15 apartment hacks that will change how you use your small space

So smart

Two pictures of a pink apartment, one of a living room and one of a dining area
(Image credit: @samswhurld)

Apartments are one of the cutest places to live in. They’re so cozy and relaxing, and feel like home just as much as a regular ol’ house. I used to live in a studio apartment, and while I used to love it, I did find it tricky to work with and organize.

One of the perks of living in an apartment is having only a li’l bit of space to work with. That means less decorating and less cleaning. This teeny bit of space is also one of the downsides of an apartment. There’s less space to store everything, to work around, and to decorate.

Don’t stress though: I’m here to change up your apartment game. From storage solutions to space savers, these hacks will all make your home that bit easier to live in.

After all, apartments are def one of the coolest places to live, so you’ve got to make the most out of what you have…

15 amazing apartment hacks that are perfect for rentals

Want to get your apartment seriously organized? Scroll on down for my fave hacks. 

1. Shoe organizer for storing cleaning supplies

You might not have room for all your cleaning supplies under the sink, as you may be maxing out your cupboard space with other items. Hanging shoe organizers (like this SimpleHouseware one which is Amazon’s Choice) are one of my fave ways to create storage space, as they have lots of handy pockets for separating out items. They work really well for holding different cleaning supplies, as they’re just the right size for bottles and sponges. Hang them up in your kitchen, or even on the bathroom door.

2. Door stopper for keeping furniture in place

When you live in a small space, it can be so easy to keep bumping into pieces of furniture. This can then make them wonky and out of place, which is so not aesthetic. By placing a door stop under the legs, you can stop them from slippin’ and slidin’ around. You can go for a normal small doorstopper, or even get one to match your aesthetic and style. I’m personally digging this adorable Domestar dog doorstopper, which has over 5,000 five-star reviews on Amazon.

3. Shower caps for covering shoes in storage

I have so many shoes, but just don’t have the room in my entryway to display them all. This means a lot of them have to go in storage so they don’t make the space messy (*sobs*). If you’re storing shoes and clothes together, cover the shoes with shower caps to stop them from making your beaut garments dirty. This saves you from cleaning them all before you put them away and also means you won’t have to wash your clothes when you need to fish them out. 

4. Tension rod to dry clothes

Got a few clothes to dry out and don’t want to bring out the whole drying rack? I don’t blame you, as they can take up a hell of a lot of space, which you just don’t have to give away in an apartment. Instead, use a tension rod (this Amazon Basics one is a bestseller) in your bathroom to hang up clothes. These are easy to install and take down again, and won’t damage your walls either. 

5. Rugs to define spaces 

Apartments have all the spaces blended into one which makes for breezy living, but can also make it hard to separate different places out. This can mean they blend into each other, even when you want to have a particular mindset in each one. 

For example, you might want to get motivated by being in the work zone, but can’t do this while you feel like you’re in the lounge zone. The solution? Use different colored and sized rugs to separate out your spaces. Try a mix of 3' x 5' area rugs and round accent rugs from Ruggable, which carries a variety of colors and patterns. 

With this logic, you can feel like you’re moving between areas, even if you actually aren’t going very far. So smart.

6. Muffin tin to organize small items

You’d think living in a small space would make it easier to find things, right? Wrong. Everything always seems to go missing, because there are so many nooks and crannies for them to go. I like to use muffin tins to keep smaller items that belong together but need to be separated together. This includes craft items, stationery, and office supplies that I like to have on my desk, but don’t want jumbled up. Having them separated like this makes it a million times easier to pick out what I need. 

7. Shower caddy for hair tools

I’m actually baffled at how many hair tools I’ve accumulated over the years, but I’m telling you I def need them all. That being said, they’re seriously chunky and can take up a lot of desk space and floor space. Instead, keep them neat and compact by placing them in a shower caddy. I totes recommend going for one with lots of pockets, like this Eudele one which is Amazon’s Choice, as you can then store any hairsprays and accessories you might need there. 

8. Storage ottomans as seating

Furniture pieces that have multiple purposes get all the gold stars in my books, and storage ottomans come top of the list as furniture that’s got a lot going for them. If you only have room for one couch, this is the hack for you. They look sleek and stylish, hold a lot of items, and can be used as extra seating. You can have them against the wall normally, but then when you have guests ‘round, you can pull it forward. Because, let’s face it, your friends don’t want to be sitting on the floor.

9. Mirrors to create the illusion of space

Mirror mirror on the wall, where’s the place of all to hang them? In apartments, it’s by the window. This then reflects the space outside, creating the illusion of more space than you actually have. You can prop up long mirrors to do this or hang mirrors up on the wall if your landlord is all good with that. Totally genius, right? You could also pair this hack with a standing lamp to create even more dimension in the room. That’s science, guys. 

10. Pegboard to organize around the apartment

I’ve seen pegboards all over my Insta feed and TikTok FYP, and I love how versatile they are. They can be used to hang up smaller items that would normally clutter up space, literally everywhere in the apartment. In the kitchen you can use them to hang up utensils and even smaller pots and pans, in the study you can hang up stationery, and in the bedroom you can hang up hats and jewelry. This Demedo board which is Amazon’s Choice can be stuck onto the wall without any drilling — perfect for those with rental limitations. 

11. Foam mattress topper to create a reading nook

Sometimes, you just want to get properly chilled and delve into a book. Yes, you could do this on the sofa. Or, you could get in touch with your inner child and create a pillow fort. Okay — the more adult version of this is a reading nook. You can easily build this in your apartment and then fold it away by putting a foam mattress topper (Panda's, which is on Amazon, is our fave here at Real Homes) on the floor. From here, you can then cover it with blankets and pillows. Talk about creating all the cozy vibes. 

12. Magnet to hold small metal objects

Hands up if you’ve ever spent hours searching for a nail, and come up with absolutely nothing, even though you know it’s in the apartment somewhere. Such a nightmare. Instead, dig out a magnet and stick tiny metal items onto this. Next time you have a photo frame to hang up or a DIY project to get into, you won’t lose time turning your drawers inside out. No mess, no fuss. 

13. Towel holder for pots and pans 

Drawer and cupboard space is seriously precious when you live in a smaller home. These are the facts, people. So, you don’t want to be putting your biggest equipment in them if you can help it. A useful way to avoid this is by placing a standing towel rack on your countertop (this Amazon Basics one has over 7,000 five-star reviews, BTW). From here you can hang up any pots and pans, making them accessible for cooking and keeping your cupboards free for all your snacks. It’s a win-win, baby.

14. Curtains to divide up spaces

This is another hack that’s brilliant for creating different zones and turning one small space into two different areas. Hang a long tension rod across the walls of the room, and then place a curtain onto this. Obvi, this doesn’t need to be a boring curtain — you could even turn this into a decorative feature, by choosing a fun print to match your decor. It’s worth noting that this is only worth doing temporarily, such as if you want to get into a study zone or have a friend over and want to create a mini bedroom.  

15. Magnetic strips for tools

You might have heard of using magnetic strips for hanging up kitchen knives. But have you thought about using them for tools? You can stick these inside cupboards so they don’t ruin the apartment aesthetic or damage the walls. By hanging them up rather than having them in a bag, they’re much easier to find and grab whenever you have something you need to fix up. Amazon shoppers love how easy this Master Magnetics tape is to use, and it’s Amazon’s Choice too. 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.