December 6, 2021

5 Tips for Small Space Living

Love it or hate it, small homes are usually part of life at some point and I think it’s more than possible to thrive in these environments, rather than constantly longing for more space for our stuff.

Since I moved on from the ultimate small space- college dorms and apartment life, AJ and I have lived in several small spaces. A little basement apartment in a larger family home, a tiny one room house and now a two bedroom loft apartment have all been home to us. And in that time I’ve acquired a few tips for making the most of these little spaces. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few tips I’ve picked up in my struggle to make tiny living areas work practically.

*Granted, I don’t always live by these tips. It’s equally accurate to say I’ve acquired lots of tips on how NOT to live in small spaces*

1. Utilize ALL of your space.

This may be the most important thing I’ve learned. Living in a small space usually means not having the storage options that you would have in a larger home. Find every inch of unused space in your home, and make it useful. For me, that has meant adding open shelving to a wall in our kitchen because all of our dishes (ie. coffee mugs) wouldn’t fit in the cupboards. I’ve also had to turn a coat closet into my actual closet and instal storage above the toilet. Use the space above your fridge and cabinets wisely- this can make a huge difference. Get creative with how you store things and organize your rooms- maybe your kitchen doubles as a dining room or your bedroom door is actually a pretty shower curtain hung to differentiate the space.

2. Use light colors when decorating.

Though this is more aesthetic than it is about organization, I’ve learned that it can make all the difference in opening up your space and making it appear larger. In our basement apartment, we (for some reason that seemed good at the time) decided to paint the majority of our space a dark grey. I absolutely love grey, and the color would have been perfect as an accent, but for the main color, not so much. It felt like we lived in a cave and had to escape to our lighter colored bedrooms to see some sunlight. Not very fun. Save the dark colors for accent walls or decorations (which I’m all for doing, I LOVE pops of color!) and stick to light colors for the walls.

3. Downsize, downsize, downsize!

This is probably the one I’ve had the hardest time with and still feel guilty about at times. Living in a little home means you just can’t have as much stuff, plain and simple. Unless you like living in the middle of a Hoarders episode- I recommend being more minimalistic than not. Do you really need three sets of dishes? Or a king size bed? Or a closet full of clothes you don’t even wear? Sell or donate what you don’t need and replace it with quality items that you can take with you if you ever upgrade, but that still fit in your small space.

4. Personalize in small ways.

Even in rentals where you aren’t allowed to change the wall colors or make major changes, it’s still possible to infuse your place with your personality. Paint an end table or dresser a fun pop of color, or showcase a unique collection by creating a gallery wall. Invest in fun pieces that show your style but don’t require replacing fixtures or going overboard.

5. Don’t let the mess stress you out.

Small spaces are easily cluttered and messy because things have fewer places to hide. It’s important to come to terms with the fact that life is messy and things won’t stay organized. Remember to embrace the uniqueness of your space and your personality as you work towards making your small space the most that it can be!

What lessons have you all learned from living in little homes? I would love to hear any that I left out or stories of what you’ve learned!

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