A small world

Space-saving tips for families.

June 26, 2011

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• There’s a tendency to add built-ins to smaller spaces, says Maggie Booz, principal of Smart Architecture in Cambridge. “Ask yourself if you’ll use it in 10 years,” she advises, “because while the look is clean and uncluttered, you lose versatility.”

• Don’t invest in a pricey homework desk, built-in or otherwise. “I can’t tell you how many unused ones I see,” Booz says. Most kids do homework at the dining room table or kitchen counter, she says, or on the floor where they can spread out.

• Most children go through a few different beds as they mature. When renovating, consider all phases. For example, if you think bunk beds might be in the cards, make sure

you don’t renovate yourself out of a large wall with ample headroom.

• Beware of kid-sized fixtures. Unless you have a dedicated nursery bath, skip the pint-sized sinks and toilets. Ditto for minuscule mudroom cubbies. In closets, hang one bar at standard height and another below it that can be removed when no longer needed.

• Think twice before adding permanent toy storage to rooms that might need it only temporarily, like the dining room. Instead, consider bins on casters that you can easily move around (and someday out of) the house.