The Most Effective Space-Maximizing Ideas Real Renters ACTUALLY Use

updated May 3, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

Advice from design writers is great and all, but what’s useful is learning about what people who are actually dealing with real rental issues are doing to overcome design dilemmas. Since the worlds of rental issues and small space problems can often overlap, why not look to folks with stylish spaces for ideas on how to make the most of the rental space you have?

These are the ideas and objects that real renters actually implement when they’re trying to maximize what little space they lease.

They make their bed less of a floor space hog

Though comfortable (and necessary), beds (even twin-sized ones) can be a big space suck (particularly if you live in a studio). That’s why the renters below decided to find a comfy sleeping solution that also made good use of the little floor space they rent.

(Image credit: William Strawser)

Murphy beds aren’t a practical option for all renters…but if you have the money and the means, you may be surprised with how comfortable, affordable and easy-to-use contemporary options are.

If the idea of having to fold and unfold your bed every day doesn’t seem appealing to you, there’s still an option for reclaiming floor space from a bed: loft beds! Buy-able and DIY-able, loft beds aren’t for you if you don’t like climbing a ladder, but are otherwise great for creating a tucked away bedroom nook and usable space under the loft.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

If you’re just not ready to embrace #loftlife or buy a Murphy bed, at least reclaim the space under your bed buy investing in storage containers you can slide out from under it when you need something, and slide out of sight when you’re finished.

(Image credit: Ellie Arciaga Lillstrom)

They mount things on the wall

Again, not all renters can use this tip (those with landlords who are allergic to holes in the wall, for instance, might have trouble implementing this idea). But for those interested in maximizing space and who have a power drill, consider mounting as much as you can to the wall. From small worktops, to nightstands, to lights, to even console tables, not only will you make more floor space available, you’ll even make your small space feel bigger.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)
(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

They invest in small-tool kitchen storage

From pot racks to under-cabinet hooks, there’s really no such thing as getting too detail-oriented when it comes to organizing a small rental kitchen. That’s because if you’re renting, you probably didn’t design the kitchen to fit your cooking needs. But by investing in small organizational containers and tools, like stand-alone shelves, hooks, tension rods, and pot racks, you open up the possibility for customization of a rental…and you create much more function.

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)
(Image credit: Samara Vise)

They paint bulky elements the same color as the wall

This might seem like a low priority suggestion, considering it doesn’t actually make more physical space. But painting big elements — like wall-sized storage units — will make the heavy object blend into your home’s background. This essentially makes your home feel like it has more space. And since you’re painting something you own (and not your rental unit’s walls) you should have no landlord issues.

(Image credit: Minette Hand)

They know that acrylic can be a powerful tool

Like the previous idea, choosing acrylic furniture also doesn’t save or maximize any physical space. But also like the above suggestion, choosing a furniture piece made from clear material will certainly make an object blend into its surroundings. Again, this will give the appearance of more space, which can be vital for renters in small spaces.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Minette Hand)

They embrace baskets

Baskets (and boxes, don’t want to leave those out) are magical containers. Yes, they store stuff. But they also store stuff without it looking like your home is a closet. You can stick baskets on top of your kitchen cabinets, you can stick them under tables and consoles. Baskets can go on the edges of a table or even on the floor at the end of a hall. All these places and more can be transformed into subtle storage spots…and add natural texture to your home’s decor, too.

(Image credit: Pablo Enriquez)

They DIY custom furniture that fits

This tip could be considered controversial, for any place you’re renting probably isn’t your permanent home, and why spend money or effort making pieces that will only fit this current home? Because it’s worth the money, effort and time to create a home that fits your needs, no matter how long you’re going to be there (or whether you rent or own it). The renters who have aced small space maximizing know this, and that’s why they’ve made custom DIY tables that are narrow enough to fit into odd nooks, or DIYed desks that also double as dining tables.

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)
(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

They lean on ladders

Leaning ladders made of wood (whether purchased or reclaimed), can be a sneaky way to make use of narrow floor space, odd corners, or wall space that you can’t put holes into. You can use one to organize scarves and other fashion accessories in the bedroom, you can hang towels from one in the bathroom, or sling throw pillows on a ladder in the living room to make a room cozier…they’re a lot handier than you may realize.

(Image credit: Chloe Berk)