21 Tips to Make Your Tiny Living Room Feel Bigger
At long last, you’ve found your dream apartment, but there’s a (tiny) twist: It’s a bit on the small side. We’ve already established that tiny homes can be totally glam, so there’s no need to worry — less is more in the small space movement. When your tiny apartment is less than 500 or — gasp! — 300 square feet, just follow our small space living series, where we take on the design challenges of a tiny apartment from room to room. This week we’re kicking off the series with our favorite lounging area: the living room. Read on for our space-saving tips below and be sure to check back next week for part two of our series!
1. Get Low: Stick to low furniture. Short coffee tables like the one above create the look and feel of higher ceilings. (via Front + Main)
2. Legs for Days: Instead of bulky couches, chairs, and tables, opt for leggy mid-century furniture. The thin legs take up less visual space, so you’ll have plenty of room for more decorative pieces. (via SF Girl by Bay)
3. Secret Storage: Get furniture with hidden storage, like ottomans, benches or this West Elm Industrial Storage Coffee Table ($599).
4. Invisible Shelves: Decorate, organize and de-clutter the room with floating invisible shelves. Bonus if you decorate an odd corner of the room! (via A Beautiful Mess)
5. Shelf Life: New York and San Francisco renters, in particular, have lots of unused wall space. Take advantage of the walls of your apartment and add a mounted bookshelf to small wall areas. (via The Learner Observer)
6. Hidden Storage: A couch with storage gives you more ways to hide away blankets and pillows when not in use. (via Front + Main)
7. Feeling Cozy: Soft textured pillows, pastel rugs, and a mirrored coffee table will make any person want to hang out and cozy up in your living room, no matter how big or small it is. (via Best Friends For Frosting)
8. Bud Up: Decorate with potted plants of all shapes and size to bring life to your living room. (via Fall For DIY)
MORE IDEAS TO CONSIDER:
9. Go Higher: If your apartment doesn’t come with any pre-existing shelves or you want to avoid clutter, an alternative is to add shelving above doorways — a part of your walls that’s often ignored, but makes a great spot for storage that’s not in your face. (via House Beautiful)
10. Love It or Lucite: Use clear lucite, acrylic or plexiglass coffee and side tables to create the illusion of more space. Plus, they’re light and easy to move around. (via OMG Lifestyle Blog)
11. Get as Bright as Can Be: If your living room doesn’t have enough natural light or you want to create a livelier visual space, choose bright and printed rugs that pop and add pattern to your living room. (via Style Me Pretty)
12. Go Bold: While there may be design constraints, there aren’t any strict rules when it comes to the color choices of your small space. If your living room has white walls, opt for a bright colored sofa to contrast and liven up the space. (via My Domaine)
13. On the Windowsill: Use our windowsill as a side table for putting small decor items. (via Decor8Blog)
14. Under the Table: If you have an unsightly radiator (AKA, you live in an NYC apartment), get a table or shelf that fits over it so you can use the space for plants or books. (via Apartment Therapy)
15. Good as New: Vintage school desks are easy to find and could be used as a small office or hobby desk for your living room. (via Apartment Therapy)
16. Tuck It In: Tuck stools underneath the console table or coffee table to save extra space. (via My Domaine)
17. Mirror, Mirror: Use framed mirrors as wall art. They create visual interest while creating the illusion of more space. (via Milk Decoration)
18. About Facing Outward: With a small apartment, you don’t want you or your guests to face a wall since it could feel a little claustrophobic. Face the couch toward the window or entryway so you’re always facing out. (via Fashion Squad)
19. Mini Office: No office? No problem. Use a wall-mounted desk to add a small workspace to your living room. (via Chic Sprinkles)
20. Curtain Call: Place curtain rods just below the ceiling. By doing so, you’ll make the room look taller. (via Suzy Hoodless)
21. Double Duty Trunk: A storage trunk doubles as a coffee table, plus it adds style with an old-world look. (via Advice from a Twenty Something)
Does your living room have the small-space syndrome? Show us by tagging us @BritandCo!
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Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com