Small Space Design Q&A

Does it feel like I’m making too many changes to the blog for you? I hope not! I just keep wanting to cater to each incredible reader and follower and make sure I’m the best possible resource. So recently, I asked Instagram to send over any questions they have for me. Most of the submissions were in the small space design category, so that felt like a natural fit. Today I’m answering them — but be sure to let me know in the comments if you have additional small space design questions I can answer!

Q&A: Answering Your Best Small Space Design Questions

Where do I put my bike in my tiny apartment?

You’re all going to laugh at me about this: I don’t know how to ride a bike. But Sean does, so I still feel like I can answer this question! In the summer, we keep Sean’s bike in the backyard, tucked behind the chicken coop. But not everyone has a yard, so I would recommend a stylish wall mounted bike rack. You can embrace the bike as art and horizontally mount it with a beautiful wooden rack or find a smaller nook (perhaps by the front door or near a laundry area) and vertically mount it with this type of rack. I love that the vertical one also has a bumper to protect your wall!

What are your “go to” sources when trying to make a space look fresh on a budget?

When working with a tight budget, my first suggestion is to ALWAYS check thrift stores first. The Emerald Palate shared a great list of antique stores in Seattle. I didn’t want to copy her, so you should just check out her post! Plus, there’s always Craigslist, Offer Up, and Facebook Marketplace.

If none of those work for you, these budget-friendly stores always help me. Sign up for their email newsletters to stay on top of sales and coupon codes for additional savings, too!

  • Ikea (especially if you do a hack)
  • Urban Outfitters
  • H&M — I am always blown away by how stylish their decor is.
  • World Market
  • Wayfair
  • Target — they are really stepping up their game with new collections like Project 62, Threshold, and Magnolia.
  • Amazon — again, another company really stepping things up!

How much have you invested into your home? I’m starting a reno and would love to know!

I feel like I should know the answer to this… but I don’t. Instead what I can do is breakdown some of the fixes we’ve had to make + what they cost:

  • new roof: $9000
  • new water heater + installation: $1000
  • new washer/dryer: $1200 (pro tip: I bought them on sale and through my credit card’s portal so I got 15x points. I am SO working on getting a free honeymoon.)

And despite having amazing sponsors for most of our renovations, we still pay out of pocket for materials, subcontractors, and unforeseen expenses. With that in mind, here’s what I estimate having spent for each of the rooms I’ve shown here on the blog:

How do we add that wow factor to a room that is more than just ‘looks good?’

There are a few ways to do this, but mostly I believe that adding wow factor is about going with the unexpected and bringing some element of drama. You can do this a few ways:

  • print mixing — I always LOVE playing with ways to mix print and pattern. I recently started a Pinterest board all about this.
  • unexpected scale — bring in one piece that is a dramatic scale, so maybe a large mirror, tall arc lamp or floor lamp, or a statement plant.
  • dark paint — you know me… I’m all about that accent wall! The most dramatic element of our dining room is the navy blue wall. If you take away that one piece, the rest of the space feels pretty basic. But the pop wall makes it, ya know? Check out my tips for using dark colors in a small space for more on this.

How do you and your fiancé carve out your own spaces in a small house?

My personal space comes in the form of a good bathtub soak. Sean knows when the bathroom door is closed, I am not to be disturbed. Mostly, we just respect closed doors. Also, if someone needs space, they will go for a walk or a drive. And if we’re ever arguing and really need alone time… Sean goes to the boat.

Where do you store all your camping and activity gear in your tiny house?

I almost didn’t answer this one because I’m a little ashamed to admit that we store all of it in my future father-in-law’s basement 3 blocks away. YUP, I know. I’m exposed. We’re currently brainstorming ways to move all of our gear to the tiny bungalow though. Some options we are considering include:

  • building seating in our dining room under the window that can lift up to be storage.
  • getting a storage bed.
  • using a second shed for gear.
  • finishing the attic space more.

Attic bedrooms (with sloped ceilings)… embrace it with a dark paint color or go light and airy?

This is a tough one… but personally, I always dream of bright white and airy attic bedrooms. I’d totally go light for this!

How do I make a DIY frame?

Rather than do a full DIY post about this, here are some bloggers who’ve done amazing tutorials on this (and this video seems really good, too):

Storage in a smaller house… how to do it?

I’ve shared lots of posts on this! Here are some that are especially helpful:

Thank you SO much to everyone who submitted questions. Some of the questions I received are way more involved than this quick Q&A post can cover. But fear not! I am going to tackle those individually as blog posts. So if you submitted a question and don’t see it here, stay tuned for those.

photography & styling by Jojotastic.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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