10 Essentials for Small Homes and Apartments

small home living area

More and more people are opting for smaller spaces, whether they live in a big city apartment or a cute, country home. The reason for that is, there are a lot of benefits to living in a small apartment or a small house—like cheaper utilities and less cleaning to do—but it takes a bit of creativity and organization to make it work.

If you live in a small space because you have to, or because you have decided to downsize, and you're not quite sure how to make it work, there are a few essentials you need to consider.

So, if you're looking to live a big, full life in a small home, consider these 10 different things I feel are essential to do so.

1. Mirrors

Mirrors help make a room feel bigger by adding the illusion that there's more space beyond the wall it's mounted on. Not only that, but mirrors also help reflect light. Having a well-lit space will make you feel so much happier than a dark, dingy one.

2. Carts

Having a cart on wheels can work in any room, and many people consider them an essential for making their small spaces work. They help add more storage and another surface, but can be easily moved out of the way when needed.

Carts are often best in bathrooms and kitchens. In the bathroom you can store extra hand towels, cotton balls, cotton swabs, soaps, and more, whereas in the kitchen you can use one as a microwave stand or even as a bar cart. However, you can also use carts on wheels in your home office or studio to store supplies, or you can place one in your child's bedroom for toys, or you can even use one in your living room as a movable end table.

3. Baskets

basket with magazines

Not all storage looks pretty. Open shelves can make a small space feel cluttered and junky when all of your belongings are piled up on display, but when stored in decorative baskets, your things will be organized and out of sight. Baskets come in a wide variety of styles and colors and can be matched to any decor, making them an excellent storage solution for small homes.

4. Ottoman

Ottomans are fantastic pieces of furniture for small homes that can double-duty as a seat or as a tabletop, and there's room for storing things underneath, like extra blankets or cushions, too. The best way to use an ottoman is to keep a tray to hold your TV remotes, books, and coasters on your ottoman for when you want to use it as a table, and then you can simply move the tray whenever you need extra seating.

5. Stacking Stools

Another great way to make sure you have enough seats for your guests is to keep stacking stools in your small home. Stacking stools can be easily stored in a closet to keep them out of the way or out on display where they are easy to grab whenever you have more people than chairs.

Not having enough seats is a common problem in a small home, but if you include this essential, you won't have to worry about it any more.

6. Multipurpose Furniture

There actually are a surprising number of ways to make your furniture work with limited space. Just like an ottoman can be used in multiple ways, so can a lot of other pieces of furniture. For example, your TV stand can also be used as a book shelf or used to store DVDs. Your kitchen table might have utensil drawers built in or a small shelf underneath; or maybe your headboard has floating shelves attached to it to be used as nightstands.

So, the next time you're out shopping for new furniture, look for multipurpose furniture that either has built in storage or can be used in a number of other ways.

7. Under-bed Storage

bed storage

Beds take up a lot of floor space, even if it's a single bed, so why let that space underneath go to waste? If you don't have a bed that has built-in storage, you can buy containers that fit perfectly underneath for storing out-of-season clothes, shoes, and more.

8. Floating Shelves

Installing floating shelves can save you a lot of floor space; where there would normally be legs is now an open space. You can add floating shelves to use as nightstands, bookshelves, or even storage for your pots and pans. The possibilities are endless.

9. Floor-to-ceiling Shelves

Another great way to save floor space is to keep with the theme of building storage upward, rather than across. Floor-to-ceiling shelves will help you take advantage of every inch of space in your small apartment or house.

10. Hanging Storage

There are a lot of different things you can store on your walls without using a shelf, including jewelry, pots and pans, mugs, wine glasses, utensils, shoes, and more. You can use rods, hooks, baskets, magnet strips. and door pockets.