Small apartments: Cozy and chic for some, cramped and dreary for others. The difference is those who love their limited living space planned for it, whereas the other group… we certainly hope reads on. These small apartment furniture hacks prove once and for all that tiny places can be cute and functional. You just need the right kind of furniture, colors, and mindset. Don’t worry. We've broken it down for you, room by room.
What Types of Furniture Work Best in Small Spaces?
No matter where you’re moving, the best type of furniture is the one with multiple uses. Now, this isn’t to say that every single item you own needs to have some greater purpose, but the more you can get out of your main pieces, the better.
Think sectionals with storage, dining tables that fold, and bed frames with drawers underneath. Compact pieces that make a statement and fit your personal style can make your small space feel like a home. But you don’t have to limit that to furniture. You can also make double use of your spaces, like working from your dining room table or turning your work desk space into a hobby area for off-hours entertainment.
Kitchen and Dining Room Space-saving Hacks
If you’re living in a small apartment, your dining room and kitchen will likely be a fluid mix of space around which you’ll have to design and place furniture.
1. Customize Your Storage
Kitchen islands often help break up the area and are one of the classic small apartment furniture ideas, but unless one comes with the apartment, you’ll have to get creative. If you don’t have space for an island, grab yourself a bakers rack with extra storage, like this one from Amazon. Then move on to your dining table.
Source: Amazon.com, FORABAMB
2. Make the Most of Your Seating
Round tables help open a space and allow for those seated to see each other clearly. Depending on just how small your apartment is, you should probably keep it to four seats. Consider this DOCKSTA table paired with LIDÅS seats from IKEA, or this Leilani Tulip Dining Table from World Market with extra leg space to really maximize the openness.
In the kitchen, grab a wall-mounted pot rack, magnetic strip for cutting knives, hanging fruit baskets, and cabinet organization pieces, and then get creative with other ways to use the space vertically. Also, a great way to brighten the space is with white paint. This looks great against appliances and contributes to an overall feeling of cleanliness.
Living Room space-saving Hacks
Small apartments and homes aren’t exactly synonymous with luxurious comfort, especially when it comes to the living room. But consider yourself a painter — you can always create beauty as long as you approach your project with the size of the canvas in mind. All it comes down to is decorating your space with some space-saving furniture for small apartments.
3. Prioritize Table and Storage Space
Let’s start with the coffee table. Is yours taking up more space than it needs to? Consider two separate, smaller tables that can be easily moved and adjusted to maximize walking space. Similarly, ditch your oversized side-table. Nesting tables that can slide underneath a couch or into one another are stylish space-savers, like these from West Elm.
Looking to maximize storage space, too? Ottomans with space to fill, or better yet, with reversible trays to boot, can serve as everything from a foot rest to a coffee table and beyond. Get yourself a large rug to make the area seem bigger than it is, and free up some floor space with this hanging hammock chair from Mission Hammocks. Yep—it’ll be your pet's new best friend, too.
|Q: Which type of sofa is best for a small living room?
A: The most important small apartment living room furniture piece is the couch. We would recommend getting to know the magic of a good love seat. Do you really need that three-piece sectional? We didn’t think so. (If you do want a sectional, though, you should look into options with storage, like this one from Sam’s Club.)
Bedroom space-saving Hacks
Contrary to what you might think, the bedroom is, in fact, one of the easiest rooms to work with in a small apartment or home. Your number-one priority is organization.
4. Create a System For Your Clothes
Starting with your closet, create a system to keep your clothes, shoes, and accessories organized year-round. Store what you don’t need for the current season elsewhere, and make sure what you do have doesn’t get cluttered. Too many clothes and not enough space? Grab a minimalist clothing rack that can fit in the corner of your room. Then save space by implementing smart DIY storage.
5. Don’t Ditch Your Bed Space
The bed frame is next. Too many people don’t make use of space underneath the bed. If your bed frame feels like it’s crowding the room, opt for a more functional approach, like this IKEA MALM bed frame. Even small adjustments like ditching lampshades and using floor lamps (no table required) can make a big difference. Bottom line: Cut down on clutter and free up space by trading in your bigger items for smaller ones, or simply throw them into storage.
Working Space Hacks
If you work from home, we commend you. Close living quarters can be tough, but adding in space for working gets a little messy. Luckily, there are a number of tricks you can use to make it feel like an organic part of your apartment.
6. Make Your Desk First Priority
Corner desks are a given, but if you’d prefer something that isn’t forced against a wall, check out skinny desks like this one from Trent Austin Design, which can function as both a sitting and standing desk. Have an empty closet? Take the door off and turn the space into a cubby-office. Go the extra mile and install a sliding barn door to keep it closed off when you aren’t using it for extra work-life balance.
7. Make Storage Your Second Priority
Whichever way you build your home office, free up some desk space by elevating your supplies. Get an IKEA SKADIS pegboard like this, where you can keep everything from scissors and clips to important notes and computer equipment. Also be sure to organize your wires with zip ties to prevent a tangled mess that’ll keep the space from feeling open.
Bathroom space-saving Hacks
A clean, organized bathroom is a given. When your counter or vanity is cluttered, it makes a bathroom of any size feel cramped and uncomfortable. Beyond that, however, is a number of hacks that can make a small bathroom feel bigger than it actually is.
8. Add Oversized Mirrors and Nice Shelving
Chief among those is an oversized mirror. This simple trick has been used in gyms, retail stores, and elsewhere for decades to make small spaces seem big. The next best thing is shelving. Lots of shelving. Stack towels and bath products. Hang hair dryers and irons. Do whatever you can to think vertically.
9. Move to the Shower
Whether you have a stand-up shower or a bathtub, making the most of this space is essential. Magnetic strips, by the way, aren’t just for the kitchen. Keep track of your bobby pins, nail clippers, scissors, and other small, metal items with a strip installed on the inside of your cabinet. You can also make extra use of your towel rack with custom hooks, cups, and other additions, or you can hang your own like this one from IKEA. Go full DIY mode by installing extra handles and bars both on the vanity and in the shower. And finally, get a light, tasteful shower curtain, like this white waffle-weave option from Target, to open up the area and keep it feeling clean.
You Can Have Fun With Small Spaces
When done right, apartment living is a joy. The difference between cramped and cozy often just comes down to having the right things placed the right way. Now that you’ve covered the small apartment furniture must-haves for all things small living, get yourself some decor to match, and learn how to save even more space with these storage ideas.
Katlynn Mullins is a St. Petersburg-based freelance writer whose only roommate is their cat. A member of the PODS Blog creative team, Katlynn loves finding ways to make moving into new spaces simple and stress-free. Between yearly apartment hopping, you can find them on the waterfront or experimenting with new ways to make coffee.