A 1 bedroom suite designed for you and your specific living activities, can take a bit of trial and error to get just right. I’ll show you how we arranged our 1 bedroom suite, and explain my thought process to help you plan your suite’s perfect set up.
As you test out what works best in your small apartment, you will in all likelihood have to live in the space for some time with your first arrangement. Then, you can change things to improve the space, and most likely you will change it again as you live on.
When we moved into our now one bedroom suite, we had to downsize and totally re-imagine our living spaces. I have moved it several times in search of the perfect layout for us. That is why, a 1 bedroom designed for you takes a few tries to find the perfect set-up. You will live in your design, and make improvements over time.
How I made a one bedroom suite designed for us
To work out our living room design, I knew we needed a few areas to truly make it home.
In my initial planning, I thought about:
- What kids of areas we needed, and
- What furniture pieces we have to fit in and support these areas
Finally, I would arrange, stand back, re-arrange. Live, and come back for re-arrangements.
Start with a list of your desired areas
It helped to begin with a list of the areas we needed to live well. For example, I need an desk area where I can set up my office, which includes a computer screen and telephone lines to work each day.
My husband loves tinkering with tools and reloading ammunition, so I knew he would need a space of his own where he could unpack and leave his tools out for a while.
We are advent gardeners and begin our seedlings for the growing season indoors at the start of the new year. So, so we need an area for our seedlings to grow and hangout as the mature.
We also enjoy lounging and entertaining from time to time, so we need a living room with couches to make this possible.
Our 1 bedroom is separate from the living area, so we could designate that for our sleeping area.
In our living area, which surrounds the kitchen in an open floorpan, we needed the create the following spaces:
An office (for me)
A work table (for Walter)
A living room with comfortable seating, and
A neat storage/seedling starts area
Next, take a real good look at your furniture pieces
For big furniture items, we have 2 desks, 2 chairs, and 2 couches.
We needed to get creative with our furniture allocation. Big bulky pieces make a 1 bedroom design really full. It can easily look cluttered if the design is not well thought out.
We received most of our furniture for free when we got married. It may be a bit bulky for our small living area, but we did not feel it necessary to buy new pieces of furniture at this time. My husband is good at encouraging me to use what we have, and I like the design challenge to make something work that that doesn’t totally work at first glance.
Another few things we needed to squeeze in was our library of books, seedling cabinet for plant starts, a filing cabinet, Walter’s big toolbox and 3 smaller toolboxes (that can stack), and a bicycle. We also have a small standing freezer to make apart of the arrangement.
Arrange, stand back, re-arrange
This is where you really see how to make a 1 bedroom suite designed for your needs.
Lay out furniture out in a manner that you think best, then stand back and reevaluate. I usually review: “does it look good from another room?” and, when you walk into the space “what is the first area that catches my eye?”. I have also left the house and walked in, to get the feeling that others would feel when they walk in. This helps me move a desk over a few feet, or relocate decor items that look out of place from other areas of the house.
3 Clever tricks to make a 1 bedroom designed for you
1. Extend your island
We did this by adding the standing freezer beside our kitchen island. This worked well in that the freezer didn’t have to be a sore to the eye on it’s own, but beside the island it looks like a continues piece of the island. This is pleasing to the eye and makes it possible for us to have an extra stand up freezer in a small space.
2. Arrange your desk to look at a door or exit
This design trick makes a massive difference to the look and feel of an office area. This is especially unique in a 1 bedroom suite where every nook needs to flow into the others. Most importantly, it’s is very good for your mental health to look past your computer screen at a door or exit if possible. A window is a good second if you don’t have any other options, but a wall is not the best arrangement.
The trick with this design element is what to do with the computer screen cords, and getting used to looking at the back of a screen. Although, looking at a computer screen from the front isn’t much different. If possible, get a white computer screen instead of a black screen, because I found this made a big impact to the design flow of a room. Not having a big black square in your room is a relief to the view.
3. Make a two sided office desk
If you are pressed for space and need two people to use a desk, it is possible with a little bit of minimizing. We have one work desk that can rise up and lower down. This was a great health benefit because I could stand and work during the day when I wanted, but sit down when I needed a break.
We planned to share the desk space, since Walter mostly works on his desk in the evenings or over weekends when I’m not working. So we added chairs to both sides of the desk and added a lift to the computer screen for extra storage below it. Sharing the desk was a great idea, as long as we kept it tidy.
Watch our 1 bedroom summer layout
See how we laid out the living area of our 1 bedroom suite in this simple video.
Visual tour of our 1 bedroom suite designed for us
Next, find a few photos from various angles of our living area. The photos will show you how the kitchen flows into the living room, then into the office, and finally into the “sort of hidden” storage and seedling area.
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