Both small space living and eco-friendly living are about having an appreciation for the little things. It’s not simply about purging, and it’s certainly not about living in lack! It’s about being mindful of everything you put in your home, from napkins to furniture, and loving everything you share your precious, private space with. So, while making the most of a small space has a lot to do with mindset, there are plenty of practical ways to put together a beautiful, functional abode that still manages to sit in alignment with your eco-friendly values.
Form and Function
If you’re under the impression that a small space cannot be an inspired space, you are probably thinking of how difficult it is to combine necessities with art, décor, and meaningful items that don’t necessarily serve a purpose other than to make you happy. However, if you focus on ensuring that your most functional items also “spark joy,” you eliminate that longing for more beautiful items to adorn your abode — because they already fit right in.
A side table is one of your most basic living room furniture necessities, and you don’t notice how much you rely on it until you don’t have one. Invest in a beautiful side table, such as a woven or sculptural piece that essentially doubles as a work of art, and this practical object becomes as inspiring as a beloved painting.
For many of us, the only opportunity we have to achieve some semblance of our dream kitchen is if we have a gift registry for loved ones to contribute to. (And yep, you can curate your own ethical gift registry on Made Trade!) But you don’t need a big life event to focus on beautiful, quality kitchen wares and tools. Take, for example, the organic cotton napkin. This doesn’t just have to be for entertaining. It’s a beautiful little way to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle without compromising on style. Plus, it will likely save you money in the long run as you eliminate the need to replenish paper towels.
Walls and Floors
Even the smallest of spaces have a wall and a floor, no? Make the most of these surfaces with your favorite eco-friendly décor and textiles.
Many sustainable living blogs would have you thinking that wall art is a frivolous purchase. But think about it — how often do you really update the prints and hangings that adorn your walls? I think I’ve had the same jute weaving for about four years now, and I have no plans to let it go! Sometimes what seems frivolous will actually establish permanence, transforming your “house” into a “home.”
Rugs make an incredible impact on a small space because they transform something as unexciting as flooring into a feast for the eyes (and toes!). This is another item you will keep for years to come. If you’ve looked for area rugs, you’ve probably noticed that so many of them are not ethically or sustainably made, yet they carry the same price tags as the ones you see on artisan marketplaces like Made Trade. An area rug is an investment no matter what, but you can choose to make it count.
And don’t forget door mats and runners! If you have the floor space, fill it with something beautiful that doesn’t actually take up space.
It’s difficult to find curtains that serve their purpose and provide something spectacular to look at. But this is exactly what you need when outfitting a small space! The footprint of your windows is likely quite large in comparison to many other places you’d place eco-friendly décor, so think of it as an opportunity to make a statement.
Small Space Storage Hacks
I would be remiss to talk about small space living without mentioning storage. My favorite way to store items is to have them “hide in plain sight” with pretty storage boxes or baskets with lids.
You could display these large storage boxes on any shelf or table and it truly doesn’t matter what clutter you have hiding inside.
The kitchen is a notoriously difficult room to manage in a small space, which often means having lots on display. If you don’t have a pantry to hide all your dry goods, try recycled glass canisters for making everyday storage look a bit more appealing.
One of the biggest opportunities for storage may be hiding underneath your bed — mine is roomier than my closet! My bedframe is relatively simple and open, and in our studio-like apartment, you can see straight under it from pretty much any area of the home. If you’re in a similar situation, see this as an opportunity to add another beautifully handcrafted piece to your space with storage baskets that line the rim of your bed. You can always hide those unsightly storage items behind them.
Living a more minimal lifestyle (whether it’s due to your small space or to be kinder to the environment) may mean sticking primarily to essentials, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be luxurious.
Luxurious pillows and sheets aren’t just for hotels. There are many sustainable bedding materials to choose from, and these luxe upgrades make a big impact on a small space. If you’ve already packed a lot into a small bedroom space, order bedding in a solid, soothing color to give it a focal point that evokes serenity.
No matter what furniture you’ve tossed them over, throw blankets are another opportunity to personalize your small space with ease. Choose one from your favorite textile designer on Made Trade to add a bit of cozy contrast to your current scene.
Stonewashed linen is as beautiful and cozy as it looks in this photo — it’s the ultimate eco-friendly luxury. The process of stone washing gives it a lived-in look and feel, so it’s soft straight out of the package. It’s another great way to elevate your bedroom using just the essentials.
Slowly peruse each room of your home, and you’ll find there are overlooked essentials in every corner. These are those “can’t live without” items that you might not have considered could contribute to the overall look of your space. Now that a bath mat — a necessity that few people spend time thinking about — is the only item after the toilet and tub that fits in my bathroom, I have a newfound interest in how this little square of fabric looks and feels!
Be mindful of functional, ethical, beautiful things. Whether it’s a napkin, rug, or basket, if you focus on bringing in pieces that you need and have fallen in love with, you will never feel cluttered or overstuffed in your small space again!