Living in a house share for the last four years, I have come to realise the importance of creating a cosy solo living space from my small room. For me, three of those years was spent as a student. During financially challenging times, house sharing is a practical way for me to make my finances stretch the furthest. I can imagine for many Solo’s, house sharing is a familiar situation for you, too.
For some, shared housing may be a lifestyle choice and a chance to live with others, whereas it may just be a decision rooted in reluctant practicality for others. With the world being filled with so much uncertainty, it has become essential now more than ever to create a cosy solo living space within a house share.
My room is my sanctuary, but it also has to work as a multi-functional space because I will spend most of my time there when I’m at home. My room is where I work, relax and sleep in peace. Here’s how I planned an organised my room to create a living space where I can escape and find comfort in the day to day.
Considering how you will use floor space is arguably the most important starting point when making the most of a room, especially in small rooms. Maximising floor space makes a room look bigger than it actually is and will also provide you with space to do exercise, such as yoga.
To extend the available floor space, try and reduce the quantity of furniture in your room. It means having to be quite ruthless and asking yourself what you need from your room, and what purposes does it need to serve? Do you need another chest of drawers or a bedside table? In a small room, downsizing your bed is an excellent way of claiming back your floor. Perhaps choose a three-quarter size bed with under bed storage. This kind of storage can be indispensable and helps minimise the amount of furniture you may need.
Having a designated workspace is an incredibly vital component to creating a cosy but multi-purpose solo living space. Without a pre-determined work area in a room that is also a bedroom and a place to relax, being distracted or losing concentration on any work-at-hand may become more frequent than you’d like. Without defining a workspace, it can be hard to fully relax when you’re having a break because the lines are blurred between chilling out and working. From the picture shown in my room, you can see my desk faces the window. Strategically placed, I gain the maximum amount of light, which helps keep me motivated and entertained. I can take a moment, watch what’s going on outside, including local cats meandering around!
Although my bed and desk are right next to each other, I never cross the purpose of each. When I am working, I sit at my desk. When I am relaxing, I will chill out on my bed. Having a small room, making a clear distinction is the most practical arrangement, but your room may be more spacious. If that is the case, then I would advise creating more distance between your relaxing and sleeping space and your workspace.
By owning fewer items, you will be able to make a feature of some of your prized possessions and, at the same time, maintain an open atmosphere. Keeping multifunctional items, such as a raincoat, is a great idea, as that way you can reduce your need for other coats. Books are also easy to reduce. Keep the few that matter, or the books used regularly – and you can also make the most of using your local library. There are so many ways of maintaining an interest in the joy of reading without cluttering your small space.
In 2018, 33% of young people reported they often or always feel lonely and consider how this figure may have changed during lockdowns! With staggering statistics like this, creating a cosy home space is desperately needed. Lamps can make all the difference and are an absolute must to help make your room extra cosy. If you find one with a warm glow, use it in the evenings, rather than using the main light. This way, you’ll feel way more relaxed before going to bed. Even during the day, close the curtains and switch on your lamp – all of a sudden, you have a calming haven, shut off from the world, perfect when you need a sense of escape.
Natural light is incredibly beneficial! Personally, moving your bed to parallel the window is a refreshing layout. A bed being close to a windowsill is a double bonus, acting as a bedside table, saving you even more space and meaning you’ve found a solution to requiring one less piece of furniture. During the summer months, there is nothing more delightful than waking up to full sunlight shining down on your bed.
Pictures are perhaps the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to personalise a small space. In my opinion, displaying photos is the best way to bring and an extra layer of cosy. They help to define a room as your own because you will be filling it with lots of happy memories to reminisce over. With over a third of young people feeling lonely, having precious photos to cast your eye over can be a great way to tackle feelings and help with feeling better. Distracting yourself with times of happiness may make you feel less lonely. Ideal places to put up your photos is by your bed and on a mirror, so when you wake up, and just before you go to bed, you are faced with lots of memories.
Freeprints is a great app that allows you to print 45 photos each month at a low cost, including delivery. However, although you can fill your space with a wall of pictures, some landlords hate blue-tack because of the grease marks it leaves behind. Instead, use command hooks as these will peel away without leaving a trace.
Lastly, the quality of air in your space really matters. It makes sense, really, and we need to pay attention to what we’re breathing in when we spend a lot of time in one room.
Plants are a great way to improve air quality. I have included spider plants, peace lilies, and an aloe vera in my cosy solo living space. Rubber plants, ferns, and broad lady palm are also unique plants that will suck out impurities in the air. To keep the cost of buying plants low, buy smaller plants, nurture and watch them grow. Or even better, swap cuttings with friends!
Opening windows from time to time, even during winter, helps to freshen the air in a small space. Energuide gives some great tips for how best to air out your space.
Of course, these are just a few suggestions based on my experience of creating a cosy solo room by making the most of the living space available to me. Check out other Solo Living articles to help create a more personalised space to suit your own style.
My final tip is vital for every small space – keep it tidy! Constant clutter on the floor and surfaces will visually diminish your room’s size and be overwhelming. Even by throwing all of your mess into a wardrobe for a short time will make a difference (we’re all guilty of doing that from time to time!), and you can make time for sorting out the wardrobe every so often.