If you’re living in an apartment you might have already stumbled upon a common problem, the lack of storage space or space precisely. And as your family grows, you may feel like your household items are slowly creeping in, filling in each corner of the house and taking over. Most apartments don’t have a sizable entry way, a kitchen pantry or big enough closets. There’s no basement and only a small amount of apartments have an actual attic available to you. So you’re left with two things; rent a storage unit or utilize the space you’re given.
My husband and I have lived in two different apartments in our 6 years of married life. They were both similar, as well as different from each other in many ways and each one had and has its own positives and negatives. So I’m sharing my personal tips and ways you can make the best out of your apartment today. My tips are practical and effective and thus make a huge difference in creating a clean, functioning and welcoming space. Disclaimer; I’m not a designer and everything I’ll be sharing stems from what I’ve learned over the past years and how I’ve fit a family of four into a two bedroom aaaannd stay sane and happy!
Before I launch my tips at you, I wanted to start by saying that trying to organize a house without sorting and eliminating clutter first is like carrying water to sea. You’ll never be able to accomplish much and your efforts will be pointless. So try to go though each corner of the house to see what you can toss and how you can minimize and eliminate the amount of sitting items.
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Tip #1- Create a welcoming, functioning entryway.
A house without a proper entryway is unappealing and tells your guest that you’re not equipped to host. Get a cute doormat onto which you can place dirty shoes. A hook rack with plenty hooks is a great idea, both for you and guests. Some apartments, like ours, don’t have a closet right by the entrance door and this is a great and easy way to keep your everyday coats, purses and accessories readily accessible to you anytime you have to leave the house. For some shoe storage, I love our IKEA Trones shoe cabinet. You can buy as many bins as you want and configure them in anyway you want. We have three, one for my husband, kids and I. This works wonderfully because kids can get their shoes anytime they need them and there’s no random shoes cluttering the floor. Hang a mirror, larger the better and have a “random” tray or bin to keep those random things you might have in one spot.
Tip #2- Living room area rug.
A lot of apartments, or homes for that matter, have a combined dining room and living room in one area. I found that having a large area rug, 6’ x 9’ or larger, is a great way to separate the two rooms, which creates two individual spaces for two different purposes.
Tip #3- Use bright color schemes.
If you can paint the apartment go ahead and get rid of the eggshell. Use neutral paints, like grays, which are in style nowadays. Buy larger pieces of furniture in light colors and use bolder, accent colors for the small stuff. Bright colors brighten up the room, giving you an appearance of more square footage. Luckily, our new apartment was painted a grayish paint and we didn’t need to change anything.
Tip #4- Hang curtains high.
Speaking of creating larger feel of the room, ALWAYS hang curtain rods as high as you can, that’s at least 6” above the top of the window. This creates an illusion that the ceiling is higher than it really is.
Tip #5- Use vertical space
Instead of having all of your furniture at eye level like dressers, bar/console tables and TV stands; go for vertical pieces like extra high bookshelves, wardrobe closets and TV storage combinations, IKEA makes great ones. They use up the free space over the TV, giving you more storage and the side shelves are great for books. You can customize them however you’d like. We have the BESTÅ System Combinations.
Tip #6- Use closet instead of dresser.
I was actually able to fit my kids’ dresser into their closet, which allowed me to have so much more room in the bedroom itself for other things (take a look at how!). I know you probably can’t fit a horizontal six-drawer dresser into a closet, but either way try to utilize the closet rather than anything else. Hang over-the-door hooks and shoe racks or tie and belt racks to give you space for accessories. Use compartment organizers inside the closet if you’re able too, I love these IKEA ones.
Tip #7- Avoid cluttering the walls.
Keep your wall art to a minimum. The less on the walls, the less it will feel like your walls are caving in on you. But obviously don’t go to the other end of extreme. Walls are a fantastic part of home to display your favorite people, memories and art. Great way to do that is by grouping frames and keeping that as a “centerpiece” over a large piece of furniture like sofa or bed.
Tip #8- Use trays or bowls to bunch items together.
Use a tray for things like perfumes or toothbrushes and toothpastes. As I mentioned before, keep a tray or bowl in your entryway for keys, receipts and spare things. This keeps multiple items organized in its own bunch or group and isn’t scattered across a large surface of furniture.
Tip #9- Use kitchen cabinet organizers
Kitchen organizers are an excellent way to use up all the available vertical space you have in your kitchen cabinets. Under shelf, expandable, stackable, pullout, adjustable; there are so many choices and finding something that fits your cabinet isn’t hard. I’ve found them very practical.
Tip #10- Use plants to liven your living space.
Keep a good amount of live plants and flowers to achieve a warm, live and refined atmosphere. Better yet, they’ll help keep your air purified and filtered of any harmful pollutants (read my post about which plants are best).
Apartment living is great in many ways, I know my husband and I think so, but there’s a few downsides too. However, these tips will help you create and achieve an organized, clean and pleasant space for your family to enjoy living in and spending time at. It’s not hard!