As cities become more and more crowded and the demand for housing is rising, apartments are shrinking, and renters are left with less space. If you rent an apartment in a big city like Chicago or Seattle, you know that the chances of finding a large apartment are slim. With little space and little allowance for changes due to rental guidelines, creativity is the most viable solution.
DIY projects are an easy and fulfilling way of upgrading a small rental apartment, and if you’re looking for that they can take you a step closer to a more minimalist way of living. Since apartment size is such a big issue, this kind of lifestyle can help prevent cluttering in general, while saving money and reducing your environmental footprint. So, here are 3 projects you can embark on that will enhance your living space.
Create More Storage Space
One of the biggest problems with a small apartment is the lack of storage space, which means a lot of the stuff you own might end up cluttering the place. Take a look at your apartment and try to find some underused spots. Upcycle old boxes and pallets or stack suitcases to create a vintage-chic piece of furniture to serve as exposed storage space. If you have an elevated bed, there’s always room for shoes or other objects under it. You can use plastic containers or cardboard boxes to organize stored objects and to make it easier to access them.
Another place that easily gets cluttered is the kitchen. There are a lot of great tricks for creating more storage space here, including magnetic boards for knives, a magnetic spice rack, vertical storage for utensils, or adding extra space to the cabinets using separators or standing shelves. You can also create more counter space by getting a cutting board that fits over the sink; this could make your cooking process more efficient, too. Add hooks under a shelf to create a nice display of your mugs and other attractive kitchenware, which don’t stack up easily and end up cluttering your cabinets.
Make Use of Narrow Spaces
There are a lot of spots in your apartment that go unnoticed because they are narrow and tight, such as the space between the fridge and the wall, or the space behind the couch. However, they provide great potential for a DIY project. Measure out how much space you have and trim pieces of wood to the exact dimensions.
For the kitchen, a slide out cabinet crammed between the fridge and the wall proves to be a great storage option for your everyday cooking materials, such as spices and oils. You can follow the same principle with slide-out drawers. Another option would be to find a metallic skeleton, add wheels, and create the shelves. To avoid any unnecessary clutter, sort the ingredients and tools in order of how frequently you use them. A well-sorted cabinet will save you a lot of space and it’s a cool and useful kitchen upgrade.
For the space behind the couch, take a piece of wood that fits there and stain it. Add some hairpin legs to it and you have a neat, slim table. You can store books, place vases with plants, or a lamp to add a hint of sophistication to your room.
Another great hack is to start hanging stuff on your walls. From tinier objects like clothes or plants to things that actually take up a lot of space—think bikes—you can free up many spots in this way. It can also look very decorative if you create an arrangement. Mix smaller things with larger objects and a spot of green to turn a simple wall into an exhibition of your personality.
Upgrade the Balcony
In case you have a balcony—even the smallest of them—there’s a lot of potential for a great DIY project. You can divide the space in the balcony in two parts to get the most out of it. Create a vertical garden on one side to grow herbs and spices to up your cooking game. You can also just plant potted flowers or hanging plants. Any green spot has the potential to make you feel good when living in a tiny home.
On the other side of the balcony, you can opt for either a cozy retreat or more storage space. Upcycle old crates and boxes—painted or stained—for both projects. Cover pallets with sponge and fabric for a nice outdoor seat and use a crate as a coffee table. Alternatively, stack crates on top of each other for extra storage. If your balcony is open, you might want to think about getting resistant materials to avoid any possible weather damage.
Personalize. Personalize. Personalize
DIY projects are great for making a small apartment feel larger, but you can also make it feel cozier by decorating with items that bring forth your personality. As people spend more time at home, it’s clear that they want their abode to be a reflection of themselves. As such, incorporating small details like wall art of your design and tokens to remind you of what you enjoy can make all the difference. If you feel like that’s not enough, you can invest in furniture or decorations which fit your style.
Don’t be afraid to experiment. Combining practicality with design can produce even better results. Try not to cut down on everything you own, even if you feel it takes up too much space. It’s important to have a home that makes you feel comfortable and gives you a sense of belonging.
About the author: Mihaela is a passionate reader and writer, with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments.