Sharing a Small Space with Roommates

Sharing a Small Space with Roommates

Adrienne Breaux
Apr 26, 2010

No matter how great your space looks or how much you have organized, if you live in a small space with a roommate (or two), chances are there are going to be some frustrations, some disagreements and maybe even some fights. We've gathered our favorite small-space sharing tips for those with roommates.

Watch for clutter Anything goes when it comes to each person's room, but common areas should definitely come with a limit on how much stuff they contain; these rooms will get filled up quick. We suggest the "something in, something out rule." If a roommate brings an item into a common area to stay, they have to remove an item (of theirs) of roughly equal size.
Decide a room's purpose Understanding what each room's purpose will be and how each roommate will use it is something to consider. One roommate might like to work on their laptop on the only couch, while another roommate might have plans to use the dining room table as an office. In an apartment or house where space is limited, understanding how all the rooms will be used will help quell possible disagreements in the future.
Utilize labels Labels in a small space will help keep things organized by reminding all roommates what each cabinet/drawer/closet has been designated for. They don't have to be complicated or too meticulous, and they should be decided together as a household. If cabinets and drawers are assigned to individual roommates, it can help a messy roommate see when they are the one who needs to reorganize.
Embrace eclectic It's sometimes hard for one person to decide on a style of decor when living in an apartment, let alone multiple people. So that everyone has a chance to let their personality shine, decide early on that every furniture, accessory and art piece has a chance to see if it fits in with the decor. The ending result might not have one single style and will probably have a lot of colors in the palette, but chances are a great eclectic balance can be found and everyone will feel like it's a home.

Do you have any stories relating to a roommate situation that illustrate a specific tip or idea that someone sharing a small space with roommates can incorporate? While roommate horror stories are common, when are the times you've lived with someone and it worked? Tell us why!

More roommate tips:
Living with Roommates: Lessons from 5 Communal Homes
Advice for Unpleasant, Unlivable Roommate Situation?
How to Keep That Laptop Locked Away from Nosy Roommates
Sharing and Living In A Super Small Space
Couples: How do you create a space together?

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