Taller than avg person seeks furniture for smaller than average apt.
December 2, 2021 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I'll be moving from a private home shared with family into a small NYC apartment, and since the apartment is unfurnished I'd rather acquire some chosen pieces of new furniture than move around the existing furniture from the home. I could really use some opinions from current or recent apartment dwellers for things that I (a 6ft, 2inch person) can bring in.

The apartment is on the first floor of a building, so thankfully there's only one flight of stairs up from street level to deal with.

The basic layout is this: the apartment is technically a 1BR, but I'm fairly certain it was once a studio. The "living room" you enter when you come through the door is 12 ft x 10.5 ft, with the kitchen area lining one of the shorter sides and the two windows on the other short side. One of the long walls is unbroken -- I plan to mount a television somewhere there -- and the other side has a short hallway leading into the bathroom and the sliding door to the "bedroom".

I put "bedroom" in sarcastic quotes because it's 7.5 x 7.5 feet. The former resident said she managed to move a queen-sized bed into there, however that took up literally all the available floor space. (I think a full-sized is fine for my needs.) There's a third window in there, on the other side as the other two. There is also a closet. Both rooms have wooden floors.

Here's my thoughts on furniture recommendations: I'm looking to maximize the space available to me in the bedroom. I regret not thinking about ceiling measurements, are lofted beds with workspaces underneath still valid when you're an adult? I'll also need something with drawers, taller preferred rather than wide, for what doesn't fit in the closet, although I'd also like to hear solutions for fitting non-hangared things in a closet if you know any?

For the main room, that's where I'm going to eat, have a television, entertain some limited amount of guests. I'm torn between putting my computer in here or the bedroom, because I don't know if I can fit more than one flat surface table in the apartment. Will it be the same one for eating as I use for desktop work, or does the space allow for one in each room? I'd like two different ones if possible.

One interesting wrinkle: the former occupants had a sex chair which hung from a professionally made hole in the the ceiling leading to one the beams. It held the occupant and her now-husband (over 400 lbs together). Could I somehow mount a television hanging from that beam, is there such a thing as ceiling-hanging home entertainment shelf?

Anyway, feel free to drop any ideas or links or resources you know for a single person doing their best to maximize usable space in small apartment living.
posted by The Pluto Gangsta to Home & Garden (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're going to stay there for a while, I would consider a Murphy bed. They're generally expensive, though there's here's one on Craigslist for only $250. Some are made to have a desk or sofa underneath when you fold up the bed.
posted by pinochiette at 7:20 PM on December 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Lofted beds are ok for suitably nimble grownups, but if the ceiling isn't high enough for that to be comfortable, you could also just loft it "half" high, and use the underneath for storage rather than a workspace. If you're concerned about what's "acceptable" for an adult, I would suggest that in places like NYC, you're given much more leeway than normal, based on the cost per square foot. If you can save some space with an unconventional idea, your guests should be happier to have more room to sit than they are eager to nitpick your furniture.

The sex swing support beam is too good to not use somehow. Could you use it for stowable guest seating? There are lots of hanging chairs or hammock chairs. Or could you use it to pull something up to the ceiling when you don't need it?
posted by mrgoldenbrown at 7:45 PM on December 2, 2021 [6 favorites]

I'm not saying it's ideal but a past solution I used in a tiny NYC apartment was to hang a length of steel pipe from the ceiling over the foot of my bed using galvanized pipe strap anchored to the ceiling and use that as a clothes hanger. It only fell and almost killed me once, so, general success. Your dimensions are small enough that you could theoretically just run the pipe from wall to wall and anchor it on the studs, which would be safer.
posted by Wretch729 at 7:54 PM on December 2, 2021

I put "bedroom" in sarcastic quotes because it's 7.5 x 7.5 feet.

FYI, not a legal bedroom according to NYC code, which requires 8x10 (or certain other configurations this won't meet). Hope you're not paying for it like a one-bed instead of a studio.
posted by praemunire at 8:11 PM on December 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't do a lofted bed.

A loft bed in such a tight room will leave little space for climbing up and down. This could affect your ability to get out quickly in an emergency, such as a fire. And on a daily basis, I'm trying to imagine a tall person wriggling up and down when they have, say, a tummy bug.

I lived in a small DC studio for years, and my best piece of furniture was an antique coffee table with leaves that came up and down. I got it from my mom (she was an antiques dealer at one point), but it's a fairly common piece that's easy to find.

On a daily basis, the leaves were down and it was a coffee table. If I had friends over for drinks, games or dinner, I pulled the leaves up and spread floor cushions around for seating. Floor cushions in general take up little space and are great for extra seats.

If you want proper chairs, a friend had a set of folding table and barstools, which he kept on Command hooks on the wall until he needed them.
posted by champers at 3:50 AM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might look for a captain's bed (gothic cabinet craft sells them in NYC and the big furniture companies tend to sell them in the teen sections of their sites) - they're taller than normal beds and have a zillion drawers underneath. I think you can usually get them in twin and full sizes, and they can be set up for being in the corner of a room or freestanding, but you'll have to check you'll have enough space for the drawers to open given how small your bedroom is.

If you're not using all your hanging space in the closet, you have a couple of options. You could get a hanging rack (usually sold for shoes or purses) to use for foldable items, or you could get a tall, thin dresser and keep it in the closet. Also, think about how to use your closet floor space for storage (mine has a small filing cabinet and a few storage bins that hold sheets and towels). Also, don't forget that the back of your closet door can be used for storage -- a hanging shoe rack is good for shoes but could also hold a wide variety of dresser items.
posted by snaw at 4:55 AM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

My tall ex had a lofted bed with a desk and storage underneath in a similarly tiny bedroom when I met him many years ago. It didn’t look super sophisticated, but it was clearly necessary given the tininess of the apartment.

If you don’t go that direction, let me suggest underbed drawers. You can either get a bed with drawers in it, or with space underneath for separate drawers. Come to think, though, a room that small might not have room for the drawers to open.
posted by LizardBreath at 7:30 AM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

you should definitely get that murphy bed off craigslist.
i honestly just considered whether i should rearrange my whole apartment for it, but i cannot. you definitely should get a murphy bed if not that. Then you could put a small table + chair and a computer on there that could be used as a desk/bedtime tv.

thinking about your clothes hanging over the murphy bed-- once i had a home-maid set of hooks on a chair rail, a la an elementary school coat room.
i hung all my pants and button down shirts and tshirts, anything that wouldn't get damaged from the hooks. honestly, it looked great l as a texture and i could plan my outfits from bed and i didn't have a closet and i didn't need hangers. memail me if this interests you and i can dig up a photo.

for the sex swing mount- great opportunity for a camping hammock that could go up when the bed is folded away. eno brand hammock would be good for this.other ideas: use it as intended for a sex swing? a mount for a cool hanging lamp?

lastly, get some mirrors- especially hanging on the wall in square or landscape format. this is the key to making any apartment feel bigger. craigslist is good for this as is ikea.

welcome to new york!
posted by wowenthusiast at 8:01 AM on December 3, 2021

Just put the mattress on a metal bed frame and then set the legs on risers. You’ll have about 12” of clearance underneath for storage. IKEA sells a lot of options, get ones with a zipper to keep out dust and a handle to grab. An oversized comforter, bedsheet or a bed skirt will hide it. If you want a “headboard”, there are a ton of attractive peel and stick options that are removable.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:01 AM on December 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you want a lofted bed you should go for it. That being said the taller the loft, the bigger pain it is to make, and the more it can suck when one needs to use the toilet / is not feeling well.

There are also diy options for creating a more modest height lofted bed with ikea cabinets as a base.

Consider folding / drop leaf tables for more flexibility. I would use a tv mount to mount the tv to the beam or wall. (You probably want fbr tv mounts with adjustable arms).
posted by oceano at 8:36 AM on December 3, 2021

In those conditions I'd go for a twin-xl bed. That's not going to give you a ton of room for sharing the bed, but it's extra long (80" - 6' 8"), narrow enough to leave you floor space, while still being a sufficiently standard size to find a mattress, linens, etc. It sounds like you have a desktop computer - unless that's really important to you (i.e. gaming, but even there a laptop may make sense) get a laptop and accept that you're not going to be using it at a desk much.
posted by wotsac at 9:35 AM on December 3, 2021

These and these are great for non-hanger things in closets, and the second one gives you the option to hang something at the bottom (though your shirts will drag on the floor). We raised the hanging rod in one of our closets so we can fit 2 layers of hanging things without clothes touching the floor.

These shoe organizers are not great for big shoes (it only fits 1 large shoe per hole) but we use them in our closets to stash things like umbrellas, tote bags, sunscreen, baseball hats, extra toiletries, lint rollers, cleaning towels/rags, cleaning sprays, etc.

Are you allowed to hang storage cabinets above the bed (to studs, not to sheetrock, obviously)? That would get you more storage space. Check the lease, if you are allowed to make holes and just have to spackle after, that might be an option.
posted by never.was.and.never.will.be. at 10:53 AM on December 3, 2021

You can absolutely put non-hanger things in a closet. I've stored tees and sweaters and jeans in something like this hanging sweater organizer, and shoes in a similar hanging shoe organizer; both of those velcro over a closet bar and face outwards. Sometimes you can get them with matching fabric drawers that slide into the compartments, but those tend to be flimsy enough I only really used them for things like socks and underwear and gym clothes (the lightweight wicking kind, not sweatpants). Other friends put their dressers directly in their closets if they had few or no tall items to hang (winter coats, suits, dresses, a bathrobe).

Given you're trying to cram a bed into a much smaller space than I was, I second wotsac on the twin XL mattress and bed. It's the kind they use in college dorm rooms, and they measure 38"x80". Compared to a full size bed (54"x75"), you'll be saving something like 7 square feet of space, and much more likely to get drawers you can access fully.

I loved my full-size loft bed when I was in my first (studio) apartment, but it helped A LOT that the ceilings were 10' up (the main room was basically a 10' cube, with the kitchen, bathroom, small closet, and entryway tetrised into the other 100SF) and I'm only 5'0". I could sit up comfortably in bed without banging my head; my then-boyfriend was 6'2" and it was a little dicier for him (he could sit up straight but his hair would brush the ceiling).

I did not put my workspace under the bed, though; that would have felt too claustrophobic to me and I would've worried about banging my head standing up. (I had a low seating area and my dresser underneath instead, with the TV across, and my workspace perpendicular.) This still left me enough room to put a small cafe table and two dining chairs in the remaining corner, so I had different flat spaces for eating and for working. In your main room, which is bigger than my studio was, you definitely have enough space for two if not three different flat space areas for different purposes. At the very least, you can certainly put a coffee table in front of your sofa and eat/host there, and then use the remaining corner for a desk. You may even have enough room to "float" the sofa closer to the TV, rather than having it all the way on the wall opposite the TV, which might allow for a better space for your desk or a small dining table behind the sofa.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 11:16 AM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

I've found that a tall, narrow wardrobe with adjustable shelving is more accessible than drawers and able to hold bigger stuff like extra bedding. A tall bookcase or two can keep stuff off the floor and out of of way for cleaning. 2nding the hanging organizers mentioned above.
posted by brachiopod at 3:57 AM on December 5, 2021

Get this table for your dining room/desk area. Easily expandable, with storage!
posted by pupsocket at 12:05 PM on December 7, 2021

« Older Roblox subscription help: Sharing is not caring   |   Mystery triangle pin: what is this thing? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.