Better Small Space Living

From iPad mounts to grown-up captain's beds, six new items to improve dorm life and beyond

Changing seasons are always a good time to refresh your space. With the coming school year in mind, we found the latest and best gear to make a small or any-size room more livable. From campus boxes to studio pads, we found six items to help maximize your home no matter the square footage.

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To minimize desk clutter and optimize your iPad, we’re backing Modulr’s hardshell case and slim wall mount. Aptly named, the modular system comes in both iPad 1 and 2 sizes, and in black, white and clear (preferred for its subtle aperance). The mount holds iPads snugly against any surface in either landscape or portrait orientations for an alternate monitor, bedside computer or even an interactive grocery list. The iPad 2 case and wall mount sell for $40 and $20, respectively. Other Modulr add-ons, including a strap and car seat hanger, make the accessory all the more functional.

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Gus Design Group’s magazine rack will do away with unkempt literary piles. The clever design of the stainless steel rack allows for easy organization. Head over to Gus to find a dealer or pick it up online from Bobby Berk Home for $295.

The classic small-space solution, the Captain’s Bed, gets an update with the Matera created exclusively for Design Within Reach. Keeping the storage drawers off the ground prevents the bed from dominating tight quarters, while also saving knuckles from rugburns. It’s available through DWR for $4,724.


Designed by Riki Watanabe in 1966, the Japanese cardboard folding stool still comes in handy for entertaining when room is tight, packing flat out of the way when you don’t need it. Sold in a variety of mod colorways, the DIY crowd will enjoy the white version, a blank canvas for making it uniquely yours. Spanning $30-60, grab it online from Tortoise General Store or Nova68.


A compact speaker system with robust room-filling sound, Hercules’ XPS 101 gets its power from 101 watts through two six-inch speakers and one subwoofer. The metal alloy speakers and wood-encased sub look great and fit neatly into modest-sized rooms without demanding attention. Look to Hercules for where to buy a set for yourself for $250.


A great part of small spaces is how much easier they are to clean, but keeping tidy is also imperative when you’re so intimately involved with every area of your home. One of our favorite cleaning product brands, Method recently released a new scent for their powerful all-purpose cleaners. The zesty clementine cleaner and dish soap swipe away grime without a greasy residue by harnessing the strength of its naturally-derived biodegradable agents. Check Method’s online shop where they both sell for just $4—affordable even for those on a college-size budget.

Contributions by Karen Day, Graham Hiemstra, Josh Rubin and Greg Stefano