Living in a tiny house or apartment definitely brings with it some unique challenges. Here are 7 big ideas for living in a small apartment. These just may be the perfect tips for small apartment living that you’ve been looking for.
7 BIG IDEAS FOR LIVING IN A SMALL APARTMENT
Are you looking to move into a small apartment?
What about downsizing to a tiny house?
Maybe you’re leaving the nest for the first time and starting your college adventure in a dorm!
Whatever your small space living situation might be, these 7 tips for small apartment living may answer some of your questions (and may prove to be helpful if you already live in a small home).
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And, if you’re still on the fence about where to move for the first time, check out these 10 best places to live in your 20s… heck, maybe even your 30s or 40s!
How Can I Make the Most of My Small Space?
My number one answer to this question is…
Think double-duty for furniture pieces. Heck, think triple-duty!
Create practical living areas and spaces in a small apartment or home by using furniture that serves two or three purposes.
What type of furniture works for more than one purpose?
- Window benches with storage inside. These work for seating, storage, and even a ‘faux mantel’ when you don’t have a fireplace!
- Turn a dresser into a media console. It makes a great place for your TV, creates storage for media, holds pillow covers (well, mine does) and so much more. And… it’s super fun to decorate!
- Add a portable island to your kitchen. A kitchen cart adds much-needed prep space, storage, and can also be used for dining.
- Use side tables and/or nightstands that have drawers/shelves. These types of tables make great places to store books, pens, paper, Bibles, candles, and more, plus the top can hold a light fixture, clock, beverages, etc.
Invest in Furniture That Fits but Doesn’t Crowd
While it’s great to use your furniture for double-duty, don’t get furniture that is too big or use too many pieces that will over-fill your room. This will crowd your small space and can often be uncomfortable and feel claustrophobic.
In My Wee Abode’s living room, there is a small, comfortable loveseat, the media console, and window bench. At one point there was a side table that also served as storage for candles and melts. Recently, the table has been moved out of sight (can you guess where it is?), in order to make the room look less cluttered. I may get a small open side table to place by the sofa, but at this point, I think the open space looks better.
What do you think? Do you like the before or after (and let me know why in the comments)? (Oops, my secret storage area isn’t so secret in this photo!)
You can get more great tips for furniture placement in a small space from this post at Apartment Therapy.
How Do You Get More Space in a Small Apartment?
You create more space in a tiny home by thinking outside the box (literally) for storage. More things stored can often translate to your space looking and feeling larger.
This is similar to tip #1, but let’s get crazy with some unique storage solutions, shall we?
When looking for extra storage, think about ‘everywhere’ in your small home. Even a studio apartment (which is the size of my tiny loft) has LOTS of different areas to create organized spaces. Such as…
- Under the sofa or loveseat (or any furniture on legs). Store flat items such as wood and poster boards for projects and crafts, low profile containers that can hold seasonal clothes or faux florals, etc., and even books! When you enter my little apartment, you don’t even know there is ‘stuff’ stored under the loveseat (unless I post a photo on my blog that shows it!) 😉
- Go up! As in vertical. Add portable shelves to the built-in shelf in your closet. Add hooks to the walls (as high up the wall as you want) to store backpacks, purses, jackets or even dresses (more on that in my “Closet of Shame” post, coming soon).
- Add shelves above windows and doors to store books or pretty containers that can hold necessary items. Install open shelving on a wall or two (like in my bedroom and kitchen).
- Add small drawer units in closets, or build small, pretty chests of drawers for a bathroom (again, coming soon).
How Do You Decorate a Small Apartment?
Many times, when we live in a small apartment or tiny home, or even a dorm, we think we need to decorate with lots of little things.
My mantra is… Go big or go home!
Now don’t get me wrong, the little things are wonderful and definitely have their place.
But in a small home, lots of tiny decor can, again, create a crowded and cluttered look.
Declutter your home a bit and use larger items when decorating a small living space.
Using one large vase on a side table or media console can be much more appealing than a few small vases and some cute little tchohckes (again, a bit of this is wonderful and lovely… but just not all over the room.)
Having a large piece of wall art or wall hanging may be a better choice than a wall gallery.
Ask Yourself One Simple Question
Before bringing a new piece of furniture or decor item into the home, ask yourself this one question… “Do I know what I will do with it (or, do I know where it will go)?”
Okay, that’s two questions, but you really only need to ask yourself one of them.
Pssst, I have a confession to make.
Come closer… and let’s keep this between you and me, k?
Since living in MWA, I have not asked myself this question NEARLY enough (thus one of the reasons my ‘closet of shame’ post is taking so pickin’ long to get done… WAYYYY too much to purge and declutter…see what I mean?)
(But, wait until you see it when it’s finished! BTW, they can’t all be good photos… keepin’ it really real here!)
If you don’t ask yourself one of these questions when you’re making a purchase, you, too, will have a ‘closet of shame’ that will take you days to purge, declutter, and clean.
BTW, if you want some wonderful, grace-filled tips on how to organize your home, check out THIS POST from Harbour Breeze Home… You will be blessed!
Yes, there are plenty more questions to ask yourself, but I really think asking yourself first-off, “What will I do with this?” is a good starting point. If you don’t know what you will do with it (or where it will go), put it back on the shelf at the store and don’t purchase it! You’ll thank yourself later. 😉
What Colors Are Best for Small Spaces?
Small apartments, tiny houses, studios, and dorms all benefit from a light and airy color palette.
Neutrals tones in whites, grays, and tans tend to ‘open up’ a room and gives the illusion of a larger space.
Ways to use neutrals in a small living space:
- Light-colored walls and ceilings. White ceilings are always on-trend. Look for wall colors in an array of whites, grays, beiges, and greiges (beige/gray mix). Do you see a color theme going on here?
- White/tan/gray seating, as in sofas, loveseats, and chairs, are great for a light and bright room. Make sure to have furniture colors that compliment the wall colors (or vice versa), but aren’t exactly the same.
- Area rugs in neutrals give the effect of a larger floor space (be sure the rug is the appropriate size for the room, unless you intend to cover
uglyso-so carpet, then go BIG)
- Light wood and light colored painted furniture
- Throw pillows in neutrals or complimenting colors
- (and, make sure to add texture to a neutral palette… this will add interest and ‘warmth’)
How Do I Maximize Small Closet Space?
You just might not like this answer…
Be wise with your wardrobe.
Closet space is in high demand in a small apartment or tiny house, so take care when deciding to add more to your wardrobe.
Again, ask yourself a question or two… “Do I REALLY LOVE this piece of clothing?” and “Will I get a lot of use from this _____ (dress, skirt, jacket, etc)?”
And, when you do decide to add to your wardrobe, purchase items that work with several outfits.
Being ‘choosey’ when buying new clothes will help you save space in your closet/dresser.
How Can I Organize My Clothes without a Closet?
And speaking of maximizing a small closet space… Some studios and dorms don’t even HAVE a closet! So, what do you do with your clothes?
I say, create a closet!
The best DIY in My Wee Abode, and by far my favorite home improvement, is this stand-alone closet in my bedroom!
Yep… you can add a closet to your small apartment, tiny house, or even a dorm room with NO power tools and less than $75!
Learn more about adding a simple closet to any space HERE!
How Can I Add My Style to a Small Apartment?
The easiest, and often most affordable, way to add your own style to your small home is to make things easy to change or remove.
Often times we want to add our own personal flair to our studio apartments, townhomes, and dorms. But many times these types of living spaces are rental homes, which present a challenge to creating our own ‘look’.
However, we can put our own ‘spin’ on our homes by adding style that is easy to change or remove. How do we do that?
- Add removable wallpaper (be sure that your walls are smooth… no guarantee that removable wallpaper will adhere to orange-peel textured walls)
- Create a temporary accent wall with simple wood trim and tiny finishing nails (board and batten look)
- Paint your walls and ceiling (you can always paint them back… and it takes less than a day to do one room)
- Lay removable vinyl on flat surface floors (more on that soon)
- Update countertops for under $50 (another of my all-time fave improvements in MWA)
Now It’s Your Turn
So, have you implemented any of these ideas in your small home? Which one is your favorite? Share with us in the comments what else YOU do in your home to make it more efficient and feel larger. I love reading your comments, and it’s so wonderful learning from each other!