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Small Apartment Storage Ideas

How to Make a Tiny Home or Room Seem Larger

If you live in a small, single room studio apartment or tiny home, chances are that you are always looking for ways to make the space feel larger than it is. Storage is probably at a premium, and the concept of having distinct rooms for different activities is an unlikely. The common set up for single room apartments is to have a combination living room and bedroom. Some people who work from home will also have to make this space function as an office, meaning they rarely get to leave. This can work for a while, after all, many college dorm rooms follow this formula. However, it is not always the best solution and being cooped up in a single room 24-7 can start to drive a person stir crazy. Most everyone will eventually long for a private sleeping space or a separate work area that is different from their entertaining or relaxation space. And of course, everyone needs adequate storage. But how can all this be accomplished in a tiny single room home?

Living in a home with less square footage doesn't mean you necessarily have to make do with less. You just need to be well organized, super efficient, and maybe a bit creative in how you organize the space.

To make a studio apartment feel bigger than it is, you may need to think outside the box. Consider using furniture and spaces differently than they might have been originally intended. For example, a beautiful, wood clothes dresser, chest of drawers or armoire intended for the bedroom can look great as the focal point in a living room. A walk in closet can become a cozy separate bedroom or private home office. Use glass and mirrors as accessories. When combined with a light paint color, they really tend to open up the space. Purchase a Murphy bed or some other dual purpose furniture with hidden storage to save on space. And lastly, make sure to maximize your vertical as well as horizontal square footage.



We've all heard of the bedroom closet, meaning the closet space inside a typical bedroom. However, have you ever considered the closet bedroom? Many small, studio apartments will include a walk in closet for storage. Some of the closets are large enough to hold a small bed and might be better used as a bedroom. With a closet bedroom, you will ideally want to store most of your clothing folded rather than hung from a rod. Shelves above a bed can look very nice and will hold a lot of clothes. To keep access to the shelves easy, consider purchasing a Murphy bed. Available in both horizontal and vertical configurations, they can be closed up when not in use so that you don't have to stand on the bed to access the shelves. Allow the shelving to go as far up to the ceiling as possible, maintaining space between the shelves at about 14 inches — ideal for a 12 inch stack of folded clothing. Don't let your stacks get higher than 12 inches or they will fall over and look messy. Putting your bedroom in the closet frees up a lot of the space in the main living area. You can furnish the space as a den and make it into a nice room for entertaining. A nice armoire or wall unit with drawers and doors can provide additional storage in the living room, including hanging space for the suits and dresses that can't be stored folded, without looking like a bedroom storage closet. Plus, it can look very attracive against your living room wall.

living room for small studio apartment
horizontal Murphy Bed in closet
This apartment mainly consists of a 12 foot x 14 foot living area with a small, narrow walk in closet near the bathroom and a tiny kitchenette. A horizontal twin size Murphy bed was installed along one wall of the closet, creating a tiny, separate bedroom. The Murphy bed includes integrated shelving to handle most of the owner's wardrobe. A tiny reach in closet next to the apartment front door provides the small amount of space needed for hanging. A dresser with a mirror above was used in the living area for additional storage. It offers the look of an expensive credenza while filling a practical need for storage. The mirror and glass coffee tables keep the space from looking cluttered. A comfy reading chair and sofa complete the space. Notice how the overall pallette of the room was kept light and neutral with white walls and light gray upholstered furniture. The overall look is not that of a one room apartment at all, but rather a small, sophisticated lounge or den. The owner opted for a sofa bed in the living room, and can even host overnight family and friends in a pinch.
From the portfolio of Josh Palka >



The advantages that come from being able to work from home can be enormous, but there can also be stress from having your work space the same as your home space. It is possible to use your closet as an office, thus providing a separation between home and work spaces. The office does not have to be large. A desk is considered humanly comfortable if it offers a minimum of 42 inches width for leg room and 36 inches behind the chair. If the desk is to be installed in a corner, a return off one side can increase the surface area of the desk without effecting leg room. This gives the desk an "L" shaped configuration. The minimum length on a desk return is 15 inches in order to be usable, but many are longer. These space requirements are relatively small and can be worked into many walk in closet designs. Upper wall hung storage above the desk can be both useful and decorative if you minimize the visual impact by using doors on the cabinets and a lot of glass.

closet deskmultifunction wall unit with hidden desk

If tiny desks in the closet are not your thing, you can give a small apartment big functionality by investing in multipurpose furniture. Dual use pieces can give the same room different purposes. It can make the place feel larger than it is by allocating the entire square footage to each function as though each use was housed in its own separate room — office/bedroom/livingroom. This type of furniture often includes a hidden desk or bed that folds out of a cabinet or wall unit. Murphy beds function on this principle, but desks and tables are also often designed to pull out of a cabinet.

combination desk, wall unit, and bed in one piece of furniture



As with most open floor plans, removing will make the place seem larger. If you opt for furniture style built-ins for your closet, there is really no need to hide the closet behind a wall. Removing the wall gives more visual space, and the built-in closet components give the space a one-of-a-kind, custom, Craftsman feel. Closet sections do not need to be hidden behind cabinet doors when everything remains neat and tidy — which is sure to be the case when everything is designed to have its own place.

open closet
This studio apartment featured a single closet on one end of the space. The closet walls were removed to create a larger visual footprint for the living space. Beautiful cabinetry with integrated closet lighting system puts everything on display like a high end men's clothing store. Dress clothes are basically on display in this apartment, while everyday jeans and tees are stashed in drawers in a credenza in the main living space. A hidden hamper was used to hide the laundry.

It is possible to live large in a tiny home. There are many ways to make a small space seem larger. Opening up walls, using dual purpose furniture that incorporates a lot of storage in hidden alcoves, and just plain getting creative with the space will go a long way towards making your limited square footage feel bigger than it is. Built-ins will often work better than off the shelf solutions, because their custom dimensions can maximize every single inch you have to work with, with nothing left to waste. If you have a positive, can-do attitude you are certain to be able to find or create storage and more that will make your space fit your needs.