How to Make Small Apartments Liveable

New York apartments are notoriously petite. But with careful planning, small apartments can be beautiful, comfortable, enjoyable living spaces. Keep these tips in mind, whether you’re looking to renovate or buy.

New York apartments are notoriously petite — you can find some measuring 300 square feet or smaller! But a tiny space doesn’t need to be claustrophobia-inducing. A savvy approach can turn these small apartments into truly enjoyable homes. Use these tips to make the most of your space.

Minimize Your Belongings

No article on small spaces would be complete without mentioning the need to minimize your belongings. Spend a day going through everything you own. Decide what you truly need and get rid of unused items, duplicates, or anything that doesn’t fit your current style. Be brutal!

Once you’ve sorted through your belongings, give each item a home. Spend 15 minutes every evening walking around your apartment and keeping everything organized.

How to Make Small Apartment Liveable: Minimize Belongings

Image Source: Coldwell Banker

Utilize Every Square Inch

In New York apartments, you want to use every square inch possible. Small apartments often have interesting layouts, nooks and crannies, and other interesting features. Look around your home. Are there any areas that aren’t being used to their full potential?

Consider adding storage below stairs, mounting appliances under kitchen cabinets to free up counter space, or simply placing a basket under an end table to hold odds and ends.

Brooklyn architect Tim Seggerman, who’s known for his modern and minimalist designs, has an affinity for simple solutions and careful material planning. He recently overhauled a 240-square-foot Upper West Side apartment, making room for a climb-in library next to the bed, a washing machine, and storage aplenty.

Choose Multipurpose Furniture

Once you’ve minimized your belongings, you’ll want to choose furniture to suit multiple needs.

If your space only allows for a couch or a bed, consider a pullout couch. You’ll be able to watch TV and entertain during the day and sleep comfortably at night. Even if you have a bedroom, a sleeper sofa is a great option if you have frequent guests.

An ottoman is practically a small apartment necessity. Available in all shapes and sizes, ottomans function as more than foot rests. They can also be used as a coffee or dining table and offer additional seating for guests.

How to Make Small Apartments Liveable: Flexible Furniture

Image Source: Flickr/Alan Hochberg

Embrace Built-Ins

Maximize floor space by utilizing built-ins. Built-ins are the perfect storage solution when space is limited. Not only do they create extra storage, but they also expand rooms by opening up floor space and minimizing visual clutter. Best of all, built-ins can be customized to your exact needs. Design your own or work with an architect or interior designer if you need help.

Go Vertical

Make the most of your limited floor space and go vertical.

If your ceilings are high, add a loft and turn your studio into a one bedroom! If that’s not an option, a lofted bed will create room for additional storage or even an office underneath.

Purchase floor-to-ceiling bookcases or hang shelves above a desk or sofa. In the bathroom, make the most of dead space with an over-the-toilet organizer. Attach hooks to the back of your doors, too.

How to Make Small Apartments Liveable - Go Vertical

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Divide Open Floor Plans Using Visual Cues

Since small spaces are often studios or open concept apartments, you’ll want to use visual cues to subtly divide your space.

  • Use a rug to anchor your couch or desk.
  • Divide the living area from the sleeping area with an open bookcase or elegant curtain.
  • A color scheme change can also create separate areas, as can art, plants, and screens.

With careful planning, small apartments can be beautiful places. Keep these tips in mind whether you are looking to renovate or buy.

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