Ideas for living in a single-room space?

Not very clear title, sorry. I’m looking for advice and maybe links about breaking up a single large space (approx. 1000 sq. feet) into a nice living space for two people. Think a single story or basement of a medium-size house, with nice finished floors, walls, kitchen space and bathroom, but not broken up into separate rooms.

I am looking at places to live in another state (just got the final word on my new job today- WOOT!) and I’ve come across a few places that fit this description in nice locations and for very good prices. The problem is that the fiance and I have been living in a lovely 2-bedroom, 2-story apartment for the last 4 years, and another one comparable before that. We have lived in a one-room efficiency, but it was less than half the size of the ones I’m looking at now and we lived out of cardboard boxes and a mattress on the floor was the extent of our furniture. We were just out of high school and had zero money and less than zero nesting drive. We’ve progressed, and I don’t want to downgrade too much.

I’m not looking to live in a showplace, but some division would be nice- a closed off “bedroom” for the bed and some dressers, a semi-separated studio area where I can set up my screenprinting and bookbinding tables (2 Ikea 6-foot long things- not a huge amount of space, but I need to be able to have shelving and dropcloths and such there to so my work), a computer workstation area for the fiance’s video editing and eBay stuff, and a dining room/entertaining area to have dinner parties (mostly sushi or crepes- we’re very white in some ways). We are also looking at packing away the big TV (since it will be obsolete when the HD changeover happens, anyhow) and setting up a home theater dealie with a wall-mounted screen and an LCD projector (I’ve got a source), which will cut down on the space that the entertainment stuff takes up when we’re not using it- wheel the projector away, retract the screen and push the couch to the wall- voila! Instant free space.

We do have tons of books, records and movies- at least 400 paperbacks from the “we definitely need to keep these accessible” pile alone, and that doesn’t count magazines, comics and art books. So bookshelves will be a part of our plan regardless. I guess I’m just looking for more inspiration- how have you dealt with similar setups, or seen them dealt with? We’re more into function than “design,” but I find that something that functions really well usually looks great doing it, at least it looks great to me.


These links may help:

Thanks- I wouldn’t have thought of doing a canopy bed, but the mention of such in the first link got me thinking. Not so much for use at night, I think I’d suffocate, but to have curtains I could draw around the bed during the day to neutralize the whole “and here’s where we sleep… and don’t sleep (heh heh)” vibe without closing off a larger space. Maybe I’ll start looking for some nice fabric and print a design on it- Art+usefulness+ fun!

DO you have HGTV (the cable station)? They have a show called Small Space, Big Style

They also have a whole section on their site for “small space” ideas:

Are you aware that there’s a government coupon program for purchasing converter boxes for analog TVs? They’re worth $40 and will get you a basic box to convert the digital signal to your analog TV.

I’ve used an Ikea clothes wardrobe as a divider for a bedroom area. You just have to find one that looks nice on all four sides.

You might look at design ideas for loft conversions.

In my old school, married students started out in an alcove studio of about 500 square feet, much smaller than your space. The most popular room-dividing option was a set of bookcases, but I always found that heavy, dark, and inflexible. IMO, the best version I ever saw involved a light curtain that divided off the bedroom alcove from the rest of the space, since during the 98% of the time that they didn’t have anybody over, they could leave the whole thing open, but when they wanted visual privacy for the bed area they could close it off.

Besides just visually dividing the bedroom off, I’d consider sound. E.g. one of you wants to sleep while the other watches TV. To some extent you can get around that with headphones and/or earplugs. Maybe some heavy drapes between the spaces would help deaden the sound.

Good idea. Ikea has lots of bookcases and racks that can be used as room dividers.
For instance, put a couple Billy bookcases (about 50 USD apeice) back to back and you’ve got a temporary wall.

Japanese futons can easily be folded up and put into a closet. American ones, on the other hand, are closer to normal matresses, too heavy to lift, though they can still be folded. While it’s unlikely that you could find a Japanese futon in the US (though they’re perfectly comfortable, oddly), you can find American style ones, and they quite often are sold alongside frames that will bend them into being couch shaped or otherwise hidden. There’s no particular reason for them to be uncomfortable if you try how they feel.