Almost every apartment shares something in common — underutilized space. To optimize your storage, take a moment to consider the totality of your living space.

While you may be aware of the square footage of your apartment, it is only a two-dimensional metric. When it is time to optimize your use of space, think in three dimensions. That is, consider the volume of space available from floor to ceiling. Note unused or underutilized spaces during a careful walk-around, and take notes along the way. It might surprise you to realize how much space you still have to play with.

Optimize your space while keeping your landlord happy. Although lease agreements vary, holes in drywall from screws and nails are usually manageable. Simply fill them in at lease end. Holes in wood, tile, and other materials are best to avoid. It is also important to avoid broader damage to walls and floors, like scratches, scrapes, and indentations.

11 Ways to Optimize Your Space

To do more with less, you don’t need to be a magician, although a little sleight-of-hand doesn’t hurt. Use these tips to increase storage while maintaining a clean, open look in your living space.

1. Divide and conquer

Many apartments feature open concept designs. In these units, it is possible to define living areas while amplifying storage. For example, use a bookcase as a divider between the living room and the dining area. Or, use a standard divider that acts as a virtual wall. Once it is in place, you can line things up on either side of it.

Position shelves and dividers in a way that maintains pathways for window light to illuminate your living space.

2. Svelte and slender shelves

There are all kinds of discreet shelves you can add throughout your home, from floating shelves to corner shelves. Narrow, freestanding shelving units are great for utilizing unused vertical spaces. However, it is vital to set them up in a way that eliminates the risk of them tipping over.

Manufacturers fashion such shelves from various materials. Tubular metal, plastic, and engineered wood are some examples.

3. A (not so) sticky situation

To keep your landlord happy, look for ways to use your walls without damaging them. For example, Command wall hooks make it possible to safely hang everything from pictures and mirrors to holiday decorations and floating shelves. Be sure to follow the rules for their use, including the following:

  • Avoid rough surfaces
  • Properly prepare surfaces
  • Honor weight restrictions

When it is time to remove them, pull them down toward the floor.

4. Flex your furniture

Give your living space an opportunity to breathe, as Architectural Digest notes. Therefore, look for low-profile furniture items that serve multiple purposes, including storage.

Select metal over wood for a slim, yet strong result. A great example is cafe-style metal seating. Just as that little corner cafe dispatches minimalist seats and tables to maximize space, you can too. Cafe-style seating adds functionality in an efficient manner. Deploy a table and two matching chairs to a spot under a window, for example. For a party, pull the table out from the wall and make it four chairs total.

Consider the use of tight-back sofas and leaner tables. Need a discreet workspace? Position a floating desk under a shelf or two. Or, repurpose an acrylic console as a space-efficient place to open up that laptop.

5. Under the bed strategies

Lay your mattress on a folding metal bed frame to gain as much as 18-20 inches of clearance – a box spring is optional. Add storage containers that easily slide out from under your bed. It’s surprising how much extra storage this idea nets.A bedroom with glass walls and a bed.

6. And we’re rollin’, rollin’ ….

Quickly multiply available space by deploying rolling shelves and carts. Steel wire shelving is strong and relatively unobtrusive. Consider styles in chrome, white, or black.

7. Getting hooked

Over-the-door hanging storage hooks are terrific for frequently used items that you want to quickly access. Select from single and multi-hook options. Add space triangles to your clothes closets. These clever little hanger hooks can double or triple the space available for hanging clothes.

8. May the (magnetic) force be with you

Magnetic storage baskets and caddies are a novel solution for renters. They’re an excellent option in kitchens and bathrooms with appropriate metal surfaces.

9. A tisket, a tasket, a very useful basket

Organize your possessions with baskets and decorative boxes. Reduce clutter while adding natural texture and splashes of color to your abode. Place them under tables, on top of kitchen cabinets, and along window sills.

You’ll often find unused areas between shelves in kitchen cupboards, pantries, and elsewhere. Take better advantage of this space with hanging shelf inserts. They’re great for canned goods, bottles, and dry goods.

10. A caddy for your shower

Use a shower caddy or two to store shampoo, conditioner, and the like. Some hang from the shower head, while others mount to the bathroom tile via an adhesive strip.

11. Take it for a spin

Deploy a lazy susan (or two or three) to ensure ready access to spices and other smaller items in your kitchen or pantry. Select from single- and multi-shelf options. Finishes run the gamut from white to natural wood grain. Consider a clear acrylic lazy susan with dividers to store tea bags, coffee pods, and more.

About Draper and Kramer

Draper and Kramer is a full service real estate firm founded in 1893. Some D&K luxury apartments offer high ceilings to nine feet, and sometimes more. More vertical space equals more storage potential. For example, Chicago’s Wrigleyville Lofts offers 9-ft 4-in ceilings. At DK Riata in Austin, TX, residents enjoy nine-foot ceilings in  units as large as 1,848 sq ft.

Luxury apartments often offer generous closet space that further amplifies storage. Residents enjoy walk-in closets at The Wright, a community just southeast of Denver in Centennial, CO.

Draper and Kramer manages luxury apartment communities from Illinois to Missouri, and from Texas to Arizona to Colorado.

A living room with a dining table and chairs.

To do more with less, you don’t need to be a magician, although a little sleight-of-hand doesn’t hurt. Use these tips to increase storage while maintaining a clean, open look in your living space.

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