How to Create More Space in a Small Apartment
It’s not your imagination. And you’re not stuck in a science fiction movie. Apartments are shrinking. From 2008 to 2018, the average size of a new apartment in the US (941 square feet) shrank by 5 percent. Rent, on the other hand, definitely did not follow suit.
Whether you’re living in a teeny studio apartment in the city, sharing a two-bedroom with too many roommates in the suburbs, or you’ve hopped on the tiny house trend and are realizing that yes, your new home really is that miniscule, it can be tough to live in a small space. While you do save money on electricity and there’s less to clean, it can also be hard to store you belongings, entertain guests, and feel comfortable.
Someday you may win the lottery and upgrade to a mansion, but until then, here are some tips on how to create more space in a small apartment:
Use Vertical Storage
If your closet and your massive shoe collection are less than compatible, it’s time to look up—literally. Using vertical storage in your home can free up space in your closet. You can install shelves or buy a freestanding shelving unit to make room for the stuff you need to store.
Use Hidden Storage
If vertical storage still doesn’t cut it, look for hidden storage in your home, or create it. The key is to look for storage potential everywhere. That can mean storing items under your bed or investing in furniture (such as a coffee table or ottoman) that offers hidden storage inside. Other possibilities include over-the-door storage inside cabinet doors and behind your bedroom door.
Get Furniture That Can Be Stored
A tiny apartment doesn’t need to be overwhelmed by furniture—especially if it’s just you living there. Have the essentials (couch, kitchen table, etc.) and ensure that additional furniture items, such as chairs for guests, are collapsible or foldable and easy to stow away.
Have a Drop-Leaf Table
Another game changer for small apartment dwellers who want to entertain often: a drop-leaf table. This allows you to have a small table that’s perfect for just you (or you and your partner/roommates) but can expand to fit more guests. In other words, you get the benefits of a big table without the commitment.
Make Purging a Regular Thing
When was the last time you cleaned out your closet and found things to recycle, sell, give away, or toss? If you can’t remember, it’s been too long. Make it a regular thing—it could be yearly, quarterly, even monthly if you’re up for it—and you will find that you magically have more space in your small home.
Digitize Paper Documents and Photos
Ditch all of the clutter that comes with paperwork and photos and enter the future. Digitize your documents by scanning them and storing them on a cloud service like Google Drive. We especially love the free Scannable app for documents. For photos, you can do it yourself or opt for a professional service to get it right.
Look for Kitchen Appliances That Multitask
Small apartments are notorious for super small kitchens. Create space in your small kitchen by opting for cooking tools that work smarter, not harder. From pans that boil, sear, steam, and saute to pressure cookers that broil and fry, there’s no need to have all of that cumbersome cookware crowding up your space.
Get a Storage Unit
Look, at the end of the day, there’s only so much shelving you can install and so many bulky sweaters you can donate. If you’ve done every item on this list and you still don’t have enough storage space—or even enough living space—it’s time to rent a storage unit. Rent is cheap, you can reserve online, and unlike your apartment, you won’t ever be locked into a lengthy lease.