Organizing a Small Cabin

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5 Ways to Maximize Space in a Small Cabin

Five tried-and-true tips from a small-cabin dweller:

Written by Megan Schetzsle
Photography by Megan Schetzsle
 

Our cabin is one open room & we try to complement that with the layout of the furniture.
 
 
Just because a cabin has a small total square footage doesn’t mean that it has to feel cramped. Cabins are usually incredibly functional in how their floor plans are designed the trick is learning how to make the most of them.
 
Whether your cabin feels perfectly cozy or a little cramped, there are a few tried-and-true ways to maximize your space. Here are my top five: 
 

1.   Create Open Space

 
One of the best parts of cabins is that most are built with open floor plans. This makes the cabin feel bigger and more spacious. Open space is also functional: there’s few walls to block the flow inside your home.
 
Maximize your open space by accentuating it. If you have an open floor plan or one large room, don’t place your furniture in areas that block the natural flow of the room. Aim to keep areas of your cabin open, instead of filling every square foot with furniture. Open space will make your cabin feel larger and provide room for everyone to spread out.
 
 

2.   Use Multi-Functional Furniture

 
Perhaps the most important space-saving trick on this list is to use multi-functional furniture. The best example of this is furniture that can double as storage: end tables with drawers, sofas with storage underneath–you get the idea.
 
Multi-purpose furniture will cut down on the amount of furniture that you need overall and declutter the space that you have.
 
 

Hooks & a shelf behind our wood stove turn what would have been wasted space into a little extra storage.
 

3.   Organize Storage

 
If you live in a small cabin, you may be thinking, ‘I never have enough storage!’ I’m definitely familiar with this feeling! When we moved into our cabin it was 600 square feet and half as small as the apartment we lived in before. Our storage space filled up on day one when we moved in.

Whether you have a lot or a little, it's all about what you do with the storage you do have. Read: get it organized! Instead of piling things high in closets or under beds, have a system for how you store things. Add shelves to closets or large boxes to categorize items. Stretch your storage farther by making sure that it’s part of a larger working system.

 
 
 

Built-in tall bookshelves behind our sofa have come in handy for storage.
 

4.   Add Tall Bookshelves

 
This tip is a well-known space-maximizing hack: think UP not OUT. Consider adding a tall bookcase to your space, for any one of these reasons: 
 
  • They add storage
  • They add storage that’s easy to keep organized: it’s already divided into shelves
  • They make a room feel bigger than it is because of their large size
  • They offer an opportunity to showcase your style and make a statement
 Bookshelves take up relatively small square footage and can have a big impact on a room.
 
 

5.   Choose Decor Wisely

 
Lastly, how you decorate your cabin makes all the difference in how it feels. Here are a few tricks to make a space feel clean, uncluttered, and cozy, not cramped:
 
●      Plants: adding fresh, green plants to a room can instantly make it feel like a brighter, more inviting space.
●      Color: choose your colors wisely! Too many contrasting colors will make a room appear cramped and cluttered.
●      Rugs: use area rugs to divide space in your cabin. Area rugs can open up a space by clearly dividing one space from another.
 
 
If you live in a small cabin and are challenged by your space, the answer doesn’t have to be adding more square footage: it can be thinking differently about the space you already have. Try these space maximizing tips and discover that your cabin is bigger than you thought it was!
 
 


About Megan

Megan lives with her husband and son in an 800-square-foot log cabin in Jackson Hole, WY. In search of a simpler pace of life, Megan and her husband took a leap of faith to pursue their own cabin dreams: they quit their jobs, sold what they own, and moved across the country from downtown Austin, TX to their mountainside cabin in Jackson Hole, WY. 

Megan runs her blog The Cabin Diary (www.thecabindiary.com), and can be found sharing day-to-day cabin life through social media (@thecabindiary).