Living in a big city makes it almost impossible to find an apartment that’s both affordable and large enough to house all of your things. The trick to apartment living is to make that teeny space look as large as it possibly can. There are a few things you can do to keep yourself both sane and organized in a small apartment.
Get creative with storage solutions
Storage space can be hard to come by, so the best way to hide those board games or your winter clothes is with shelving and multi-purpose dressers. If you set up high shelving, loft-style, you can sweep away your suitcases, air mattress, and any other items that don’t get used very often. Try to find a low dresser (Ikea’s Malm series has a 6-drawer set for only $150) that you can use not only to house your clothing, but also to double as a tabletop or even a coffee table. Canvas storage bins (sold at Kohl’s in different colors and at $15 apiece) can also be a nice way to keep dirty clothes or old newspaper under wraps.
Amp up the color
Color is everything in a home, especially in one that is so small. The best way for your space to seem larger than it actually is is to use light colors on the walls. White is the best color, but if you can’t stand bare walls try a pastel. The same apartment filled with the same clutter will look so much smaller with dark blue walls as opposed to white.
Utilize wall space
If your bike is your main means of transport, or your guitar is essential to keeping you happy, the wall is a great place to not only show off your interests but also to keep larger items out of the way. Wall mounts are available specifically for items that may be larger or heavier – like a bicycle – so keep that space by your door free for shoes instead of a bulky two-wheeler. There are many options for wall mounts but if you want to multi-purpose and have a wall mount that doubles as a book shelf, check out Knife and Saw’s wooden bike shelf for $299.
Position room dividers
If you need to create separate rooms in your tiny living space, use those room dividers to your advantage and make them useful. Use bookcases, a media center, or storage shelves as a way to both keep your bedroom separate from your living room and keep clutter off the floor. Raken sells five-foot-tall cube bookshelves for about $150, including a 5-year warranty.
Light up the space
Like wall color, light can do wonders for tricking the eye into thinking you have more space than there actually is. If you’re lucky enough to have windows, make sure you clean them regularly and use light-colored shades or curtains. Hanging mirrors strategically will also help to bounce light throughout the apartment.
Simple is better
Use bedding, carpets, and furniture that doesn’t have wild designs or fabrics – although you may think it looks chic and modern, it only adds to the cluttered look. Simple, single-color sheets (Nate Berkus sells light, chic sheets at Target for about $40) and rugs will go a long way in a tight apartment.
There are any number of ways you can trick your or your guest’s eye into thinking you have a larger space – and the best part is, it doesn’t have to be expensive; it can be accomplished on a budget!
Jennifer recently completed her masters degree in museum studies from The City College, New York. She has many years of experience in the arts through writing, video production and art history, and can be reached via Twitter at @egyptologist. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.