Clever Ways to Save Space and Reduce Clutter in Your Apartment
Do any of us ever really have enough space in our apartments? It can be hard to come by, so it’s important to maximize the space we have with practical and creative solutions.
Feeling less cluttered and confined makes a difference in attitude, productivity, serenity AND how much time we like to spend at home (which, in turn, saves money). A few simple tricks can give you the look and feel of more space in your apartment.
Start with Your Art
The simple truth is that lots of small pictures, whether on the walls, shelves or counters, can give the feeling of clutter. Stick to larger wall pieces, using one as a focal point. If you have lots of smaller wall pieces, edit them with a curator’s eye, selecting some favorites and creating a design-minded cluster for one wall. Clear countertops and bookshelves of small picture frames by selecting one dedicated photo spot and displaying a special photo each month. This rotation will become a ritual you enjoy and will give you extra space.
Hot Tip: Commit to leaving that freed-up shelf and counter space empty for a feeling of spaciousness.
Square Footage and Furnishings
Oversized furniture is appealing in a 30,000 square-foot showroom, but in a 1,000 square-foot apartment, it can be suffocating. Choose space-saving furniture: Smaller sofas and reclining chairs are good options. Look for dining chairs with shorter backs. Lighter fabrics and lighter wood tones will also make your space appear larger.
If you have a spare room (like an office) but only rarely need a guest room, why fill your precious space with a bed that’s rarely used but always in your way? Murphy beds are a wonderful old trick for reclaiming the extra room you’re paying for. By folding them up and out of sight, they solve an age-old space problem with style.
Sofa beds and futons also offer an enjoyable seating area when company’s not in town. If you have room to store it, an inflatable bed and pump is another comfortable option for your guests, and it will spare you the downer of a guest bed taking up space you deserve to use and enjoy.
Think Vertical in Your Cabinets
You can remove items cluttering kitchen countertops by creating additional usable space inside your cabinets. In many large home goods stores, you’ll find rubber-coated wire or metal racks meant to give you stacking space above your plates. You can use different shapes of the same type of product for storing other goods above mugs or glassware. Suddenly you have more kitchen cabinet space, so clear off those countertops and enjoy the feeling that extra space gives you. You’ll find you can think more clearly without the clutter.
Portable Storage with Doors
If you need extra space in your bathroom, office, bedroom or living room, focus on storage-type furnishings with solid doors. They’ll hide your clutter, keeping your room (and mind) more serene. Matching the wall color (or at least not seriously contrasting with it) will make your storage-oriented furnishings virtually disappear and keep the room’s focal point the center of interest.
Of course, you can always paint a cool mural on the doors of a large storage closet or hutch, making it the visual surprise of the room, while it cleverly hides stuff you used to trip over.
Ready to purge even more belongings from view? Beneath most beds is a treasure trove of space. Low-slung lidded containers on wheels help you easily tap into this storage bonanza. Use them for items you only need occasionally, like wrapping paper, seasonal décor or clothing, craft projects, photo albums, files or cleaning tools (always keeping child safety in mind).
Sofas and chairs with skirts can also harbor storage space beneath them, while the backs of doors can hold vertical storage for sweaters, shoes and more. The far reaches of a corner kitchen cabinet can also hold a large object that’s rarely used.
Bring the Outdoors in
Visually tying your interior to a balcony, patio or garden view enlarges the feel of your apartment’s interior. Place green plants (real or faux) just inside or adjacent to the view. Match your patio surface color to your interior flooring color with the use of an outdoor rug. Use coordinating accent colors on both sides of this opening. Particularly lovely garden views will be enhanced by the use of green in your interior accents.
Harness the Light
Natural light is your friend, making your apartment feel lighter, brighter and larger. Keep your window coverings open in the daytime and your rental will feel more spacious. A large mirror opposite any window or glass door will also throw more light across your apartment, giving the impression of a more spacious room.
The more floor you see, the more floor it seems like there is, pure and simple. Glass-top dining tables, cocktail tables and end tables all “disappear” with glass tops, giving you the illusion of a larger apartment for free.
Double-Hang Rods & Shoe Cubbies
Simplify your interior by eliminating any extra clothes and shoes that are lying around or hanging on doors. Your lease may not give you the right to reconfigure your closet with efficient double-hang rods, but don’t despair. There are actually closet extension products which hang from a high rod to create a low rod, instantly doubling your space and cutting down on clutter. Inexpensive shoe cubbies, which you can easily assemble, give you an organized place for 20 or more pairs of shoes . . . SO much better than having them strewn across the floor!