Furniture Must-Haves for Maximizing a Small Apartment

Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or living in a big city, small apartments are everywhere. With such little room to work with, it can feel impossible to decorate. But don’t give up! Every space of yours is a space worthy of a personal touch. The trick is that picking out your ideal furniture for your apartment doesn’t start when you move in. Knowing what furniture you need before you move in is the key to success.

Figure Out What’s in Stor(age)

Transmit Bookcase, EEI-2529-WAL by Modway Furniture

Always check for storage in the apartment before you sign the lease.
When taking home tours, see what storage is available and what you’ll have to bring yourself. The smaller the apartment, the more valuable every inch is. There are plenty of ways to add some in yourself, but starting with a decent closet and kitchen cabinets can do wonders for your unpacking stress. Not sure what storage to buy after you move in? Even if you’re not a big reader, I always recommend a bookcase. They’re durable display centers that can reach as tall as your walls and are able to hold a significant amount of weight. Even if you can’t fill every shelf, a single item in each gap will feel like a sophisticated frame.

Shop Decorative Bookshelves:

Make Your Pieces Work Twice as Hard

Bonilla Contemporary Style Convertible Expandable Futon Sofa In Gray, IDF-2815 by Furniture of America

When picking out the essentials, consider dual-function furniture. You get two pieces in one for every inch of floor space. A futon couch is a classic, but there are also storage beds that double as dressers, hollow ottomans that keep your coffee table clear, and more. The big drawbacks are that they tend to be pricier than their single-function alternatives because of their customized design, and are heavier to move. Make sure you have enough strength and helpers to move your couch to the ninth floor before you decide on a must-have, though this applies to all heavy furniture.

Measure Twice, Move Once

Alina Queen Platform Bed Frame, MOD-5553-GRY-SET by Modway Furniture

Don’t be afraid to pull out the measuring tape during an apartment tour. Measure the furniture you’re bringing in against the wall dimensions to make sure everything you own can fit, or else have to put the extras in storage or sell them. Remember to check any stairwells or elevators you’re going to use to move into your apartment to make sure everything can be carried in. Big beds are the biggest offenders, as the mattress is flexible enough to bend through a door, but the frame is not. You can either downsize your mattress to a smaller size or change the frame. Consider a bed frame that is either able to fold in half for travel or can be easily disassembled and reassembled (ideally without the instruction pamphlet you will lose).

Shop Bed Frames:

Wall Art is Your Best Friend

Birds On The Shore Prints, S/2 41586 by Uttermost

Because you don’t have a lot of floor space to decorate in your apartment, the walls become the biggest place to show off your style and personality. Keep in mind that you can’t always paint your walls in a rental; artwork is an ideal alternative for adding color to your space. Wall art is very accessible, with sizes, styles, and price points for just about everyone. Choose between photos, paintings, sculptures, and more. You can even pin a colorful fabric tapestry to your walls for a dramatic effect. The only thing you need to watch for is weight and hanging restrictions based on your lease. Some apartments don’t want you to use nails, sticky adhesives, or make any holes at all.

Use Your Balcony

An apartment balcony is a luxury for outdoor space that not a lot of places have without being a homeowner (by Jeffrey Erb)

If you’ve managed to score an apartment with a balcony, take advantage. A couple deck chairs and a table add an entire room to hang out in (during nice weather). As long as they’re weatherproofed, any chair will work. And if your balcony has extra protection–like another balcony above you acting as a roof–you can stay outside rain or shine. If you want to add style that lasts, take any cushions or pillows for your deck furniture inside when not using it. Even the toughest outdoor fabrics will fade and dirty with enough exposure to the elements.

While it can seem too hectic to layout plan your apartment before you even pick out a place to live, it’s crucial to making your apartment look and feel like home.

Shop Outdoor Dining Sets: