making it work – how to thrive in a small apartment

Let’s talk about living for a minute. And I mean living small.

Yup, not big. Small.


Great inspiration for those of us with small spaces. Psst -There are still a few left for sale! Click image to purchase.

I have the unique pleasure of living just outside one of the best cities in the world. That means that space comes at a premium. Fortunately, my husband and I live in an area of the NYC metro region where you get a bit more space for your dollar. The next town over, not so much.

We live very comfortably in a one-bedroom with  a decent size living room, a large bedroom and a tiny kitchen and bathroom. Still its hard to make it all work sometimes. For a while I was longing to live in a big house with at least 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, but I’ve decided to be happy with what I’ve got for now.

Its really a change in mindset that helped me come to terms with living in a 550 sq ft apartment, best described by one of the masters of design, invention, artistry etc.

blueprint background

Keeping those points in mind here are a few ways to make it work in a small apartment in a way that you will really thrive in:

1. Get rid of the clutter – And I mean clutter, all of the junk. Junk mail. Old magazines. The trash.

2. Get rid of the clutter – More of this – things like clothes you no longer wear and books you no longer read.

3. Edit (ie: get rid of the clutter) – This time it comes with a bit more thought.  Take an inventory of furniture pieces and decorative items that no longer fit your needs or don’t suit your taste. Really take a step back and go through items that may be momentos that you need to let go of to create space for new beginnings (in you home and in your life). Keep the number of decorative items limited to those that truly have value to you.

4. Make spaces multi-purpose – Right now our bedroom houses desk and our living room includes a painting easel that my husband uses. Be creative with how you work your lifestyle into your home.

5. Include furniture and other items that are multi-functional – It really helps to have pieces that include storage rather than those that don’t. We have an ottoman that houses blankets inside it. Our end table has three tiers of shelving to hold photo albums, magazines (the ones I want to keep) and a couple of my favorite decorating books, plus serves as a place to hold my drinks. Before you bring in an item into your house carefully consider whether it will serve multiple functions.

6. Appreciate the space you have – This comes back to what I shared earlier in the post. Appreciate the simple things in life and enjoy sweet sophistication. Acknowledge that living in a small space gives you the advantage of disciplining yourself to only include in your home those things that truly matter to you whether it comes to function or style.

Here’s to thriving with what you’ve got!

Do you live in a small apartment/home? How do you make it work for you?


4 thoughts on “making it work – how to thrive in a small apartment

  1. Our first apartment in Ukraine was very typical of the area: a balcony, one large room with a fold-out couch for sleeping / relaxing / sitting space for guests, one narrow hallway, a miniscule kitchen, and two rooms that could fit only one person at a time- one room with a toilet, the other with a sink and shower. We managed there for a year but then (gratefully) moved into a larger place. Now that we’ve accumulated more stuff (Christmas decorations to be stored, kitchen equipment, etc) I fear this moving process is a one-way road and we’ll never be able to fit into such a tiny place again. And I have no idea how entire families (grandparents, mom and dad, kids) all manage to coexist together in places that size, wow!

    One other thing about making a small living space work for a couple- you have to reeeeally like that person you’re living with : )

    • I completely understand about the issue of squaring down to a small place once you’ve lived in a larger apartment. For a while we lived in a 2-bedroom in North Carolina. Since we moved here we’ve slowly been getting rid of things we no longer need to create more space.

      And yes – it is so important to get along with the person you live with, especially in a small apartment!

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