ELEVEN CREATIVE WAYS TO MAKE YOUR SMALL APARTMENT SEEM HUGE

June 27, 2018

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If you would have told me two years ago that I would willingly move into a 380 square foot apartment and happily have less than 100 items in my closet, I would have thought you were insane. That only works for other people who don’t like clothes, right? 

During my senior year of college I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get my own, nice, spacious apartment. Once I graduated I looked around at a few places and reviewed my checklist – 2 bedrooms, high ceilings, natural light, nice area, large closet. I finally settled on a place that met nearly all of these requirements (I went with a one bedroom instead). As I lived there, this feeling of dread slowly crept up on me day after day. The additional space I paid an extra $50 for per month was rarely used, I never ate at my dining room table, the place wasn’t really furnished the way I wanted it to be, and the list goes on. Despite all the things I filled my life with, I felt emptier than ever.

Just after we got married, Evan and I felt a little disillusioned with the image of what “successful” was supposed to be. We both had great jobs, educations, salaries, and the cars to match. We were still deeply unhappy and decided to make a change and rid ourselves of the things that were weighing us down. Little changes added up, and in November of last year we signed a lease for a 380 square foot studio. About 1/3 of the space of my first apartment with twice the people. It’s been the most fun, enriching, and fulfilling experience and I absolutely love this little apartment.

Small spaces are a way to get rid of waste, save time, and simplify your life. Though there are so many positive attributes, there are also a lot of challenges that come with transitioning and living in a tiny space and this list is designed to make things just a little easier when moving to a smaller place!

HAVE CUSTOM ITEMS THAT SUIT YOUR SPACE PERFECTLY

When Evan and I took the leap and signed the lease for our new small space, we knew we were going to have to do some work for pieces that suit our needs. Our living room space doubles as our bedroom, and we didn’t want to have a bed down permanently. We found this kit to make a wall bed, and set aside a weekend to get it done. With the two of us it probably took about 8-10 hours, and it turned out absolutely wonderful (but not without a few frustrated hours and splinters). We have people come over and ask “where’s the bed?” even though they’re looking right at it! We also built a small shelf to house our toiletries and other miscellaneous items by the bathroom.

RETHINK TRADITIONAL FURNITURE

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We definitely didn’t have room for a chest of drawers or dresser in our new place. We wanted our living area to feel as open as possible, so we bought a shelf and baskets from target that we use to hold the clothes we don’t hang. When we got Chompy we wanted to crate train him but we didn’t have anywhere to hide one of the basic wire crates (aesthetics are still important, even in small spaces!). Instead, we got a wooden crate from Amazon that also doubles as a side table and it has been so handy!

Speaking of furniture…aim for pieces that create visual space. Hairpin legs are always a win for creating a vintage-yet-modern vibe while keeping your home from looking cluttered.

DECLUTTER FREQUENTLY

Evan and I still play the minimalism game, and we ended up getting rid of over 300 items! Even though the space is small and we have less than the average person, it is still very necessary to take a look at your possessions and get rid of what’s no longer serving you.

GET YOU APPLIANCES THAT CAN DO BOTH

One of our favorite wedding gifts was a portable panini press and griddle. We use it to make anything from pancakes to our vegan chicken patties.  It’s so versatile that it actually helps us cook without dirtying too many dishes.

KEEP THE THINGS THAT MAKE YOU HAPPY

Evan and I got a popcorn maker for our wedding, and since we don’t have a microwave in our new place we decided to take it with us even though it takes up a good bit of precious shelf space. We use it at least 5 times per week and movies wouldn’t be the same without it! It’s a common misconception that you have to get rid of things you love when you move into a smaller space, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. As long as it’s something that you use often, brings you joy, and you don’t mind making space for it, it can stay!

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MAKE CLEANING A PART OF DAILY LIFE

Unlike with bigger spaces, messes are more of an issue because the small space multiplies them. The good thing is, smaller messes take less time to clean up. When we start our day with setting the living room up (putting the bed into the wall, and moving our chairs to the center of the room) it helps start our day with a clean slate and we always get to climb into a bed that’s made.

CREATIVE STORAGE

There are things that naturally take up space like suitcases. You can use suitcases to store other bags, clothes, or items you don’t regularly need or use. Same goes for decorative boxes and purses.

EVERYTHING HAS A PLACE

An organized small space is a happy small space! Give everything you own a place so that it’s easier to clean you apartment, you space looks organized, and you save time searching for things!

ADD SOME GREEN

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Small spaces can be transformed with just a little bit of greenery. Whether you want a large corner plant, or some artificial succulents, bringing a bit of the outside in will help your space feel more connected to the outside world and open it up a little more.

USE YOUR WALLS

A little wall space can go a long way. You don’t need fancy shelves, just a few nails and you have a space to hang umbrellas, raincoats, dog leashes, purses, and belts rather than taking up precious shelf space. It’s an easy win!

MAKE THE SPACE YOUR OWN

Don’t get too focused on the utility aspect of everything in your apartment, have fun with it! Photos on walls and artwork take up very little space but visually add a lot to make your small space feel homey and personal.

I really love our little space, and these tips have made living tiny so much easier for us! Do you live in a small space? What tips would you recommend?

Thanks for stopping by!

XO

Kasey

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