City living has its perks. We’re often a stone’s throw from a vast array of cultural opportunities that the suburbs rarely see. (When was the last time you saw a Korean BBQ Karaoke bar in Pleasantville, Ohio?) There’s always something fun to do, transportation is easily accessible, and we can usually have it all — from the park for an outdoorsy feel, to a street café when we want to be among the people.


Yes, living in NYC has a lot of advantages. Unfortunately, having a lot of space is generally not one of them.


City apartments tend toward the small, the tiny or even the miniature, simply because of the cost of city real estate, which is… let’s say… “steep.” Making a home that doesn’t feel like a hobbit hole requires us to be super space-savvy, with a bit of storage magician and aesthetic wizard thrown in for good measure.


Here are five tips for making your city sanctuary cool and cozy, as opposed to overcrowded and cramped.


1) Get out the pruning shears…

Or, more likely, the garbage can and the donation bin. Do you have any idea how much unused stuff simply accumulates? Old cards. Forgotten receipts. That cool scrap of fabric you were going to use in a Pinterest craft but never did, because you’re really not actually very crafty. Jeans seem to grow cousins in closets, and sibling-less socks multiply like bunnies. Donate the stuff that can be saved; someone else will benefit from it, and that feels nice. Recycle what can be recycled, and trash the stuff that can’t. And be honest with yourself: Who needs 16 white tee shirts?


2) Let there be light…

The right lighting can make your tiny space look, well, spacious. Use whatever natural light is available in your apartment by keeping your furniture low and away from windows. Avoid heavy, dark drapes and window treatments, and opt instead for breezy, light

Photo by Jaromir Chalabala

Photo by Jaromir Chalabala

fabrics. For lamps and lighting, find ambient and soft white lighting for general spaces and small task lighting for work spaces and reading areas.


3) Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Strategically placed mirrors can make even the smallest space feel twice as big. Place a mirror above your sofa to increase the space in your living area. Add a mirror in your hallway to instantly give it breathing room. Stagger framed mirrors along your bedroom wall for a cool accent that has just as much function as it does style.



4) Learn from the squirrels…

And store away your nuts. And other stuff. Find furniture that has built in storage options — a bedframe with drawers underneath, a dresser that can double as a vanity or a kitchen table that can fold up when you’re not using it. Still can’t quite fit everything? Check out our never-ending list of storage and moving options at Manhattan Mini-Storage. We will keep your nuts and all the rest of it safe until you really need it.


5) Put it on a shelf…

With so many cool shelving options out there, you’d be mad not to utilize as many as you can. Shelves come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, and you can store your books, records and various knick-knacks, dry goods, board games and craft projects on them. (Maybe even some of that stuff you thought was garbage but really want to keep!) Shelves can be way up high, or way down low, stacked perfectly or all askew. Get creative, and free up all kinds of space while making your place multidimensional, functional and spacious.
Looking for more space-saving tips for small spaces, check out our Pinterest boards for inspiration!