After I moved into my tiny studio, I started paying a lot more attention to interior design because the place needed some personality to make up for the lack of square footage (although the small space has turned out to be an advantage - I can Swiffer the entire place in about 45 seconds).
Before I discovered a blog or bought Elle Decor, I researched feng shui to learn the principles of design from the time-tested standard and realized I have totally been missing one of the most basic and easy-to-follow rules of space layout and here it is: Imagine your place flooding with water, starting at the front door and rushing through your place all the way out the back door (or window). If there is not a natural path for the water to flow, you've got bad energy and some rearranging to do. Genuis!
My galley kitchen, according to my Google research, had some serious feng shui issues. I got right to work applying the principles, adding layers of light, organizing my bakeware, and handing unused appliances over to Goodwill. The one rule I got stuck on was making the kitchen the center of my home with space to seat friends. My tiny 2-seater table wasn't going to cut it.
I spent weeks reading design blogs until I discoved the perfect solution: A stainless steel island! Then, I spent a few more weeks trolling Overstock and Craigslist. When I spotted this Ikea DACKE island for $80, I immediately called a minivan taxicab to take me to pick it up (didn't you know D.C. Yellow Cab is also an effective moving service? Door-to-door service and even some heavy lifting, free of charge). That night, I put the island together and it was worth the hours spent agonizing over which screwdriver fit where. It has room for 5 stools, storage for my pots and pans, and immediately pulled my apartment together into a little home. Thank you, Sweden.