As you guys know, Neal and I moved into our FIRST (eek!) apartment together a few short weeks ago. Although we have quite the lengthy to-do list ahead of us, things are coming along pretty smoothly–however, I was quick to figure out that styling our little space was going to be trickier than expected.
With very limited storage space, we’ve had to get a bit creative and learn on the fly–so here are some savvy tips & tricks I’ve learned along the way to help make the most of your small space.
(P.S. yes, some of these photos are of my actual apartment. Don’t be fooled, everything else outside of the frame is a disaster!)
Add extra shelving
photo via Yahoo
While I love our little kitchen and I’m spoiled with things like granite counter tops, and a gas stove, the cabinet space leaves much to be desired. There’s not a ton of room for both food and dishes, so we’ve decided to add some extra shelving to stack dishes, glasses, utensils, trays, and the like. This essentially allows us to use our cupboards as a pantry. (I’ve never actually seen a real pantry in any apartment in downtown Chicago. Bark twice if you possess one of these mythical kitchen features.)We also plan to get a rack to hang our pots and pans! (I bought pretty copper ones, so they’ll actually be acceptable-looking to hang.)
But it doesn’t just go for the kitchen–adding extra shelves will save your life just about anywhere in your house. In the bathroom, above the bed–you could even use a shelf as a mini-desk! The possibilities are endless–really.
When Neal & I moved in, we decided to make a rule–nothing is allowed in the house that isn’t both beautiful and functional. When your square footage is limited, you can’t afford to have furniture that doesn’t serve different purposes. Like our Kallax shelves that serve as our console (I plan to add mid-century legs to them eventually, so it looks more “console”like)–it doesn’t just look pretty, it provides ample storage for living room and bar essentials.
Fresh, light paint
photo via Front + Main
A new coat of paint does wonders for a room–especially if that new coat is in a light, bright, airy color. I’m partial to white walls, because I like white everything–but really, any light color will do the trick and make your space feel more open. On the contrary, a dark color will help make your room feel cozy. (But that’s not exactly what we’re going for here, ya know?)
Build storage into your decor
Building on the “multi-functional furniture” point, we are rapidly accumulating baskets and bins everywhere. I can’t even express what a difference this makes in keeping our space clutter-free. These baskets, for example, aren’t just a space to stash our blankets, they could also function as a side table when stacked, or be spaced throughout the room as needed. They’re super versatile, and make the space look “lived in”–in the best way possible. Making storage part of your decor keeps things organized, and looking great at the same time. (P.S. speaking of organization–I loved reading all of these tips, and have started to put several of them into action!)
Keep things tidy
Image via Remodelista
In a small space, it doesn’t take long for dust to accumulate on your baseboards, sinks, toilets (ew) and windowsills. Also, is it just me, or does the entire apartment look astray every time you get dressed? A few items of clothing on the floor and your organized apartment is shot to you know what. No matter how well-designed your space is, you’re always going to feel claustrophobic with a messy apartment.
My personal tip–hire a cleaning service! This will ensure your apartment is always looking tidy. Home care is not an investment to be taken lightly–it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
Having someone else take the cleaning off your hands will contribute to your mental health, and ensure you’re feeling calm and relaxed when you walk in the door at the end of a long day–instead of stressing, “oh GOD I forgot what a disaster this place was!”
Not to mention, it will save you a ton of time. Time spent cleaning really adds up–say you spend an hour cleaning per way (which is on the very minimal side, if we’re being honest) that’s 4 hours per month you could have back! Think of what you could do with another half-day!
Do you have any tips for making the most of your small space?
These tips & tricks were created in partnership with my friends at Maids.com.