Friday, September 5, 2008

Live Little and Prosper

There is a certain economy of scale that goes along with living in a studio (sometimes aptly called an efficiency) apartment. It's not for everyone, but if you like to live simply, and possessions are not that important to you, it's a great, inexpensive way to live.

Your need for furniture is minimal when you live in a studio. Think furniture that does double duty. A sofa bed can serve as both bed and sofa. A Murphy bed vanishes into the wall by day, or they even have some that convert into a sofa or table when the bed is not in use. A small desk placed behind the sofa bed, facing the TV cabinet, can be both desk and dining table. You only need one television when you have only one room. Some of you will be able to get by with just a laptop. These days you can watch TV and movies on a laptop, even use it as a phone with a VOIP provider ( Coffee tables are available that raise up to dining table height.

You may wonder where you can stash your stuff in a studio. Shelves covering one wall can provide hidden storage for everything. Just use some attractive boxes or baskets. Label neatly, or make yourself a master key of the contents of all the boxes. Some furniture, such as ottomans and chaise lounges have hidden storage inside. I recommend one of those closet organizers to maximize your closet's storage potential. If you have a conventional bed, there is room to store all sorts of stuff underneath.

You can also save a lot of energy living in a studio. Smaller, energy-efficient appliances, including refrigerators, dishwashers and small wall ovens are available. If you are just one person living alone, these are probably sufficient for your needs. Lighting needs are minimal. You probably won't require much heat or AC either. Insulated window coverings can reduce your need for both of these.

If you have access to a patio, balcony or even a sunny window, you can grow some of your own vegetables or herbs. If you don't have any outdoor space, at least grow some houseplants. Everyone likes to see something living and green. Your complex will probably provide amenities such as a pool, hot tub or gym. Let someone else maintain them. You just enjoy them!

Studio living will curb your desire to accumulate stuff. You will be more likely to borrow books from the library than buy them. You will own a few well-chosen outfits rather than shop indiscriminately. You may start to favor presents such as gift-certificates to movies and grocery stores, rather than more things you have to store. All of this will save you money as well as space.

Small-space living also liberates you from all sorts of chores and obligations. Such a small apartment will not require much cleaning. Use the freed-up time and energy to do something fun! You will obviously not be able to entertain on a large scale in such close quarters. Leave hosting the Thanksgiving dinner to another family member. Bring a pie.

You singles or minimalist couples out there, give studio living a try. I think you'll find bigger is by no means better.


donnanoonon said...

I love the idea of a Murphy bed! And energy savings sound great right now.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good to me right now...The huge garden, large house and STUFF is getting to be overwhelming!!!