Posted May 19, 2015

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less

If you’re a college student, a young professional just starting your first job or looking to save some money, there’s a chance you’ve forgone a few of those little luxuries for example, a spacious apartment. Or, you have discovered that you would rather live alone– which means that you might only be able to afford a studio or one-bedroom apartment. 

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less

Then, there is always the conundrum of living in a bigger city. Although there are benefits of having an apartment near public transportation, great walkable neighborhoods and other amenities of a metropolis, it usually means you’re working with less square footage.

Real estate markets in places like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago mean that you might be competing for space, which usually results in you trying to maximize as much space as possible.

If any of these situations sound familiar, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways you can still live comfortably in 700 square feet or less. All it takes is knowing a few basic storage tips and life​ hacks! Read below for some great ideas to get you started:

1. Floating Shelves Can Work Wonders

No room for side tables or bedside furniture? Is your bathroom so tiny that you can’t hold all of your toiletries? You can still display all of your favorite knick knacks and picture frames or create more space by installing floating shelves.

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less - Floating Shelves Can Work Wonders

Not only does this make the most of your square footage, but it can also allow you to easily decorate your living room or bedroom without paying for fancy wall art (try a tiny indoor garden).

 2. Stick to Lighter Colors:

According to Inhabitat, one of the tricks of the trade for creating the illusion of a larger space is using lighter colors. Choosing pastels or soft cream or white for your color inspiration could be a winning idea, as they make everything lighter and airier (which could work even more beautifully if you have a lot of natural light).

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less - Stick to Lighter Colors

Renting means you probably can’t do much about changing the color of your hardwood floors, but a nice area rug in a lighter shade could work wonderfully if you are trying to lighten up the place.

3. Rollaway Furniture is Your New Best Friend

When I first moved to Chicago, friends who had lived here before me let me know that I would probably need some sort of rollaway furniture, which seemed like a foreign concept to me at the time. However, there is a stroke of genius to keeping your closet, storage containers, or even a mini bar, on wheels.

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less - Rollaway Furniture Is Your New Best Friend

For instance, when you’re getting dressed in the morning, you can roll out your closet, pick out what you need, then roll it away (many renters will store seasonal clothing, accessories or shoes under their beds with this option). Or, if you’re having people over for happy hour, you can roll out your bar, make drinks and then roll it away, leaving more room for your guests.

4. Hanging Kitchen Appliances 

Usually the room that gets sacrificed the most in terms of space in small apartments is the kitchen. If you love to cook at home like I do, this can come as a major shock, especially if you have a lot of appliances and cookware.

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less - Hanging Kitchen Appliances

However, you can free up space in the kitchen easily by hanging the pots and pans you use the most along the wall, then storing lesser-used items in the kitchen cabinets.

5. De-clutter, and Then De-clutter Some More

Clutter should never take over your apartment, regardless of how much square footage you are working with. However, in a small apartment, it’s all but necessary to take a minimalist approach.

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less - Declutter and Then Declutter Some More

Before moving in, be sure to donate or toss stuff you don’t use anymore, and conduct periodic purges of the space so that you can stay on top of keeping the apartment as streamlined as possible.

6. Embrace Public Outdoor Spaces

Living in a city usually requires dealing with the fact that you will not have much of a yard (if any), which means that you will need to make the best of the local parks and outdoor space when you can. Take the pup for a walk in the park, host a picnic with your friends or take some time for a stroll.

Small Apartment? Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less - Embrace Public Outdoor Spaces

Just make sure to stretch your legs every once in a while– small apartments, even when decorated beautifully and efficiently, are going to feel a little cramped from time to time.

Living in a small space of your own can be a great experience. Just make sure to stay on top of cleaning and de-cluttering, and you will come home to a warm and welcoming apartment no matter the square footage!

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Small Apartment- Tips for Living in 700 Square Feet or Less

Rachel LaCroix


Rachel LaCroix is from the Music City, but she now calls the Windy City home. In her spare time, Rachel enjoys writing, reading, seeing local bands, frequenting Chicago eateries, playing with her adorable schnauzer and, most of all, traveling. She's seen Costa Rica to Copenhagen and loves it all!

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