Are you living in a small apartment, studio, (dorm) room, tiny home or any place that just isn’t suitable for you ánd your stuff? Welcome to the club!
Because I have been part of the club for a while now, I felt that it was time to let you in on my secrets and discoveries that I have collected over the years when it comes to living clutter free and most of all spatial in a small studio apartment.
My last blogpost was a home tour video of my studio, including loads of pictures to give you a feel of what my home looks like (you can find the video tour at the end of this post). Today I want to share the most practical features of my home that really helped my studio to look better and make my day-to-day life more practical and organised.
And when I say practical I don’t mean the obvious store-things-under-your-bed solution, because we can all think of that one. It’s the things that you only realised you needed after living in a small home for a while, like where to keep your laundry basket (Tip nr.4) or where to put your make up on when your bathroom is to small (Tip nr. 6). These, plus many more solutions to practical problems are all included in this post, with a few extra bonus tips at the end.
Are your ready for 10+ extra tips on how to make the most of your small apartment?
Scroll down to the end of this post for the home tour video!
10 Tips to Maximize Your Space
1. TALL OPEN WARDROBE
The first decision that I made when I moved into my studio apartment was building this open ‘closet’. Because it is a small space, I didn’t want a big part of it to be one big block of furniture. And wow did it work!
Not only does a wardrobe like this provide you with a large amount of storage it also makes the room look larger, because you can see the space inside and behind the closet.
I made the wardrobe go all the way up to the ceiling, maximizing the storage space and using every usable cm available. Because the height gives the wardrobe more shelve space, you can use the top for storing things like craft supplies and winter garments: hats, gloves, etc.
The construction was inspired by the famous Ikea Elvarli wardrobe systems. But I made it in a budget version using three shelving units* that you can buy at the hardware store + a few pipes for the hanging parts (also available at the hardware store). I think that the total costs were about €100,-
It was a tricky decission to have an open wardrobe in a small studio, because you can see everything that’s inside, so keeping things tidy is really a gamechanger. My solutions for keeping the wardrobe clutter free are:
- Hang all of you clothes (no folding, just simply hanging everything up. This really saves up time and space!)
- Get a small chest of drawers for your undergarments. You can place the small cabinet underneath one of the hanging spaces.
- Use baskets or storage bins for the top shelves. This way you can categorize your items (winter clothes, sheets, etc.) and it looks very tidy.
- Place your shoes on the bottom shelves. keeping the floor clutter free, which also makes the room look bigger.
*Here’s a link to the shelving units to get an impression
2. EXTENDABLE TABLE
Dining, working, crafting, game-night, there are so many reasons why I really wanted to have a table in my studio apartment. But for Netflix watching millennials like myself, I do spend most of my time on my couch. So I needed a table that had a large surface, but that wasn’t too big since I don’t want a giant table in the middle of my ‘living room’ when watching a movie. Yes, problem!
But there is a very easy solution: an extendable table. And luckily they are getting more and more popular, meaning that you can get a pretty and affordable one very easily nowadays.
I made this table with my dad, but we based the design on an Ikea version that we spotted when we were there.
Here are a few extra tips:
- What to do with your extra chairs when the table is in it’s smallest position?
- 1. Get folding chairs and hide them behind your wardrobe or under your bed, etc.
- 2. Keep a chair next or behind your bed for decoration and keeping your clothes of the floor when you are not in a cleaning-keeping-the-open-wardrobe-tidy-mood.
- 3. get a side table that also functions as a seat (see tip number 3)
- Get a table that extends on two sides. This gives even more surface space and you can also choose to extend only one part when you need it, keeping the table in place and simply ‘folding’ it open.
- Place a rug under your table. Not only is it very friendly foor your feet, is also creates the illusion of a separate area, even when your table is less than a meter away from your bed or sofa.
3. MULTI-FUNCTIONAL SIDE TABLE
I find that it’s best to keep the middle section of a living space in a small apartment to be as open as possible. This way you can do yoga, unfold your dining table (see previous tip) and do many more things without having to re-organize all of your furniture. With that said, I am not a big fan of having all of my furniture against the wall. My way of keeping things playful is a very functional sidetable.
Well, actually it’s a stool that has many functions:
- You can use it as en extra seat when the dining table is unfolded.
- Place a tray* on top and it functions as a side table, suitable for you glasses, flowers, candles, etc.
- Surface space. On movie nights, I place my external screen ( I don’t have a tv) on top and place it in front of my couch.
- Footstool. well, this one just speaks for itself;)
*Extra tip: I purchased a tray and placed it on top in case me or my cats bump against the table. This tray has a picture bottom, which makes it extra personal and decorative.
When it comes to living in a studio, it’s all about the details and small things. As I mentioned before, it’s not hard to think of storing things under your bed, it’s the things that you realize you need only after you moved into a small apartment.
Like a laundry basket for instance. The simple action of moving your wet clothes out of the washing machine to your balcony, garden or indoor laundry rack. It’s such a simple item, yet it’s not an easy thing to store when your apartment is tiny and your bathroom only has room for a shower and toilet.
My solution: a wicker basket with three purposes:
- 1. Storing my sofa and picknick blanket
- 2. Picnic basket
- 3. Laundry basket
When I do my laundry, I simply take the sofa blanket out, temporarily place it on the couch and use the basket for my laundry.
5. JEWELRY STORAGE – MIRROR
Unless you are one of the lucky ones that lives in a small (studio) apartment and still has a giant bathroom, you probably faced the same problem that I did: where to get ready in the morning and store anything that can’t get wet?
Most small bathrooms get very damp after taking a shower and I prefer to put my make-up on and do my hair somewhere else.
I build two things to help me with this, One is this secret storage mirror.
It is the perfect hiding and storage space for jewelry, nail polish and other small trinkets. I made this version myself after seeing this perfect tutorial on A Beautiful Mess.
6. STORAGE DRAWERS
The second solutions for storing my morning routine items are these shelf drawers, which I bought at Ikea. I just love these! They store all of my make-up and hair supplies and they also function as regular shelves.
The mirror and shelf are both in my kitchen and I love that when they are closed, the kitchen just looks like a regular kitchen, not half a kitchen/half beauty station.
These storage solutions don’t need to be in your kitchen, if the layout of your house doesn’t allow it. You can also easily put them up somewhere else in your home and even put a chair or stool (see tip nr 3) underneath and really transform your wall into a beauty/grooming area.
7. SHOWER CURTAIN
Ok, this one might not sound like a big deal; you have a shower, the chances are that you have a shower curtain. Well, not when your bathroom has a shower cabin. And my shower cabin is very small. Which makes sense, because the bathroom is small. But after having to use some yoga moves just to shave my legs, it was time to make a few changes.
I live in a rental, so I took the doors out of the cabinet, by simply unscrewing them and put them in storage (make sure that they are dry, because they can easily get moldy!) I attached the shower curtain rings to the railing of the shower cabinet that used to hold the doors. And that was it!
Not only does it give more physical space, it also adds color and a personal touch to the room.
8. ROOM DIVIDER WITH STORAGE SPACE
My favorite practical tip for living in a studio apartment is to create a multi functional room-divider. These two open units are just perfect when it comes to dividing the space and keeping an open vibe.
I still had these two from a previous home, buy really any kind of open storage unit would work to get this effect.
To create an extra ‘divider’ I added sheer white curtains that go from the ceiling all the way down to the floor. They cover one part of the open wardrobe and the backside of the room dividers, creating a type of doorway into the sleeping area.
The best part about these two types of room dividers is that they still let enough light through, they don’t take up a chunk of space and because of their light colors, go well with the entire room.
What I also love about the added curtains, is that the view from the bed isn’t the back of the open shelving units, but the pretty sheer curtains. It sometimes feels a bit like there is a window at the footside of the bed:)
9. FUNCTIONAL FURNITURE
The main thought of decorating a studio apartment? No item can enter without having more than one function. As you may have noticed, that really is the theme for these apartment tips and tricks.
From a laundry/picnic basket, a side table/stool, room divider/shelving units and even a sofa that does more than keep you legs up at the end of the day.
The biggest project of the LRS blog is this sofa. I transformed it into this floral beauty, but the basis of the sofa was really the reason why I bought it. It truly is the best purchase that I have made for this apartment. It holds almost all of my books and even looks great when you place it in the centre of a room, because the storage space goes all around.
These are my findings when it comes to finding a sofa for your small apartment:
- A chaise lounge or sofa without any armrests makes the sofa look a lot smaller. I am not sure why, but it really makes the sofa less daunting in a small space.
- Try to find a sofa with storage space, wether it’s open like mine or a sofa with storage in it’s seats.
- Small apartment but love company? Get a sofa that also functions as a bed. My sofa is actually also suitable to sleep on.
10. HANGING PLANTERS
Small apartment also means that there is less surface space. And even though this shouldn’t mean that you can’t have any pictures on your windowsill or candles anywhere, it does mean that the space is valuable.
I am a big fan of plants and after already having a lot of them scattered around my studio, I really wanted to have more. Which is how I came up with these hanging planters. You can make them yourself like I did: Hanging planter tutorial. Or buy them from your favourite store.
The best part is that it doesn’t take up any surface space and it adds a 3 dimensional touch to the living area.
Where to hang your hanging planters:
- In a corner part of your home to fill the space, without bumping your head against them
- In your bathroom, pretty and practical!
- In front of your window, this is perfect to add privacy to your home, and it still let’s light in.
- As a room divider. Remember how I put up sheer curtains behind my room divider shelving units? You can do the same with plants!
You can basically hang them anywhere and I promise that it will give a homey and colourful addition to your room(s).
HOME TOUR VIDEO
EXTRA TIPS, TRICKS AND IDEAS
- Hang your damp clothes in a seperate part of the open wardrobe. (This means that you don’t need a drying rack in the middle of your living space)
- How to make your room look bigger? Easy: keep the floor visible. This means wardrobes on legs, sofa’s that have space underneath, etc.
- Big artworks – A small space doesn’t mean that everything has to be scaled down. Instead of having a lot of tiny objects and artworks, it’s better to have a few larger pieces to decorate your surfaces and walls.
- Area rugs – create different ‘area’s’ in your home with small (circular rugs)
- Window decal – Instead of placing things on your windowsill and taking up space, you can use a window decal to decorate your home. Like this one that looks like flowers in a vase.
Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope that these tips, trick and ideas are helpful when t comes to your home. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments section below!
– Sheer Curtains – Kwantum
– White open cabinets – Ikea
– Sofa – project by Lana Red Studio
– Drawer cabinet – project by Lana Red Studio
– Pink round carpet – Ikea
– Greenery round carpet – Kwantum
– Discoball – Hema
– Shower curtain – H&M
– Kitchen Carpet – Kwantum
– Star Light – Hema
– Candle Wax Light – project by Lana Red Studio
– Audio Speaker – Tivoli Audio
– Hanging Planters – project by Lana Red Studio
– Fish Vase – Flying Tiger
– Green Curtains – H&M
– Jewelry – Shop Lana Red Studio
– Neon Heart Light – Kwantum
Did you spot something that is not in this list? Mention it in the comments section and I will get back to you as soon as possible!