up with a “room of couch” situation. Hey, there are worse things, right? haha

  • Reply elizabeth October 29, 2019 at 4:56 pm

    the fact that these two tables line up so well is amazing!
    fewer table legs will be a definite bonus, though!!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 29, 2019 at 5:04 pm

      It really is! Especially because they’re both about 1.5-2 inches taller than the average table height!

  • Reply susanna October 29, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    I had times ago very tiny home with 4 kiddos and husband. We didn’t place sofa separate , it was part of the dining arrangement. We all loved it. also our guests liked it. Very cozy:)

  • Reply Liz October 29, 2019 at 10:25 pm

    Surely I saw it before, because I visit here regularly, but I loved seeing the link back to that painting of your space! It is fun to rearrange, experiment, and make things work. And I am so delighted that one of your reasons to rethink your space is to welcome a baby.

  • Reply SEM October 30, 2019 at 6:10 pm

    I can’t recommend the Article Solae enough! it is modular and can come up a walk up and you can select the section(s) that work in the space. It’s low and kid friendly (especially the grey or the leather). I bet it would look cute the little nook by your kitchen!

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 30, 2019 at 7:50 pm

      oh, thanks so much! that little space is truly teensy though, so no space for a couch there!

      • Reply SEM October 31, 2019 at 4:16 pm

        600 sq ft and a baby has the solae if you’d like a pic of it in a tight space! I love that you can break it apart or unite it for movie night! I love the armless piece and the ottoman best! So versatile!

        • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 1, 2019 at 9:26 am

          Yes yes, have seen often! Our space is just a bit tighter and it’s really the specifics of wall and doors and all of that that matter here!

  • Reply steph October 31, 2019 at 10:55 am

    it is s hard to tell those are 2 tables! i moved in august and am very much still in the in-between at my new apartment. we’ve found wonderful items secondhand and it’s something that i love about living sustainably – it needn’t limit my possibilities, in fact it expands it and helps me embrace change. more on that here:

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE October 31, 2019 at 10:57 am

      ha! i know it. kind of incredible how they line up perfectly! we found on of these on the street when we first moved to brooklyn (the very day we moved in) and the other at a local consignment shop!

  • Reply Rue October 31, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    I have a small couch that’s meant to double as a sleeper/guest bed, but I don’t know that it would be comfy enough for that. But it includes one chaise side and one fold-out bench side, so you can flip it into a couch where everybody has a footrest going all the way across. Aka: ultimate lounging! It’s set up like a storage bench rather than the old-school mattress-folded-below-the-couch model. I genuinely can’t say enough good things about it. It makes our space feel cozy and restorative and even indulgent, while also remaining tidy and small. It’s the Ashley Furniture Jarreau sofa chaise sleeper. I’ve never gotten anything from Ashley before, but this has been such a gem.

  • Reply Alexia October 31, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    I live in 175 square feet. I have a 6 foot couch at the bottom of my full size bed frame, 2 reading chairs and put my stained glass lamps around each chair and the couch. Designing my little studio for comfort first is priority for me and I know you will love finally having a real couch to nurse baby and for the family to enjoy together. Surprising my 6 foot couch leaves plenty of walk around room on each side, fits perfect at the end of a full size bed, is perfect for company and is my haven to relax on at night and put my feet up . I cannot imagine life with a comfortable couch. good for you !

    • Reply ERIN BOYLE November 1, 2019 at 9:24 am

      Just a matter of personal preference of course, not good or bad, just personal!

  • Reply Kelly Libby November 1, 2019 at 10:11 am

    Hi Erin, It must be the cool autumn weather and the changing leaves that encourages warmth and coziness. I, too, am planning a weekend of decorating my space for comfort. I moved into a new apartment in June but still have cardboard boxes piled high and unpacked. First up, flannel sheets on bed with a cozy duvet that had been packet away for the summer. Second, drop off curtains at the tailor to reuse on the windows without such height as the home I previously enjoyed for six years. Third, hang a few framed photos of my nieces artwork lovingly created for auntie. And, not as glamorous, a long overdue trip to the City Recycling Center to donate all the “things”. I love that I can reuse what I have instead of that deep desire for a pilgrimage to TJ Maxx and Target. Plus, a few plants always brings joy and light and life into a home – big, medium – or tiny. Happy weekend, Erin and Tea Leaves readers.

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