24 Really Inventive Ways To Make A Small Space More Livable

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BOOKCASE
Cubious bookcase designed by Kristina Lindqvist. | Kristina Lindqvist

Living in a small home can make you creative in a hurry. If there's barely a closet -- let alone a spare room -- organizing your space in an efficient way that still makes you feel at home can be quite a challenge. For many apartment dwellers, there isn't the luxury of separate rooms and each piece of furniture needs to serve multiple uses.

We've already covered some of the best ways to create storage when you're living in a tiny space, and fortunately, there are more and more unique furniture pieces that make small-space living more of a joy than a pain. Things like lightweight objects that are easy to move, a tool that can make anything a table, furniture that has multiple functions, and storage that's a snap to assemble and disassemble make it fun to do more with less -- and will also appeal to the design-obsessed.

Below, see 24 ways to make small-space living way easier without sacrificing great design.

  • 1
    Try bookcases and storage that adjust to fit your stuff.
    Peter van Dijk via Reinier de Jong
    The REK bookcase from Reinier de Jong is perfect for the growing book collection and comes in both child and grown-up sizes.
  • 2
    Make a table out of anything.
    Floyd Leg
    When Kyle Hoff and Alex O'Dell put their project on Kickstarter, they received more than 10 times their goal. The Floyd Leg (really, a set of four legs available in two heights) uses a simple clamp that lets you turn any surface into a table or desk. And you can dismantle it just as easily if you need to free up space or are moving to a new, even smaller apartment.
  • 3
    Choose furnishings with two (or more) uses.
    Ecoystems
    These are actually the same piece of furniture. The BADA from EcoSystems easily transforms from a desk, to a table, to a couch that's the perfect size for a cramped living area. Watch the transformation here.
  • 4
    Will it save you a few inches of space? Get it.
    lumio
    When you're not using the bright Lumio lamp, it can be folded into an elegant-looking book. The multi-function Lumio, designed by Max Gunawan, is portable and rechargeable, can be hung or used flat and can be used indoors and outdoors. Plus, it's mesmerizing.
  • 5
    A divider gives the appearance of separate zones without taking up space.
    Erik Five Gunnerud via Kristine Five Melvær
    Colorful Tint, designed by Kristine Five Melvær, is half art piece, half room divider. If you're putting a living area, kitchen and workspace into one cramped room, a lightweight divider at least gives the appearance of separation.
  • 6
    Create a peaceful nook, no matter how little space you have.
    Freyja Sewell
    One of the frequent problems of city living? Not only are you living in tight quarters, but you're squeezed in with roommates -- or your walls are so thin that it feels like you are. Hush, a felt pod designed by Freyja Sewell, is a solo, cozy retreat perfect for reading, working, sleeping or thinking, even in the midst of a hectic home life.
  • 7
    Store your odds and ends hidden in plain sight.
    Takumi Ota via Naoki Hirakoso
    The many compartments of the sleek Kai Table, designed by Naoki Hirakoso with Takamitsu Kitahara, would be perfect for tucking away small objects that can end up all over the house when you don't have lots of storage.
  • 8
    Actually, almost any piece of furniture should have additional storage.
    Alexander & Pearl
    Alexander & Pearl's Crypto line, which includes an end table, desk, sideboard and coffee table, has even more space to store living room clutter without sacrificing sleek design.
  • 9
    But that doesn't mean your storage needs to be boring.
    Anna Lotova
    Rather than bulky drawers, Anna Lotova's Oxymoron Desk uses a foam interior to store books and office supplies. The lamp and side extender are wedged into the foam and can be moved around as space allows.
  • 10
    If you store things in an interesting way, it won't matter that it's out in the open.
    Studio E.O
    If you don't have a closet, or it's tiny, you might end up stacking overflow clothes on shelves or in bins. (Or, like some of us, leaving them all over the floor.) Designed by Studio E.O, the SINE hanger system is a simple solution, and when clothes are hung neatly in its grooves from its matching hangers, they're almost decorative.
  • 11
    A small house doesn't mean you can't make room for fun.
    Fusion Tables
    Just because you barely have room for a couch doesn't mean you shouldn't have a game room -- Fusion Tables creates sleek dining room tables that transform into pool tables.
  • 12
    Don't have a medicine cabinet? Make your own.
    Outofstock
    With just a hook, this mirror and small storage container become a vanity and medicine cabinet. Designed by Outofstock for Ligne Roset, the playful but functional pieces can be arranged in dozens of ways.
  • 13
    Choose multi-purpose pieces so you can rearrange your space in a snap.
    TJOKEEFE
    The 3:1 Table designed by TJOKEEFE is a set of nesting tables that can be used as a cube or three separate end tables, so when you get bored with your decor you can rearrange your space without buying new furniture.
  • 14
    Make use of vertical space.
    Danny Kuo
    Danny Kuo said it best when describing his Staircase piece: "The most efficient way to build is vertically. ... When it comes to interior design, the same rule can be applied." The lower drawers of this many-doored storage unit act as stairs so you can reach the top.
  • 15
    Don't forget about good design for your pets.
    Torafu
    Torafu Architects might beg that you don't sacrifice design when it comes to your dog. Like much of the other furniture on here, the wanmock (the name combines hammock with wan, Japanese for a dog bark, according to Torafu) is easy to put together and take apart. It's made of interlocking lightweight wood and your own clothing, which your dog will certainly love. (Buy a kit or download a free template to build your own here.)
  • 16
    Get the most out of your bookcases.
    Kristina Lindqvist
    Kristina Lindqvist's Cubious bookcase tricks the eye with its fun geometric design and can also be used as a room divider -- each side has shelves. These aren't yet for sale, but Lindqvist is looking for a manufacturer.
  • 17
    When you're not using it, hide it.
    Resource Furniture
    Resource Furniture's Lollisoft IN is just one of their many beds that fold up into unassuming wall units -- perfect for studios or when your rooms need to have multiple functions.
  • 18
    Use plants to create a relaxing vibe in a small home, but don't waste your table space on them.
    Lammhults
    Plants are great to decorate with. Not only do they look nice, they can also help purify the air and create a relaxing ambiance. But they don't need to clutter all your horizontal surfaces. Anya Sebton's Add System, designed for Lammhults, is a lightweight storage option that includes room for houseplants -- and storing different kinds of objects altogether is much more unique than separate bookcases, clothing racks and planters.
  • 19
    Never underestimate the power of furniture that folds away.
    Boxetti
    This Boxetti item is like a supercharged Murphy bed: it hides bed and all sorts of storage in one unit. Boxetti has similar units for most rooms of the house, including one with all your living room furniture, one with an office and one that contains a kitchen.
  • 20
    Find a workspace that works for you.
    Joakim Bergström via Minna Magnusson
    Why shouldn't you be able to lay down on your desk? This comfort-focused workspace designed by Minna Magnusson is geared towards the unrooted laptop workers and could also work in different parts of the house.
  • 21
    Small shelves are an easy way to decorate.
    Outofstock
    The simple Bridge shelves are elegant and easy to put together. Designed by Outofstock for Bolia, they can be used for books, tchotchkes or even bathroom toiletries.
  • 22
    Outdoor furniture can have multiple uses, too.
    Lane Venture
    These cushions might be intended for poolside, but they'd work on a balcony, roof or covering a makeshift bench. The Weathermaster Accessory Folding Poolside Chaise from Lane Venture is another flexible furnishing, easily moved around and usable as either a lounger or stool.
  • 23
    Make sure large furniture fits your space -- and your doorway.
    Outofstock
    Unlike a huge sectional couch, the Raft Sofa from Outofstock fits into a small space. It's designed to be easily disassembled to squeeze it through narrow door frames and stairways.
  • 24
    Choose a storage system that's easy to reconfigure.
    EcoSystems
    The cutely-named Snug-it shelves from EcoSystems can be built tall or wide, used for display or storage and changed on a whim -- they're easy to put together and take apart.

What creative ideas have you come up with to make small-space living more bearable? Tell us your tips on Twitter or Facebook, and check out some examples of tiny homes that definitely need to save space:

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