Small apartments are a reality around the world – a fact recently confirmed in visual form by the BBC. While the average US home clocks in at 2,300sf (with Australia coming in close, at 2,217sf), the situation is radically different elsewhere in Europe. The average home in Denmark is a mere 1,475sf. That’s still far better than the 1,475sf of an average French home, 1,044sf for an average home in Spain, 947sf in Ireland, and 818sf in the UK. Meanwhile, in Asia, high population densities make the average home even smaller than that!
It’s no wonder that the quest for small apartment furniture and décor ideas is global, prompting furniture giant Ikea to start a Small Spaces campaign. Today, we bring our contribution to this quest, with the 11 best small apartment furniture ideas collected from around the web.
01. Small apartment furniture: Stacked floating shelves
It goes without saying that storage space is the biggest problem when you live in a small apartment. With barely enough room to store essentials, like clothes and laundry, storing mementos, heirlooms, and decorative items becomes something of an issue without a solution. Our suggestion is to line up several staggered floating shelves, which allow for more of the wall to be seen, thus making the room seem bigger. This is a smart solution for small space shelving storage. The cool thing is such shelving units are neutral enough to go with just about any style of décor, so you won’t have to replace them every time you decide to redecorate.
Three-piece white wooden floating shelf set available for around $17 on eBay.
02. Small apartment furniture: painted furniture ideas
If you’re renting out a studio or small apartment, you might not be able to implement all those great ideas floating about the web, which tell you to play with colors. However, if the furniture’s all yours, why not spice things up with a paint job? The light green palette illustrated in the above picture makes as big of an impact in lighting up the room as an all-new color on the walls. Painting furniture takes some practice to master (as well as a lot of patience), but it’s an affordable redesign solution, which anyone can try out. You can also search for more painted furniture ideas that will make your tiny apartment seem bigger.
03. Small apartments with high ceiling
The Swedes are masters, when it comes to making the most of tiny spaces in old buildings. While the go-to color palette usually involves white walls, light natural wood tones for the flooring and color accents here and there, they experiment a whole lot with small apartment furniture. Case in point: the floating bed pictured above, which makes clever use of this apartment’s tall ceilings. The storage cabinets are also worth a mention, since they, too, are stacked all the way up to the roof. Hint – if you’re under 5’8”, you’re probably going to need a ladder to navigate such an apartment.
High sleeper bed available on eBay UK, from GBP99.
04. Movable walls and sliding doors
Yet another issue that many small apartment dwellers face is the lack of privacy. In shared homes, this can easily turn into the root cause of arguments. How can you avoid such frustration? One solution comes from the apartment on display above: sliding doors, which separate part of the apartment. You can also use movable walls to close off a kitchen, a home office, or even a bedroom like this. Keep the doors transparent and colorful and benefit from a well-lit enclosure, and a pop of color. Sliding doors and movable walls are generally a great idea for small homes. You could probably benefit from using them all over the place, including wardrobes and kitchen cabinets.
05. Spiral staircases for small spaces
The above picture features a tiny loft in Spain, whose designers were ingenious enough to add a spiraling staircase to the upper level. There’s only enough room up there for a sleeping area, with a bed and some storage space. However, that’s all you need, for intimacy, a great view, and a floor plan that keeps the home functional and interesting, as well as easy to navigate. Spiral staircases also come with the advantage of being sturdier and easier to use than ladders. To boot, they also take up far less space than regular staircases – so what is there not to like about this design idea?
06. Small apartment storage ideas
If you own a particularly small apartment, then you should probably consider investing in a custom-designed storage unit, like the one in this 40sqm apartment in Tel Aviv. The owners of the home opted for the all-white look, with flooring in natural wooden tones. And, since the layout of the apartment was also unusual, they chose to have a bespoke storage unit plopped right into the middle of it all. This one of the most innovative storage ideas for small apartments we have ever seen. There’s space for the day area on one side, with a recessed niche for the TV and plenty of drawers, while the other side is the kitchen, complete with all the basic appliances. Clever, huh?
07. Storage ideas for small spaces on a budget
Those who can’t afford having a bespoke storage unit built just for them and their own needs can always opt for open shelving units. They work in just about any room around the house, from the living-room to the kitchen to the bedroom and the bathroom. The example above is an industrial metal shelf, reminiscent of the ones they use in professional restaurant kitchens. Not only does it add a touch of class to the room, but it also works like a charm with the apparent brick wall behind it. Note the use of baskets, employed for storing kitchen essentials, as well as the pops of color and fun that the decorative items bring to the design. As you can see, you can find many easy and cheap storage ideas for small apartments.
Vittsjö shelving unit for sale at Ikea, for around $80.
08. Hallway organization
Often enough, small apartments simply don’t have an entrance hallway, which, in turn, poses several problems. First off, you have people walking into your bedroom-cum-living-room straight from the building’s lobby or the street. Then, there’s no place for you to hang your coat, leave your shoes when you come home, and store keys, umbrellas, and the like. One solution is to create your own storage space by the door, by removing several shelves from a bookcase unit, adding hooks for coats, and topping it all off with baskets or boxes for storing the afore-mentioned personal effects. What’s more, such a small apartment furniture solution will also add depth to the room, by literally having a recessed space put in. Note how neatly everything is labeled in the picture above, to make sure visitors get the right idea about each storage compartment.
09. Mirrors for small spaces
Mirror, mirror on the wall, the cabinet door, the doors to your wardrobe. Adding mirrors and other reflective surfaces to a small apartment is probably the oldest design trick in the book. And it works like a charm. Mirrors, as well as glass, steel, chrome, and other shiny surfaces, get the light to bounce off them and enhance any space they’re installed in. Sure, they may make the home looks like it belongs to a consummate narcissist. But that’s a small price to pay, when you have to deal with small apartment furniture and layout issues. A good tip is to place the mirrors right across a window, to allow as much natural light as possible to inundate the room. Thus, you can use mirrors to make a room look bigger, or to create more light.
Hemnes mirror for sale at ikea, for around $100.
10. Small kitchen ideas
Back in 2010, Kristin Laass and Norman Elbelt wowed the whole world with their amazing compact kitchen concept, called ‘Small Type’. The two German design students came up with a unit measuring no more than one square meter when closed. This is one of the best small kitchen ideas of all times. What can fit into that space? Everything, including a kitchen table, a small fridge, an oven, a sink, plus cleverly compartmented shelves and drawers. The concept was on display at the 2010 DMY International Design Festival in Berlin, together with six other concepts for small kitchens designed by students.
11. TVs go on the wall
In larger homes, TVs can sit comfortably on their consoles. But small apartment owners often can’t afford such splurging when it comes to space. This, however, is no tragedy, in terms of furnishing and décor. All you need is a wall-mount unit and a flair for design to make it work in your favor. Hang up your flat screen TV on the wall and use the console underneath it as storage space. Adding a console also prevents the TV from looking like a weird, black floating object on the wall. Frame the TV with open shelving (floating, if possible), as well as with your favorite decorative elements. This way, the TV will turn into the focal point of the room and make entertaining guests that much more fun.
Got any small apartment furniture tips for us? How big is your small home and what solutions did you implement in furnishing it? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comment section – and include links to where they can be purchased, if you want to be extra helpful.