Tips and Tricks for Maximizing Your Living Space
Get the Most of Your Living Space

Whether you rent a small apartment or bedroom, or you live in a tiny home, there are plenty of ways to maximize your living space while making your home appear larger than it really is. For instance, many types of modern-day furniture pieces are designed to fit into smaller living spaces such as kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and laundry rooms. Even affordable home goods retailers such as IKEA can provide you with a wide array of furniture options for small living spaces.

When you move into a small living space, you do not need to splurge on hiring an interior designer to help you get the most of your square footage. Instead, take advantage of shelves, stackable appliances, mirrors, small and multi-purpose furniture pieces and hidden storage units. Donating unneeded items to charity can also help. To learn more about how to maximize your living space on a budget, review the information below.

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On average, how large are most homes in the United States?

While many Americans are choosing to join the tiny house movement, this affordable real estate trend has not caught on entirely, as the average size of a home is larger today than it was in 1973. In 2010, for instance, the average square footage of a new single-family home was 2,392, compared to:

  • 2,266 in 2000.
  • 2,080 in 1990.
  • 1,740 in 1980.
  • 1,660 in 1973.

Between 2007 and 2010, the average size of a single-family home decreased from 2,521 square feet to 2,392. Furthermore, the average size of an apartment in the U.S. was 934 square feet in 2016, or

  • 504 square feet for a studio.
  • 752 for a one-bedroom.
  • 1,126 for a two-bedroom.

In highly-populated cities such as Chicago, New York City, Houston and Los Angeles, the average size of a studio apartment ranges from 466 to 524 square feet, while the average size of a one-bedroom apartment in New York City is around 694 square feet. For Americans who rent apartments in major cities such as these, they often need to choose multi-functional furniture pieces and appliances that help them to get the most out of these smaller spaces.

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What can I do to make the most out of a small space?

Whether you live in a small studio or one-bedroom apartment, or you need additional storage and living space, there are several ways to make your space appear larger. For instance, several simple tips include:

  • Purchasing multi-functional furniture pieces such as daybeds and small end tables. While daybeds can double as a couch and a bed for your guests, a small table can serve as a work station during the day and a nightstand in the evening.
  • Using floating or lift-top tables and desks. Floating coffee tables, desks and dressers create a light and airy feel, while lift-top tables double as a standard coffee table and dinner table.
  • Hanging lights from the ceiling. Instead of using floor lamps that take up useable living space, hang lamps or lights from your ceiling.
  • Ditching your headboard for shelves. By replacing your headboard with wall-mounted shelves, you will obtain additional storage space for displaying books, picture frames and artwork.
  • Adding a loft above your kitchen or living room. Whether the loft houses your bed or a space for your guests, a loft helps you to make use of additional ceiling space.
  • Building shelves under your stairs. If your home has a staircase, build shelving units under each stair for additional storage space.
  • Building a window-facing breakfast bar. If your space does not have room for a dining table or your window displays a great view to the city, mount two brackets and a wooden panel to the front of a window and place two stools underneath.
  • Purchasing stackable appliances and smaller furniture pieces. While standalone washer and dryers are often large enough to take up a full closet or laundry room, a stackable washer and dryer is inexpensive and takes up less space. Additionally, apartment sofas are often more practical for smaller spaces than oversized sectionals.

What are the cheapest things I can do to maximize my living area?

While you may purchase multi-functional furniture pieces and stackable appliances, there are several other simple steps you can take to make your home appear larger. For instance, the following tricks can help you to enhance the appearance of your small living area without breaking the bank:

  • Mount a large mirror to your wall to make the room appear larger and airier.
  • Ditch your television stand for a wall mount.
  • Move your shoes off the floor by purchasing shoe hangers and hanging them in a closet.
  • Paint your walls white or a neutral color, as this will help your furniture to stand out.
  • Use a different color for each separate living space.
  • To create the illusion of a taller ceiling and more space, display your artwork above eye level.
  • Hang curtains from your ceilings to create separate rooms or zones.
  • Purchase lifts to raise your bed off the ground, creating additional space for storage underneath.

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Additionally, disposing of any unwanted or unneeded items or donating them to charity can also help you to maximize the space in which you live. Popular places to donate furniture include Vietnam Veterans of America, Goodwill, the Salvation Army and Freecycle. Many organizations throughout the U.S. also accept gently-worn clothing and unopened beauty products. Popular organizations include the Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, Madre, Dress for Success, Fairy Godmothers Inc. and Share Your Soles.

Which are the best types of furniture for smaller spaces?

While an oversized sectional may be your preferred type of sofa, this type of furniture is generally not practical for small living spaces such as studios or one-bedroom apartments. However, compact furniture pieces are available to you if you wish to maximize your living space. For instance, the following furniture pieces are ideal if you lack living or storage space:

  • Storage carts.
  • Hall stands, as they can be used as a closet.
  • Custom-made couches or apartment-sized sofas.
  • Wall-mounted pot and pan racks.
  • Clothing racks.
  • Storage ottomans.
  • Modular storage systems.
  • C-side tables.
  • Nesting accent tables.
  • Corner desks.

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