Whether you’re living on a boat or in an RV full time, or just in a small apartment, it can be challenging to stay tidy and organized. The key to making a small space feel comfortable is to find creative ways to utilize every inch of space. These small space living hacks and apart organization ideas will help you squeeze in every last thing you need to make it feel like home.
1. Keep Furniture Small and Moveable
I saw a lot of people who live in micro-apartments relying on furniture that can be moved to accommodate different functions. If you have an apartment with a dining table that can be easily moved out of the room, you’ll be able to convert the space to accommodate a dinner party or a date night with your S.O.
You might also consider getting a small sofa that can easily be moved out of the way to create extra space for a party. People who live in small spaces also use bar carts to store a lot of their belongings, which are easily wheeled out of the way when not in use.
2. Keep Everything in Its Place
One of the keys to living in a small space is to keep everything you own organized and easily accessible. If you have to spend time searching for things, you’re going to feel like your space is small. That’s why it’s important to have designated spots for everything and to keep everything in its place. A good way to do this in small closets is to use stackable drawers or storage cubes.
3. Become a Savvy Shopper
Even if you live in a tiny studio, you can still have a lot of stuff. And that stuff can take up a lot of space. So it’s important to learn how to be a savvy shopper. You can also shop at stores like IKEA that are known for their small-space solutions. Also, buy things like glasses at the dollar store and dishes at thrift stores.
4. Make the Most of Vertical Surfaces
Make the most of vertical surfaces like walls and the back of doors. You can put toiletry bags and hooks in heavy rotation. You can also use baskets and hooks to store towels_a great way to keep them off the floor.
5. Think Outside the Box — Literally
While I’m not a particular fan of box furniture (unless you’re talking about the storage kind), I have to admit that it can be useful in small spaces. Use storage cubes to house smaller items like bedding and books. If you’re living in a studio, you might want to think about building a Murphy bed. If you don’t have room for one, you can always use the space underneath for storage.
6. Create a “No Mess Zone”
This is a concept I’ve talked about in the past, and I saw it in action in a lot of small apartments. If you have a small living room or a small dining area, you might not want to have a lot of stuff out on the table. So designate one space as “the messy zone” and another as “the no-mess zone.” When you want to have a barbecue with your friends, you can roll out the grill in the messy zone. When you want to enjoy a quiet dinner with your S.O., you can set the table in the no-mess zone.
7. You Don’t Need to Compromise on Furniture
A small apartment doesn’t mean you have to go without quality furniture. However, to add quality furniture, there are a couple of things you need to do for the fit. Use ottomans to make the most of your limited space. Also, you can buy a smaller version of a piece of furniture you already own. You can even try to get a bigger piece of furniture — then scale down the size of your other furniture to make the room feel bigger.
8. Make Most Out of The Walls
If you’re feeling a little claustrophobic in your tiny apartment, you can use your walls to create the illusion of more space. Use creative ways to display your belongings on the walls. Framed artwork is a great way to make the most of a wall. Add more shelves to store things like books and accessories.
9. Put Holes in The Wall
Don’t hesitate to put holes in the wall to create a unique look. This is a little risky, but I think it can be a lot of fun as well. If you have a landlord that’s willing to let you experiment with holes in the wall, you might give it a try.
10. Invest in Under-bed Storage
It may seem counterintuitive to have storage in a place where you don’t want it, but with a loft bed or cozy storage bed, you don’t need to worry about bumping your head on a shelf. (If you’re worried about head bumps, this bed idea is for you!). You can store toys, blankets, and other items under the bed out of sight. It’s also a great place to keep off-season clothes, and infrequently used items.
11. Utilize Every Inch of Space
When you’re living in a small space, it’s easy to feel like you have no storage space left. But a little creativity and some extra shelving can go a long way. Consider using every inch of your wall space for extra storage, especially in a small bedroom. Use the space under the bed for storage, rather than a traditional bed frame, or make a hanging storage unit above the bed.
12. Avoid Single-purpose Storage
While it’s great to have designated shelving for specific items, it can still be hard to keep organized. A better idea is to have a few multi-purpose storage solutions–that way, if you want to use a basket for a different purpose, you can. You can also use a small cart to store items like toys, extra blankets, and craft supplies.
13. Keep Seasonal Items Out of Sight
Not only will it make your life easier, but it will also make your room prettier. Keep off-season clothes in a storage unit. If you’re living in a dorm or living in a small apartment with roommates, keep winter coats, boots, and other seasonal clothing in storage so that it doesn’t take up precious closet space.
14. Use Clear Storage Containers
When you have limited storage space, using clear storage containers is a must. Transparent containers make it easy to see what’s inside and to quickly pull out what you need. The same goes for the things you’re putting away.
15. Keep Containers Organized
In a small living space, it’s easy for things to get out of control. One important way to staying organized is to keep your storage containers organized. Labeling your boxes and baskets with masking tape or using clear labels to help keep things organized.
16. Use Hooks to Maximize Closet Space
Hanging clothing in a small closet can be tricky, but a few simple hangers can go a long way. Use a bar that extends across the top of the closet to hold hangers, rather than storing them on the pole that extends from the ceiling. This way, you can hang more than just a few items on the hangers. A bar over the door is another great way to store clothing maximize space.
17. Use Decorative Bins
Add a color pop to your room by introducing decorative bins. Use a bin as a decorative storage basket or as a place to keep your bedding. Make sure you’re using a storage container that has a lid, or you’ll risk losing items.
18. More Hooks & Baskets
As mentioned above, a small closet is a great place to use hooks and baskets. Hang an over-the-door basket on a hook for your towels or your bathrobe, or hang a wall pocket for your toiletries. Hooks are a great way to store off-season clothing or coats and are also a great way to store bags. Having a hook or two over the door is a great way to hang a purse or garment bag.
19. Keep Cleaning Supplies Out of Sight
Small spaces make it easy to have cleaning supplies and other items that you don’t want to see in plain sight. Rather than hiding them in a closet, keep cleaning supplies in a cabinet or under the sink. You can also use a decorative bin to cover cleaning supplies in a bathroom cabinet.
20. A Small Cart Can Come Handy
A cart is a great way to store things that you don’t have a lot of room for, such as toys, craft supplies, or books. It can also be used to store off-season clothing.
21. Use Furniture to Store Items
A bookcase or a desk isn’t just for books or computer space. You can use a bookshelf to store toys, a desk to store office supplies, and a dresser to store off-season clothing.
22. A Dresser Can Be Multipurpose
While you may not have a lot of closet space, a dresser is a great place to store clothing. Use the drawers to keep folded clothing organized, and the top of the dresser as a place to store blankets and more.
23. Toiletry Bag or Caddy
Rather than having a medicine cabinet full of items, use a toiletry bag to store your toiletries. You can use a hanging toiletry bag or a toiletry caddy that sits on the counter.
24. Keep Things in Perspective
It’s easy to get quickly overwhelmed in a small space. It’s important to keep things in perspective and remember that you don’t need a lot of stuff to be happy. If you have a lot of things, try to go through your stuff and get rid of anything that you no longer use or love. You can check this detailed post on how to properly deal with the things you no longer want around.
25. An Accent Wall to Make a Style Statement
I absolutely love the way this one couple used a bold wall to make their space feel more exciting. They painted their living room wall a bright color (that they described as “atomic tangerine”) and then used their other furniture to create a more neutral backdrop. They also had a lot of plants that added to the color and texture of the room.
26. Add Excitement With Color
While a lot of people use white as a way to make their space look bigger, others use color. They use bold colors in glass containers to add some excitement to their space. You can also use colors furniture and rugs to add virtual space and additional charm.
27. Create the Illusion of Space
Last but not least, don’t hesitate to create virtual space, or visual space you may want to say. In my own apartment, I have a lot of white furniture that really makes space look bigger. If it’s not really in your budget to buy a lot of white furniture, you can still create the same effect with other colors.
Mixing greys and metal can also have the same effect. Leatrice Eiseman, the executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, told The New York Times that neutrals like white and grey make space look bigger because they don’t draw attention to themselves.