Prior to moving into my tiny NYC studio, I knew that I would have to give up the ample square footage I had become so accustomed to in suburbia. Downsizing was a relatively insignificant compromise in exchange for the exciting decorating opportunities that awaited me in my first solo space.
As an avid minimalist, my vision for my new apartment resembled something of a clutter-free space furnished with just a handful of the essentials: a compact living area, with a sofa and coffee table, and a bed and desk, which comprised “the bedroom.” I quickly came to realize the challenges of living within 350 square feet, sans clutter, while attempting to keep unsightly pieces (luggage and cleaning supplies, to name a few) properly stowed away. Having only one closet and open kitchen shelves made things decidedly more difficult.
This is where I had to get creative. With a few clever tricks of the trade and double-duty pieces with cleverly concealed storage, I managed to hack the cramped confines of my tiny studio. Here’s how I did it.
A bed with built-in storage
IKEA’s Malm bed is the pinnacle of smart storage. A lift-up capability reveals a surprisingly massive amount of storage space beneath the mattress, which is where I store the majority of my belongings—off-season clothing, folding chairs, and wall art included. It also essentially doubles as a linen closet, as I store all my towels and sheets there as well.
Buy: Malm Storage Bed, IKEA, $499
Under-the-bed storage cases
While the storage space under the Malm is not truly exposed to the elements, I still choose to utilize a few storage bags to keep my textiles clean, confined, and neatly stowed. I love this versatile case, which can be easily folded when not in use. IKEA also offers storage boxes with sleek compartments.
Buy: Skubb Storage Case, IKEA, $6.99
Sleek wall hooks
Storing bags within bags became an ideal method for managing my evergrowing collection. I utilized a basic hook shelf and outfitted it with a slew of chic carriers (such as this net bag) and utilized it to house items such as belts, scarves, and various other small pieces.
Buy: Wall-Mounted Coat Hanger, Yamazaki, $40
Acrylic storage containers
In lieu of a bulky jewelry box, I corral my dainty trinkets in these colorful containers instead. Not only are they sleek and streamlined, but they’re also easily stackable.
Buy: Bits and Bobs Storage Container, HAY, $10
I stored my larger pieces—makeup, brushes, hairbrushes, and various other accessories—in a taller set of colorful storage containers I snagged from the Container Store. They keep my shelves clutter-free and instill an unexpected pop of color to the space as well.
Buy: Yellow Amac Boxes, The Container Store, from $1.59
One of the bigger pain points in my apartment is the lack of drawers. Storing silverware and smaller kitchen appliances definitely became a challenge. I bought a set of these streamlined storage boxes to keep my flatware covered and dust-free.
Buy: Luxe Acrylic Large Modular Drawer, The Container Store, $29.99
In lieu of a pantry, I simply corral my dry goods in these ultra-chic baskets from Yamazaki home. Not only are they sturdy and spacious, but they also make for a great alternative to bulky woven baskets. Crafted of steel and wood, it’s the style-focused storage solution my open shelves needed. Bonus: I can easily see what’s stored inside.
Buy: Tosca Storage Basket, Yamazaki Home, $35
On the plus side, the lone pair of cabinets I have in my kitchen and bathroom are relatively spacious. The downside? I can only store so much sans having to pile everything on top of each other. I bought two sets of these mesh storage containers—with convenient pull-out drawers—to double as makeshift drawers.
Buy: White Cabinet-Sized Elfa Mesh Bath Storage, $114