Fed up of ‘tiny home’ renovation programmes that look like a mansion compared to your average-sized Hong Kong apartment? Aren’t we all. Whether you’re moving flats or just trying to clear the clutter, finding space in this city is no small feat. But to save you the frustration, we’ve put together seven savvy space-saving tricks that will help you make the most of your square footage – if you dare to DIY, that is.
1. Fix Some Floating Shelves
No self-respecting organiser is without magazine files. Whether you’re using them to file bills and invoices in a home office or simply hiding the inevitable clutter that comes with inhabiting a small space is irrelevant. But if you’re willing to repurpose these, they can provide you with some much-needed storage without taking up floor space. Pinterest boards and Facebook feeds are full of tutorials on how to upcycle magazine files into floating shelves.
2. Hide Your Junk in a Trunk
Glass coffee tables might be easy on the eye, but in a Hong Kong home, your furniture needs to look good and serve a purpose. If you have an eye for antiques, then a vintage trunk or case could double up as a coffee table or footstool as well as secret storage for bedding, linen, towels, and more. And the best part? Unless your new addition is in need of a paint job to spruce it up a little, there’s no DIY necessary here. While we may not have many flea markets in the city, online second-hand Classified groups can unearth some great finds.
3. Suddenly, Susan’s Not Out of Fashion Anymore
Lazy Susan’s shouldn’t be limited to the confines of a banquet table or a 1970s-era home. These practical little spinners can help utilise even the smallest of spaces, so why not fit one into a corner kitchen shelf, where all your spices, pots, and pans are well within reach without the obligatory game of utensil Tetris.
4. Stack Your Shelves
We’ll admit, this one isn’t for everybody, but if you’re one of the lucky few with high ceilings and ample space between them and the door frame, this makes for the perfect storage extension spot. From cubby storage to load-bearing shelves, these are a great alternative to standalone shelves that take up floor space. Just make sure you’ve got some steps nearby or a tall flatmate in tow to help you reach up there.
5. Spice Up Your Kitchen Storage
Spice racks – messy, overfilled, and full of unopened jars of herbs that we can’t even pronounce the name of. This is one area in particular that can benefit from a little streamlining, no matter how much you’re reaching into the cupboard. Magnetic spice pots come in all shapes and sizes and can double up as fridge magnets. Just be sure to make this strictly a spice rack, with no liquids in sight, and check out this helpful tutorial which takes you through the process step by step.
6. Leaning Ladders
If you’re looking for hanging space, but don’t want to deal with the renter’s remorse of covering up old hook placements when you eventually move out, then why not opt for a bamboo ladder. These can be easily found in furniture stores across town, and come in a variety of colours (you can also paint yours to match the decor of your room). Bamboo is a notoriously sturdy material, as anyone who has seen the iconic scaffolding in Hong Kong can attest to. You can use yours to hang newspapers and magazines, towels and blankets, or even potted plants.
7. Time for Your Party Trick
Let’s face it. In your average Hong Kong home, you’re not going to be entertaining the masses on a daily basis. Your dining table only really needs to accommodate residents in the evenings and on weekends, and even then, many of us find ourselves sofa bound with a delivery on our laps. To give yourself the option of either occasion, a drop-leaf table works best. When folded, it takes up a fraction of the space and can double up as a sideboard. IKEA’s version also includes storage in its mainframe – a great place for cutlery, candles, and odd bits.