You worked really hard to get your own apartment. You’re proud of your accomplishment and you want your new home to reflect who you are. But there are a million apartment hacks out there and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. Which ones are feasible in your apartment and on your budget?
Here are 24 apartment hacks to help you maximize your space in your new place.
1. Change the direction of your ceiling fans with the seasons
Yes, your ceiling fans can rotate in both directions. It’s probably not something you ever thought about, but this is a game-changer. There is a small knob or switch on the motor housing on every ceiling fan, reorienting the fan to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise. In the summer, you want to push the cool air down, so set your ceiling fan to spin clockwise. It’s also more efficient in moving the cool air from the air conditioner around the room.
In the winter, you want your ceiling fan to run counterclockwise at a low speed. Since cold air sinks, this will pull the cold air up to the ceiling, displacing the warmer air above.
2. Add more shelving and storage above your closet built-ins
Closet space is important, but it’s not as important as how you use that space. Having a huge closet doesn’t mean anything if it’s not being fully utilized. So consider installing additional shelving above and below the system already in there. It’s a quick and easy DIY apartment hack that you can do with a cordless drill and a little patience.
3. Create more shower space with a curved curtain rod
This is one of those apartment hacks that’s so smart you’ll question why you never thought of it before. A curved curtain rod can make your tiny tub shower feel much more spacious. It drills into the wall securely along the tub and curves outward, up to 72 inches. Just be sure to pick up an extra long shower curtain liner so the water stays in the shower and not all over the floor.
4. Use mirrors and other items to reflect and refract sunlight
Your apartment probably won’t get direct sunlight all hours of the day, so it’s important to get the most out of it while you can. Hanging large mirrors on your walls gives the feeling of a larger room. And as an added bonus, it can even add light to a room depending on the angle of the mirror to the window.
5. Rent tools, don’t buy
Not something you’d consider, but this apartment hack can save you a ton of time with home improvement projects in the future. If you don’t have the tools to upgrade your space (circular saw, carpet cleaners, etc), you can still do the work for way less cash. Look into renting the tools you need for your project. It will save you a fortune on upfront costs that can typically scare off people from attempting the projects in the first place.
6. Use removable adhesive hooks for pot, pan lids
If you’re only using removable hooks to hang pictures and jewelry, you’re not using this handy gadget to its fullest potential. Line them up on the inside of your cabinet door to hold items like pot lids or colanders, or place three on the inside the door in the shape of a triangle to hold one large lid in place. Snug, secure and reversible for when you move out.
7. Upgrade bathrooms with adhesive tile wallpaper
Odds are your bathroom is fine. Just … fine. Nothing special, but it’s good enough for now. But redoing an entire bathroom can cost a fortune. And there’s no need to remodel a bathroom in a place you’re only renting. So consider changing up your bathroom’s look with some adhesive tile stickers for the walls. These will also remove cleanly without pulling off the paint, which will save you time when you’re packing up to move into your next place.
8. Install a shelf near the floor to double shoe storage
You already know to install additional shelving above your built-ins for your clothes and accessories. But adding another shelf closer to the floor at the bottom of your closet will immediately double your shoe storage without the need for shoe racks.
9. Swap your cabinet pulls
Instant kitchen upgrade on the cheap. Replace the pulls on the cabinets and drawers in your kitchen with new ones that fit your preference. You can pick up replacements at home good stores, discount retailers and your neighborhood big box hardware stores. Just remember to save the old ones so you can put them back in when you leave.
10. Remove cabinet doors
Or you can skip the cabinet pulls and remove the cabinet doors entirely. Turning your cupboards into an open shelving aesthetic will make your kitchen brighter and will make your dinnerware and drinkware close at hand. Just make sure your pantry cabinets are well organized.
11. Replace generic light fixtures (but save the old ones)
You’ll find a lot of apartments will feature not only the same amenities but oftentimes apartments will feature the same accents pieces, and bathroom and lighting fixtures. If you’re tired of staring at that same weird glass square piece over the lights in your bedroom, just get a new one. Replacing ceiling light fixtures with newer ones that fit your design preferences is the fastest and most cost-effective way to change the look of your new apartment.
12. Store in the space between the wall and sofa
While you want to maximize the space in your new place, don’t count out your couch. Inching your sofa just a few inches away from the wall will allow you to store everything from yoga mats to Christmas trees to pet toys for when company comes over.
13. Use a removable shelf as a nightstand
You know the scenario: Your bedroom layout is too small. So you make some adjustments here and there and everything is perfect … almost. You’re comfortable, but you don’t have a place for your phone, clock, lamp or your books. You could shop around for a small nightstand or you could go for the easier and less expensive option. Pick up a small removable shelf you can install on your own to hold all the stuff you need to keep within arm’s reach.
14. Install a magnetic knife strip
The last thing you should do is store good kitchen knives in a drawer. A knife block on your kitchen counter is better, but it lacks a little stylistic something. What you want is a magnetic knife strip on the wall over your food prep area in your kitchen or over your sink. It will free up some much-needed counter space and will extend the life of your cutlery.
Remember: don’t put your good knives in the dishwasher. Rattling around with hot water and abrasive detergents will dull your blades and make cooking that much harder.
15. Layer rugs
Hardwood floors look sleek and carpeted rooms look cozy. But if you really want to add a sense of depth and make the room look “lived in,” look for rug options. Match colors, but clash patterns when layering your rugs, and keep in mind this works best in rooms with lots of space but not a lot of furniture.
Consider trying this out in your bedroom or in a minimally decorated living room.
16. Loft or raise your bed
This apartment hack has come up time and again for a reason: it’s useful, easy and dramatically changes up the look of your room instantly. Even if you don’t need a ton of storage, it’s still a great idea. And don’t worry about blocking an outlet. These bed risers can plug into your wall under your bed and still give you access to an outlet for your phone or the vacuum while you’re cleaning.
17. Go with temporary wall decor
Your time in your new apartment probably won’t be permanent. But so many redecorating ideas are permanent, it can discourage people from getting creative. Fortunately, home accents like wallpaper and backsplashes often have a removable adhesive. Lights now don’t need rewiring, most can easily move around to accommodate your room design. And everything can come down and be replaced with minimal damage to the walls. That can save you time and money when it comes time to move out.
18. Set a staggered cleaning schedule
The secret to keeping your place clean is to never let it get dirty. If you don’t want to give up half your weekend keeping your place clean, set a consistent schedule for yourself to keep it clean. You can keep your apartment neat and tidy with as little as 20 minutes a day of cleaning.
Wipe down all your counters one day and vacuum and mop your floors the next. Vacuum all the pet hair off the sofa another day and then your bathroom, saving the weekends for all the fun you wouldn’t have gotten to have if you put off all your chores till the weekend.
19. Use a squeegee to pick up pet hair
Pet owners love gadgets that promise to pick up pet hair. Vacuum attachments and sponges and gloves … they’ve tried them all. If you have pets and hardwood floors, you know how much time you spend cleaning up pet hair. Brooms are handy and floor cleaning wipes and pads are useful, if not surprisingly expensive. Less expensive? A simple windshield squeegee. Run the squeegee along the dry floor the way you would with a floor wipe and collect all the dust, debris, and dander. Then, simply sweep it into a dustpan and dispose of it.
20. Invest in all the organizers
Even if you don’t think you have a lot of stuff, you’ll be amazed at how much stuff you accumulate the longer you live in any one place. Finding a consistent place for all your things now is another time-saving solution when it comes time to clean or move. With organizers, everything is in its place and can even be moved into marked boxes. And the best part, you won’t have to remove everything from the organizer first.
21. Get uniform food storage containers
This one is more of an apartment hack for organizing your refrigerator instead of your whole apartment, but the advice still stands.
Life is a lot easier when everything is organized, and that includes the items in your fridge and pantry. Consistently sized storage containers with universal lids are a game-changer. But since now isn’t the time to invest in a high priced container set, invest a couple of bucks in a variety pack of plastic soup containers. These containers used for takeout and delivery can go from the freezer to the microwave to the dishwasher. And since all the lids fit, you’ll never have to worry about losing pieces and having a mismatched set.
22. Stick lights in closets and tight corners
For some reason, most apartments will have an unusually-shaped closet or cupboard. A narrow L-shaped closet or a deep cupboard with a narrow door that makes it impossible to get anything out. Instead of stumbling around in the dark, pick up a couple of battery operated lights. Stick them to the walls and turn them on and off when you need to see what you’re doing. Pick up some motion-activated lights and hang them in your closet and never struggle to find that perfect outfit again.
23. Use a foldaway desk
Large functional areas in your home like your workspace and your bed can both be folded up to space in a room. But since Murphy beds aren’t in most apartments, take a look at a foldaway desk instead. These are exactly what they sound like: a minimalist workspace that is low profile when it’s being used and folds down into the wall.
If all of your work from home is done on a laptop, this is a great low-cost option to maximize your space. But if your desk tends to become a cluttered mess and a cemetery for junk mail and receipts, this solution probably won’t work well for you.
24. Get a better showerhead
You know how great you feel after a good hot shower? It’s probably not a feeling you’re going to have if you stick with the showerhead your landlord left you. There’s nothing wrong with it, but there are better ones out there.
You can pick up high pressure and high-efficiency showerheads for under 20 bucks. It will be the best money you spend to upgrade your new place. Your future self will thank you, especially after your New Year’s Resolution morning run.
You have a ton of low cost, apartment hacks to upgrade your new home. All of them are non-permanent solutions that won’t cause any lasting damage or affect your ability to get your security deposit back when you move out. If you switch out any light fixtures, cabinet pulls, or light switches, be sure to save them and put them somewhere in your apartment where they won’t get lost. Remember to follow the included instructions on any peel and stick accessories for your walls, and check the terms of your lease before you take on any home improvement project.
So shop around! Find something that fits your mood and your style. Because life is too short for beige walls.