Here at Imagine It Done we work in a lot of different sized apartments. Our experience has allowed us to note what works best in smaller spaces. And when it comes to apartments, multi-use storage is vital for getting the most out of your limited space.
You might think smaller means less storage, but that’s simply not the case. We’ve uncovered many tricks on how to amplify your minimal storage. It all comes down to one key ingredient: furniture.
You want to bring furniture into your apartment that is easy to maneuver. You also want functional items, and of course, pieces that fit your style.
Here are our favorite multi-use storage pieces that are perfect for any apartment:
1. Bucket shoe rack
While entryways are less common in small apartments, there is a way you can create your own mudroom of sorts. Rather than buy a shoe rack that displays your shoes, opt for a piece like this one from Ikea.
It doubles as an entry table and is ideal for a small entryway. If you can’t make it work in an entryway, it’s narrow enough for your living area or even bedroom. The tipping bucket allows you to keep your shoes organized, but off the floor.
The top half can be used for on-the-go items like your keys, purse, etc.
2. Cubed bookcase
A cubed bookcase can be used for a variety of things. It can serve as both a television stand and a bookcase. Or you can purchase cloth baskets and store items such as electronics, craft supplies, video game controllers, or more inside of them.
There are many options for this type of bookcase and this one from Wayfair is our favorite.
For studio apartments, you might want to buy a vertical one with double the shelves and use it as a wall divider. It’s a great piece to separate your bed from your living space, giving it some privacy.
3. Plain old storage cabinet
For those who prefer the industrial look, this locker-inspired storage cabinet from Target is a great piece. It can be used in a variety of ways and blend into any room.
Your aim with something like this is to figure out the best way to use the space. Not just the interior, but the exterior as well. Can the top serve as a vanity? How are you going to organize the inside for maximum benefit? Once you know that you’ll be in great shape.
4. Geometric bookcase
We mentioned cubed bookcases earlier, but they may not be your style. You might prefer a geometric bookcase instead. They're just as functional and more stylish.
This piece from Wayfair can be used to divide spaces or be set up against a wall. If you need more storage space in your kitchen, set it up near there and keep dining ware on the shelves. It can even double as a pantry for items you don’t mind displaying.
When it comes to larger bookcases like this one, you want to make sure you’re not stuffing it with various objects. Give it a dedicated use as this will allow you to use it in the best way possible.
5. Rolling cabinet with drawers
Rolling carts and cabinets are one of the best functional pieces on the market. Especially for small apartments. Depending on their size and what you store in them, they can be wheeled around from room to room with ease.
Wayfair has a wide variety of rolling cabinets. They’re perfect for organizing desk supplies, craft supplies, makeup, and more. For kitchens, consider a rolling island that can double as a prepping station.
6. Narrow bookcase with drawers
This is the third time we’re mentioning a bookcase and for good reason. The previous options are better for storage and impromptu dividers whereas this piece will actually be used as a bookcase.
We love this piece from Wayfair. The combination of wood and iron gives it a luxurious look. You have plenty of space on the top for books and the bottom drawers give you extra storage. You might want to buy two and frame your couch or main sitting area. This, of course, depends on the size of your apartment.
7. Accent cabinets
Accent cabinets are staples for entryways. They bring a simple touch to even the most boring or unused space. This piece from Amazon is versatile and small enough to fit in any room.
Again, think about the exterior as well as the interior. Where is the best place for this to live and be functional? Remember that your goal when furnishing a small apartment is to focus on pieces that serve many purposes. This will help you keep things from getting overcrowded, but still maintain a sense of style.
If your bedroom closet is lacking space — as they often do in smaller apartments — adding a miniature armoire can go a long way.
This piece from CB2 is stunning and can store a lot more than you think. Having both a closet and armoire can help you organize your clothes better. Keep seasonal clothes in the armoire and non-seasonal clothes in the closet.
You could also add cloth baskets for scarves, shoes, or other items that don’t need to be folded. This piece could also be used in a living space or near your door as a mudroom replacement. Keep jackets, purses, and other outdoor necessities inside.
9. Desk hutch
Working from home is still pretty normal and having a dedicated workspace is important. One way you can create one in a small apartment without sacrificing too much space is by getting a hutch with a pull-down desk.
One of the most functional pieces is this one from Wayfair. It’s best to go with something that doesn’t need to be installed on a wall. Many landlords have strict rules against this. So you’re better off going for something that stands on its own.
10. Couch with storage section
Depending on the size of your apartment, your couch could take up a ton of real estate. That’s why finding a couch with storage is a great option. This piece from Wayfair offers exactly that. Under couch storage is perfect for blankets, large games — like board games or puzzles — and other items you don’t need instant access to.
Many sectional couches now come with storage as manufacturers saw the need for this. Particularly in smaller living spaces. What you choose to store in your couch will vary but it’s a game-changer.
When looking for non-permanent storage, you want to focus on its functionality. Ask yourself, “How can I best amplify this unit?” And don’t ever feel like you need to sacrifice your personal style. You’ll always be able to find something that fits your needs.
There are many more amazing options that can help make living in a small apartment functional. Our best advice, though, is to think about how you’re going to use the piece before buying it.
Consider your space, your needs, and your personal preference. And if you need some more insight, check out our available services. We offer virtual and in-person consultants and would be happy to help you figure out the best multi-use storage options for your apartment or home.