Finding space in small apartments

As property prices continue to rise and demand continues to exceed supply in the housing market, it seems inevitable that more and more people, especially first-time buyers and many renters will have to make do with less and less space. Even the cost of renting a one-bedroom studio in the outer suburbs of London has become near impossible on an enter-level salary and has resulted in thousands and thousands of strangers sharing one-bedroom accommodation – sometimes with the aid of a portable partition.

This kind of accommodation can make you feel like a real sardine, and means that some people end up sleeping alongside cans of food and cooking next to the toilet. It’s hardly the big city dream that most people arrive with. With a little thought put into it, however, it doesn’t have to be all that bad. There are ways to find space you didn’t even know about.

The first thing to consider is putting in an elevated platform. This won’t work if you already have to duck your head to get into the room, but if you’ve got a good few feet above your head, you can put up your own platform with a ladder or steps. The ladder option obviously takes up less room but isn’t suitable for everyone. It’s up to you whether you use the elevated platform as your sleeping area and the rest of the room for living and storage or the other way round.

Another great tip is to use collapsible furniture. If you have a separate desk, bed and cupboards, you could take them all down to the charity shop now and get online to order yourself a space-saving bedroom set. Typically, the bed will fold out and collapse the desk. If this is not a suitable solution for you, have a look at a Japanese all-in-one bedroom set, designed in the home of tiny living spaces. In just twelve or thirteen square feet, they pack in a single bed, two desks, a chair, a litter bin shelves and a deep cupboard.

For the kitchen, you can use rotating drawers and cupboards – you’ll only have access to one drawer or cupboard at a time but it reduces clutter and gives you the storage capacity of a decent-sized kitchen.  Have a look at over-the-range microwaves at Oven Shopper to see how a compact kitchen can work better than most people imagine. Use storage strips that you can attach to the wall for keeping hold of anything light. You can have as many of the as you’ve got wall space for. This is an idea you can apply to your bedroom and bathroom spaces, too.

Apart from wall strips, look for dead space – perhaps under the sink or above the toilet. These are all areas where you could potentially fit a small cupboard or shelves. If there’s a mirror taking up space on a wall, take it down to free up the space and put it on the inside of a door.


If you choose to have a dedicated dining table, this should be able to be folded up and stored away easily, or at least to be converted into a workspace. The same goes for any chairs or stools. You may well need space for chores such as drying your laundry. Hanging it from high wires is usually the answer to this, but if you have decided to go with an elevated platform, it might not be possible. Take a look at smart drying racks in the shape of many-pointed stars. These provide a more compact solution for drying your washing without compromising on the number of items you can effectively dry.

No matter how tiny your living space currently is, is important to make yourself comfortable. Make sure that living in cramped conditions doesn’t start to have an adverse effect on your health. This could result in a detrimental effect on your performance at work, which in turn reduces your chances of ever earning enough to be able to afford to rent a room with reasonable space for a human being to live. If you feel stifled, try positioning yourself facing the window. If you have limited window space, or your room faces a brick wall, make sure you step outside for a few hours each day to let the sun shine on your face.