Dwelling in the city in a small space demands clever organisation and careful editing. We consulted Shini Park, graphic designer and style blogger, in order to pinch a few cheap yet chic tricks for getting organised.

Shini’s apartment over two floors in East London is a quirky mix of prized possessions and nifty design ideas. She sets vintage pieces against raw surfaces, creating an original, artisanal look with dashes of utility chic. It’s easy to bring the same creative spirit to any urban space, if you know how.

Ideas to steal

Top table

‘DIY your own table top by visiting B&Q, or your local reclaimed wood merchants, and nailing together a few planks of wood. Sand them down, paint them up if you like, and finish off with two coats of varnish. Then place on trestles (mine are from IKEA), and voilà: your own dining room table,’ says Shini. ‘I made a few different table-tops at one go, which I swap when I feel like a change of mood. If wood is hard to come by, order a barn door from eBay – just make sure the door doesn’t have grooves!’

Sort it out

‘Classify books and DVDs by colour. It’s a bit of a pain to find anything in the beginning, but it brings a sense of harmony to a room. Plus, after a while, you get used to looking for movies by colour (I go by this rule: comedy flick, usually white spine; action/suspense, usually black).’

Outside the box

‘We all have keepsakes and knick-knacks in our lives. Instead of hiding them away, collate them – which means you can enjoy them every day. Visit the IKEA laundry department for versatile shelving solutions. My shoe shelf is composed of uprights drilled into the wall, with holes to take brackets and shelves at any height I choose.’

Step it up

‘Use a garden plant ladder to store cosmetics and jewellery, along with a few potted plants, perhaps. Alternatively, treasured possessions organised on a window ledge or small console table add a personal touch to otherwise under-utilised space.’


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