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Breaking all the (small-space) rules

01 June 2015

‘I love living in small spaces,’ says Éléonore, ‘but I don’t believe in rules like having everything white and always putting function first.’ We visited her 35m2 apartment to find out how she makes it work.

View of living room. Neutral coloured walls and sofa are brightened with colourful textiles, art work, books and storage.

‘I have a layout that matches how I like to live – there’s space to work, space to rest and space to party.’

Éléonore outside the bright blue front door of her tiny Paris apartment.
Éléonore’s shoes are displayed on a ladder. The vintage chair is from her grandma’s attic.

Inside éléonore’s little nest

When it comes to city living, the question of limited space can’t be ignored. But do you always have to pick the most practical option if you love another one more? Éléonore says no! She believes whatever size your home, what matters is loving the things you live with, whether that’s a host of shoes (‘the ones on my ladder are the tip of the iceberg’) or pieces from grandma’s attic.

Éléonore’s tiny home doubles as an occasional office. A PS corner cabinet stores her camera collection.

‘My home doubles as an occasional office – positioning my desk out from the wall defines my “work zone”. The corner cabinet makes the perfect home for my collection of cameras.’

Living room shelves are crammed with books, objects and memorabilia organised by colour.

‘I like my shelves to tell a story. I know white things make your space feel bigger but colour makes me happy. So yes, my books are sorted by colour and the boxes and files I use to keep my paperwork in order are coloured!’

Open view of Éléonore’s kitchen space and view into bathroom.

‘I don’t cook a lot so I don’t need to store much in my kitchen. I designed the space so I can prepare simple dishes, quickly – I like to leave the time free for other things.’

Dark walls make a cosy bedroom nook. High shelves are used for storage.

‘I wanted my bedroom to feel like a cosy nook so I painted the walls plum. There isn’t room for a door but I fixed a track to the ceiling so I could put up a curtain for privacy. Space may be tight but the ceiling is high so I put shelves above the bed – out of the way, but great for storage!’

Ideas to try from éléonore’s small space

Customising her IKEA dining table made it the perfect height to eat at the sofa.

Get customising! ‘Chopping down the legs of the dining table made it the perfect height to eat at when you sit on the sofa. I use it day to day as a coffee table, but I can also extend the tabletop and create a “dining” table where my friends and I eat together.’

Colourful textiles brighten Éléonore’s white sofa.

Express yourself with textiles ‘Cushion covers and throws are so easy to update that I can have fun with them without making a big commitment. They introduce so much character to a space.’

Try a low-maintenance indoor garden ‘I kill all my plants! I’m not good at taking care of them, but I still want that sense of outdoors. All my hanging pots hold fake plants, and cacti are tough so I don’t have to worry about them.’

: Éléonore keeps her outdoor accessories in STOLMEN storage by the front door.

Rethink where you store things ‘I keep my outdoor accessories in STOLMEN storage by the front door – it makes a lot more sense to keep bulky things like coats there, out of the way!’

View of bathroom with mix of small cubbies, shelves and vintage mirror.

Be inventive with storage ‘Small cubbies and shelves dotted around the wall work better than big cabinets in my tiny bathroom. It’s also easier to organise, because everything lives in its own place.’

Streamline your wardrobe ‘I swapped my wardrobe for this shallower 35cm model and gave away a lot of clothes. For a long time I hadn’t enjoyed getting dressed. Now I can see what I have, it’s much more fun!’