Posted Nov 24, 2015

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Tiny San Francisco Apartment

As Tony Bennett famously crooned, “I left my heart in San Francisco.” From the countless public parks to the vibrant culture, it’s no surprise that nearly one million people call San Francisco home. However, with the perks of living in the Golden Gate City comes a hefty price tag for housing.

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Tiny San Francisco Apartment

The average rent in San Francisco is $3,458 per month, and you’re living in luxury if your apartment is more than 700 square feet.

A tiny apartment doesn’t mean you are doomed to a life of cramped solitude. By following these ten tips, you can make your space look larger and feel more spacious with plenty of room for guests. Just make sure that you receive written permission from your landlord if you make any permanent alterations to your space.

1. Let There Be Light

Dark colors make a small place look even smaller. You have likely heard it a million times, but only because it’s true: brighten your space with white paint and light-colored furniture. Hanging mirrors reflect light and can also make a room look more spacious.

2. Create Height

While white walls create space, pops of color add excitement.

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Tiny San Francisco Apartment - Create Height

Add a bright area rug or, to make a room look taller, paint or wallpaper the ceiling. By drawing the eye upward, you create the illusion of height.

3. Go Vertical

When you are living in a tiny San Francisco apartment, make the most of every inch. Add wall shelves above your couch, bed, and tables to store books, vases, music players, and even kitchenware that can’t fit in your kitchen. For added security, use shelves that have lips, which will help prevent things from falling off.

4. Roll up Your Sleeves

The best way to make furniture fit perfectly a space is to customize it to your needs.

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Tiny San Francisco Apartment - Roll Up Your Sleeves

Try a few simple DIY projects, such as making your own wall shelves, coffee table, or desk.

5. Get Clever with Storage

Storage is a San Francisco renter’s best friend. Repurpose an old chest as a coffee table so you can store pillows, blankets, or dinnerware that doesn’t fit in your kitchen. You can store cooking pans and baking sheets in the oven and seasonal clothing under the bed or couch.

6. Entertain with Floor Pillows

You can entertain in a tiny apartment even without a spacious couch.

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Tiny San Francisco Apartment - Entertain with Floor Pillows

Floor pillows are comfortable and easy to store. Slide them under your couch or bed when you are not using them.

7. Creatively Divide a Room

If you live in a studio apartment, create privacy without making your space look smaller by dividing up the room. Separate your bed from the rest of the room with a curtain, open bookcase, or headboard. With a curtain, you can easily open and close off the space. By using a bookcase, you can make the most of the divider by storing books and other decor on the shelves. If you prefer a more permanent solution that looks like a wall, try a headboard.

8. Double Duty

Cut down on your furniture by using one piece for multiple purposes. A daybed makes a great bed by night and a couch by day.

10 Ways to Make the Most of Your Tiny San Francisco Apartment - Double Duty

Rather than waste space with a console and a television, use a computer monitor for both. With so many streaming services now available, from Netflix to Hulu to Amazon Prime, you can ditch cable and still access your favorite TV shows and movies.

9. Go Bigger

It sounds counterintuitive, but you can make a tiny apartment seem larger with a few large pieces of furniture, as opposed to multiple small pieces scattered throughout. Consider using a larger table as both a dining table and desk, rather than using two separate pieces of furniture. Instead of a small bed and a couch, place a larger bed in a corner and, when you have guests over, place pillows against the wall to transform it into a couch.

10. Declutter and Breathe

It is easy to get carried away with filling every inch of your apartment with shelves, artwork, and decor. Give your apartment space to breathe and don’t decorate from corner to corner. Group decor together, such as a wall shelf with candles and books near a hanging picture, and then leave open space between your next grouping of decor.

While it takes time to adjust to cramped quarters, living in a tiny apartment doesn’t have to feel claustrophobic. With a few design tricks and layout hacks, you can make the most of your pint-sized San Francisco apartment.

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Ten Ways to Make the Most of Your Tiny San Francisco Apartment

Alice Williams is the Community Outreach Manager for Internet Service Partners. She has an MA in Communication Studies from San Francisco State and now lives in Salt Lake City.

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