5 Tips for Living in a Small Apartment

North Hollywood may be a little cheaper than other neighborhoods in Los Angeles, but it’s still not exactly cheap.

If you’re a young person just getting started in the city, learning to live in a small space can be an adjustment — especially if you come from a much lower-cost-of-living area.

Fortunately, this path has been well-trod. There are plenty of clever hacks, tools, and furniture pieces that can help you make your tiny apartment feel much, much bigger. From multipurpose furniture pieces to using your wall space, here are five of the best ways to maximize your limited living space.

1) Make the Most of Your Wall Space

Small-space living is all about making the most of the space you have, so if you aren’t using your vertical space to the fullest, you’re missing out on a lot of potential storage and decor space. Use open shelving, pegboards, and corner shelves and cabinets to wring more storage and decor space out of your tiny apartment.

Hang your TV on the wall, and use wall sconces to eliminate the need to spend valuable floor and table real estate on lamps. In the kitchenette, hang pots, pans, and utensils from a ceiling or wall rack. You can even install a bar rack to store stemmed glasses. Use a floating wall desk for a space-saving home office, and take bookcases and cabinets all the way up to the ceiling. A high shelf can provide storage for books, knick-knacks, and essentials, while making the ceiling feel higher.

2) Buy Multi-Purpose Furniture

When you’re living in a small space, all, or at least most, of your furniture should be pulling double-duty. Use a futon or a daybed to go effortlessly from night to day and back again — or, if you have a one-bedroom, use this hack to add guest bed capabilities to your living room.

Use a trunk for a coffee table, and install a Murphy table that can serve for dining, getting ready in the morning, or working from home. Use wall hooks for storing everything from linens to mugs to jackets and pet accessories. You’re really only limited by your imagination, as the increase in popularity of city living, with its accompanying emphasis on downsizing, has flooded the market, and the more DIY-minded corners of the internet, with creative, space-saving, double-duty furniture pieces of all kinds.

floor space

3) Rent a Storage Unit to Declutter Your Living Space

Lack of storage space is one of the biggest issues small-space dwellers face, and there’s only so much decluttering you can do to address it. You do need some possessions, after all, and while there’s a lot to be said for decluttering and organizing your space well, there’s also no shame in renting a storage unit, especially for items that might be hard to stash in a small studio or one-bedroom. Holiday decorations, sporting equipment, beach umbrellas, family heirlooms, winter clothes for those Christmas trips back to Wisconsin — all of it could go into a storage unit, so you don’t have to worry about stepping over it or shoving it aside multiple times a day, every day, for the rest of your life. You wouldn’t be the first small-apartment dweller to have the idea — and you should be able to easily find storage in Los Angeles as a result.

4) Maximize Natural Light

If at all possible when apartment-hunting, choose a place that gets plenty of natural light through big windows. The more natural light your apartment gets, the bigger and more spacious it will feel. You can maximize the amount of light in your apartment through design tricks like painting with high-gloss paint or hanging large mirrors on the wall to reflect the light.

5) Keep It Clean

In a tiny apartment, there’s nowhere to go to escape the mess — but, fortunately, with less space to clean, the job takes up less of your free time. Keep your small living space clean, tidy, and well-organized, because leaving just a few things out of place in a small space can quickly make it begin to feel disorganized and cluttered. Give yourself an advantage by setting up some organizational systems to keep everything in its place, and clean as you go so the work never gets overwhelming.

Living in a small space is challenging, but what does it matter if you have a tiny apartment — you’re in Los Angeles! You can always go out to enjoy everything the city has to offer, while your small apartment can be your little slice of refuge from the hustle and bustle of city life.