Storage in Small Spaces

All photos credit Kenny Corbin

There’s something to be said for living in small spaces.  You can afford to live in the hottest neighborhood.  You reduce your ecological footprint by using less energy.  And it’s relatively easy to keep neat and clean.  However, living small has some obvious challenges.  Where do you put all of your stuff?  What if your apartment is so small that you don’t even have room for a dresser?  Also, in a studio, how can you create a distinct sleeping and living area without making the space look unnaturally cut up?

Here’s an affordable, handsome way to divide a large room (or small studio).  This wall of shelves is composed of three of IKEA’s “EXPEDIT” shelving units, which are also available in white and birch, for $89.99 each.  They’re very sturdy and can be used as stand-alone units or wall units.  Alternate open spaces for books or photos with “KNIPSA” or other baskets for storage.  (The Knipsa ones run about $17 each — oh, and don’t worry, that fresh grass smell doesn’t last for long!).  The shelves are high enough to separate spaces, but low enough to keep an airy, open feel in your room.  You can also place objets d’art on top of the shelves.  The baskets can store anything — and can even be used as a substitute dresser (those are white socks peaking out of the basket above left!).  More photos of this concept, after the jump . . .

The floor plan for studios @ Urbane on Washington

The floor plan for studios @ Urbane on Washington

This is the floor plan that I had to work with.  The apartment came with a plastic translucent divider that wasn’t functional (it just stood there, offering no storage) and didn’t fit my taste.  The shelving unit below was positioned in the same spot as the panel wall on the diagram above, though, helping to create a living room area on the left and a bedroom area on the right.

Studio Floorplan

Bedroom Zone side of the shelving unit

The key to living in a small space it to try to use the area efficiently without making it look cluttered.

The Living Room Zone.

The Living Room Zone.

And one personal thought on IKEA — they have some great products, but a little bit goes a long way!  Mix it in with other higher-end pieces (like a terra cotta lounge chair from Bright Ideas) so your apartment doesn’t look like an IKEA showroom!

What are your ideas for living in small spaces?  Is it worth it?

This article brought to you by the good folks at Urbane Apartments Royal Oak Michigan, Urbane Apartments Ferndale Michigan,Urbane Apartments Birmingham Michigan, and Urbane Apartments Dearborn Michigan

  • jr

    This honestly wants to make me go out and get a small apartment/loft.

  • Brandon

    Did I mention low electricity bills? And you can actually afford to furnish the whole thing? Thanks for the comment, JR.

  • Dana

    Beautiful photos!!

  • Anne

    lovely studio! i’ve seen those expedit shelves used in lots of places to great effect. they’re a great buy. i’m also really digging lack floating shelves these days.

  • Eric Brown

    Hey Brandon,
    Nice Post,

    That looks just like an Urbane Apartment! LOL!

    You didn’t mention that you can walk to the bards too!

  • Brandon

    Dana — thanks — they’re by a very talented local photographer, Kenny Corbin.

    Anne: thanks for stopping by. Love your website! I’ve got a few of those lack floating shelves as well — great minds think alike!

    Eric: Very true! Living downtown near the bars will prevent you from getting a DUI! Does the apartment look familiar?