What comes to mind when someone says, “think outside the box?” For me, it means to challenge unconventional ways of thinking as they relate to anything and everything! Because we’ve all been forced to live our lives in ways we have never experienced before (largely consisting of staying inside our homes for months on end), it isn’t hard to understand why many people are beginning to feel a bit cramped in their own homes. I’m hearing funny but honest tales of moms, once delighted to snuggle nonstop with their kiddos, now feeling like everyone in the house is on top of one another. While not everyone is able to make massive structural modifications to their homes right now, there are a few simple things that can maximize seating in your home and make life a bit more comfortable. Whether you’re in a three-level sprawling house or a one-bedroom apartment, I have a few tips and tricks to consider!

Take Advantage of the Square Footage

So, you bought the house of your dreams, or perhaps you moved into an apartment. Maybe you’ve been in your home for several years. Either way, we all have to tackle furniture placement and utilization at some point. People often shop for the pieces that catch their eye instead of ones that best suit the dimensions of the space. That beautiful, tufted couch in the ideal shade you’re obsessed with? It won’t be nearly as stunning in your home if it crowds the room in an unappealing way. Attempting to fit a couch, loveseat and accent chair in a smaller space won’t give you more room, it will dwarf it.

Instead, take advantage of every square foot of your space. But, do it in an effective manner. Opt for a sectional that can seat many people or can be configured in several ways. This will give you additional options to tailor the seating.

Toss the Typical 

We’re not going to be in a pandemic forever. Real life will blossom again. For now, those who have multigenerational families may find a need for more seating than the average household.

Rethink and redefine your furniture uses. You don’t actually have to have dedicated desks for the kids if your space doesn’t allow for it. Kids can sit at the bar with notebooks and supplies to complete homework, and they can easily enjoy a snack while they’re at it! A chair-and-a-half might seat one adult, but siblings can snuggle up in it together perfectly for movie night. When it comes to seating, comfort is KING! Don’t forsake the use of fluffy, oversized floor cushions or ottomans when you need to maximize your seating. The choices are endless.

Clever Ways to Maximize Your Seating

I find that there are usually more seating solutions than one would expect in almost any space. If your family’s home needs to conveniently seat several, consider options like a kitchen banquette instead of standard chairs, or a mixture of chairs on one side of your dining room table and a bench on the other. We’ve been hunkered down inside for so long that we’re all looking for ways to make our homes the refuge we need. Cozy nooks hidden away under staircases and bay window reading nooks definitely add a dash of comfort in unexpected ways. Sometimes I bring some of my outside chairs inside while entertaining (pre-COVID, of course). This is particularly advantageous when they feature performance fabric like Sunbrella that can be easily wiped off and cleaned.

If your family is in need of more space to spread out during this extended home stay, you’re not alone. As a designer, I’m no stranger to construction. However, if knocking down walls and restructuring your home isn’t on the immediate to-do list, I want to remind you that you have other options. Try some of these suggestions out to maximize your space for a happier home!

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