For many, September is Back to School time. For some, this means helping their children get the most utilization out of a dorm room. But the same principles that apply to creating function in a small dorm room transfer to any small space.

When creating an organized space in any area of your home or (home-away-from-home) that you feel is “tight”, first consider the activities that the room needs to provide. For example, a student’s bedroom might need a sleeping, dressing and studying area. A guest room might need a sleeping, home office and exercise zone. Once you know the “zones” or activity needs for this space, you can address the “homes” of the items and furniture to do or house those activities.

In the following student chart, you can see how to think “Homes and Zones” for small spaces or any space. Once you know what you want to do in that space you can take measurements to help you determine what fits and how to best utilize your room’s wall placement.

Zone Home Supplies
Sleeping Twin Bed Bedding, Bed Risers, Roll Under the Bed Bins, Nightstand, Alarm Clock
Dressing Closet, Dresser Clothes, Shoe Rack, Shelf Extenders, Sweater Boxes, Hangers, Jewelry Box
Studying Desk, Wall Unit Lamp, Computer, Books, Office Supplies, Charging Station, Backpack


Once you begin to put “your room” on paper you will begin to realize exactly what you need/want/have and you can keep adding to your list.


3-drawer cart1. Always, look for multi-functioning pieces of furniture such as a sleeper sofa. Now your college student can sleep, entertain and study all on one piece or furniture. Your guest room now has similar capabilities. If you place a 3 Drawer Cart next to it, you now have a piece of furniture that triples as an end table, nightstand and dresser.

2. Go vertical. Not only do you want to go for multi-function but you also want to make the best use of you wall space as much as possible too. For example, a Fold-Away-Wall Convenience Desk can be tucked up and hidden when not in use. You can use hooks, shelves, shadow boxes, pegboard, corkboard, whiteboards, magnetic strips, and many other inexpensive solutions to get things off the floor and countertops.

towel rack3. Don’t forget about your doors. This Over-the-Door Towel Rack might be perfect on the back of any bedroom door if someone doesn’t have his or her own bathroom.
bed riser
4. And if Fung Sheui doesn’t bother you, put bed risers in place and viola you have extra storage space under the bed. Now you have a home for suitcases, sweater bags, winter boots etc.

5. Keep it simple. Whether it is the color scheme and amount of your clothing this semester or the number of trinkets you sprinkle in to decorate less is more. The less visual distraction in a small space the better.