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Open kitchen and living room


Storage everywhere. Beds that fold up into the wall and become desks. Kitchen counters with multiple layers for food preparation.  Space-saving furniture gives you more room to function and can accommodate your lifestyle when you live in a smaller rental apartment.

If you have opted to move into a smaller urban space, you probably made that decision because of location or budget (or both). Now you need to design the look and function of your rooms to make them both practical and beautiful.

Whatever your budget, chances are you are going to either adapt some of your old furniture or sell it and buy new. It’s exciting to decorate a new space, but before you make a purchase, it’s best to plan.

Measure your main rooms

Measure the rooms first. You’ll base your decisions about which items you’ll keep and which you’ll change partly on whether they fit into your new home. You might take things one step further and sketch the apartment dimensions to scale on graph paper.

Plan for the built-ins

Many small apartments have bookshelves and other storage areas already built into the walls. These are both a blessing and a curse. The extra storage is great, but it sometimes limits your options for positioning your own furniture. If you have built-ins, the graph paper sketch mentioned above will really come in handy.

2. Built in Organizer via RENTCafe

Space-saving organizer

Downsize/re-purpose what you have

If you have a sectional couch, you could use part of it as your living room couch. Two of your four bar stools could look just right under a kitchen island.

3. Small Kitchen Design

Small kitchen design

The long low bench with storage now at the foot of your bed might be great as a coffee table (just update the lid). Much of what you have now might be used in a different way in your new space.

Use multi-functional pieces

Once you’ve decided to buy furniture, choose pieces that can function in different ways. In the kitchen, for instance, choose an island or a small table with a folding leaf or two. Then, when raised, it becomes a table for four or more.

4. Kitchen Island Set via Kohls

Kitchen Island Set via Kohl’s

Another great solution when looking to maximize space, wall beds can totally do the trick. These multi-functional pieces can easily convert into a bookshelf, a desk, or a couch while still providing a comfortable sleeping area. If your landlord will let you anchor the unit to the wall, it’s a great option for small spaces.

5. Wall Bed via Costco

Wall bed with two storage units via Costco Wholesale

Consider all options for storage

Finally, and most importantly, think “storage” as a priority. All living spaces need it, but it’s even more vital for smaller spaces as they look more attractive with less clutter. If you’re buying a new bed, consider a platform with drawers on the bottom. If you’ve already got a bed with the traditional metal frame, buy some under-bed drawers/storage bins. Use nesting tables where possible to provide extra surface space for when you entertain. In the bathroom, use over-the-door racks to hang your towels.

6. desk-bed via rentcafe

Design by Susanna Cots

With a good plan you can turn a small rental apartment into a beautiful space that suits your lifestyle. Once completed, your job is to enjoy your new home and start discovering everything your new neighborhood has to offer.

Article by the Yardi Rent Cafe team- Thank you!