Ideally, we’d all love to live in a big house with a king-size bed, a dreamy dining room with ceiling-high windows, an indoor pool, and a home library that fits all your books and board game boxes. But, life happens, and before we get to live in our dream home, we have to live in a small studio apartment and cram our entire life into 600 square feet.
It’s the ultimate test of downsizing and organization, and some say that you can’t live in a studio apartment without bumping into something every five minutes. But, with a bit of patience and creativity, it can be done. When we accumulate a lot of stuff, and things simply don’t seem to fit anymore, we’re quick to think that we need more space, and it’s time to move out. But the solution isn’t always there. First, you have to learn how to use every inch of space to the max; otherwise, you’ll eventually run out of room anywhere, house or apartment.
Here are a few storage tips for your small space that don’t involve becoming a handyman or going full Marie Kondo and getting rid of everything:
Things can look a bit disorganized when one single room has to meet three purposes: bedroom, dining, and living room. How can you make it work and fit everything in?
The secret is to design and decorate with multipurpose in mind.
- Use furniture with hidden storage space. Forget what you know about conventional storage space. It doesn’t all have to be rows of shelves and closets. A glossy white TV stand can have sliding drawers where you can fit remotes, cables, batteries, and other electronics. A stylish ottoman with a removable lid can fit dozens of little knick-knacks side. The storage room in your extensive sofa can be used to store spare bed sheets, pillows, blankets, and duvets. If you have room under your bed/sofa, you can use it to store winter coats (use a vacuum sealer to make them less bulky).
- Get a drop-leaf table that you can use as a desk when you’re alone, and that can be extended into a dining room when needed. If you find one that also has storage space underneath, even better.
Tip: the size of the furniture needs to be proportional to the size of the room. Don’t buy chunky, hardwood stuff if it occupies three-quarters of the room. Also, you should only have one centerpiece to avoid a cluttered look.
Here’s how to organize your kitchen so that you can actually enjoy cooking in it:
- Use boxes to organize ingredients and supplies. When everything is scattered on the same shelf, that shelf becomes difficult to clean, and stuff becomes hard to find. Plus, it will look all over the place. Instead, sort everything into boxes, each with its category: spices, liquids, pasta, canned food, and so on. You’ll never forget you bought that bag of dried ginger ever again.
- Place a cart next to the countertop to expand it. Large counters are rare in studio apartments, but you can make them look bigger by adding a drawer cart with wheels in that tiny space next to them. This saves space and adds a lot of functionality because you have an easy-to-reach place for spices and cooking oils.
- Every empty corner can be turned into a storage space. Decorate vertically, use shelves wherever possible, and buy lots of separators for your drawers.
Is your bathroom not giving you hygge vibes? If all your shampoos, shower gels, and cleaning products are all in the same pile under the sink, that’s understandable. Bathrooms in studio apartments are often tiny and lack storage, so it’s up to you to add it:
- Put new shelves above the sink and above the bathtub. Don’t worry, you don’t have to drill holes; you can get no drill shelves that attach to the wall thanks to a special heavy-duty glue, and you can store your entire shower gel collection without feeling guilty. This way, you can even make room for decorative touches, such as scented candles and hand soap dispensers.
- Get a sticky wall hook for the bathroom door. You can keep your bathrobes there so that they don’t take up room in the wardrobe.
You didn’t pay too much attention to the hallway, didn’t you? Most people neglect the hallway and even think it’s a waste of space, but space of any kind is a commodity, and it’s a pity not to take advantage of it. Here’s what else you can place in the entrance hallway, apart from the traditional hanger:
- Shelves. Lots and lots of shelves. Again, if you don’t have enough space on the floor, think vertically. You can use the shelves to store books, decorations, photos, bags, and everything that doesn’t fit in the main room. Plus, all these little details add personality to the hallway, which is usually treated as an afterthought.
- A multi-level shoe cabinet to neatly display your collection. And if your collection outgrows the cabinet, you can always get those ingenious plastic organizers that allow you to store one shoe on top of another and basically double the space.
- Custom-designed cabinets. Sometimes, hallways have a tricky size and layout, making it impossible to find cabinets for them. Ask around for local furniture companies that take custom orders. The price is not much higher, but it can make a huge difference. Who knows, maybe this way you’ll even be able to set up a small library or boardgame collection!
- An entryway table. Sure, it’s a place to store your keys, but you can also use it to store those little knick-knacks that are hard to let go of.
And remember: when things are getting too cluttered, it’s time to buy more boxes. You can never have too many of those in a studio apartment.