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12 super space-saving tips and tricks for your rented home

Want to make your rental home feel more spacious? Here are our super space-saving tips and tricks for your new pad.

Guest Author
Words by: Katy Holland

Living your best life in a smallish rented home is no mean feat. Especially if you want to fit in all your clobber and make it look nice at the same time.

But don’t despair.

Whether you live in a small house, a flat or a studio apartment, there are lots of ways to free up space.

Let's take a look at the tips and tricks experts use to make a home feel more spacious.

1. Put awkward spaces to good use

Your home has more space than you think - it’s just hiding from you.

There are plenty of valuable voids that can be put to good use if you know where to look, says Joanna Thornhill, interiors stylist and author of Insta Style for your Living Space.

"Gaps above wardrobes and cupboards can always be put to good use, especially if you have high ceilings," she says.  "And spaces under beds and sofas can also be useful spots for storage."

"Use baskets or even vintage suitcases to stash extra items away and pull out easily. Even if they’re visible, they’ll still look good so won’t compromise your style."

Shelves in apartment

2. Use shelves to add depth to your rooms

Floating shelves make a room feel more spacious, and take up less space than floor-standing bookcases or units.

While they may not be able to store heavy items, they're the perfect place to pop plants, candles, books or things you want to display.

Shelves add interest and create depth by drawing the eye beyond the walls. It's a great way to make your rental home feel more spacious.

3. Add storage to divide spaces

If you live in a studio flat or an open-plan space, using storage can be a brilliant trick to create the illusion of a divide between areas where walls may be lacking.

"A free-standing, open-backed shelving unit can be a great way to divide a space without preventing the flow of light," says Joanna.

"Alternatively, position a solid cupboard as a room divider and treat its back as a ‘wall’ by painting it or even using it to hang pictures or wallpaper (especially useful if you’re not allowed to decorate your space itself)."

Window sill with indoor plants

4. Make the most of your window sills

Window sills are a little bit of prime real estate that often get overlooked.

You could use a wide sill as a bookshelf, a bedside table or dressing table, for example.

And hanging shelves on your window can be a clever, creative way of making extra space, whether you display collectables, houseplants, or bedroom or bathroom paraphernalia.

5. Baskets are your best friends

Clutter is the enemy when you need space, but baskets are your best friends.

Storage baskets or containers can transform your kitchen, bedroom, lounge or hallway, creating subtle storage spots in a jiffy. As if by magic, they free up countertops, shelves and work surfaces.

Stick baskets anywhere - under things, on top of things, next to things - you name it, you can shove a basket there. Be as inventive as you like with your chosen containers. Decorated boxes and crates are also fun to use.

For something unusual and inexpensive, Joanna suggests using old vintage fruit crates. "They can hide a multitude of sins, they’re sturdy and easy to move when required," she says. 

Bedside table

6. Give tables a secret life

Who doesn’t love multipurpose furniture? There’s something strangely satisfying about knowing that your coffee table or hall bench has a secret life as a storage cupboard.

There are lots of lovely coffee tables on the market that have drawers or platforms underneath. The same can be said for side tables - opt for something with a drawer or a cupboard underneath to create precious extra storage space.

7. Make the most of storage behind closed doors

Shoe holders that hang on doors are inexpensive, and they’re also a very versatile storage solution.

"If you want to showcase a collection of favourite shoes in the bedroom, opt for clear pockets so it doubles as display," says Joanna.

"Otherwise, fabric pockets can hide a multitude of sins - maybe try some in the kitchen for extra baking tools or cookbooks. You could even convert one into a vertical garden for plants or herbs - just ensure it’s made from plastic-coated material, so it doesn’t rot."

Nest of tables

8. Go collapsible or stackable 

No room for a banquet table? No problem.

Invest in a drop-leaf table or collapsible trestle table, foldaway chairs and stackable stools and you’ll be issuing those dinner party invites before you can say "Where did I put my Ottolenghi cookbook?”

When it’s not in use, you can store your foldable furniture flat against walls, under beds or behind sofas. A drop-leaf table can make a handy shelf behind a sofa, too.

9. It’s a drawer thing

Anyone who has lived in a small space knows that under-bed drawers are the greatest things since sliced bread.

Abi Boura from Love Your Home says a storage bed is a brilliant choice for small bedrooms - but advises thinking carefully before you buy. 

"Drawers in bed bases can look fun, but you need room around the bed to open and close them. A better solution may be a storage ottoman bed. Lifting the mattress reveals a huge area to hide unsightly clutter."

10. Get shelf-happy with your headboard

If your small bedroom is too tight on space for much more than a bed, a headboard with shelves is a great space saver.

It provides good storage space and banishes the need for bedside tables.

11. Choose a statement piece

If you don’t have room for a lot of furniture pieces in your home, choose one big piece that will house everything in one place.

A multipurpose dresser includes drawers, cupboards and display space, and takes up just one wall.

Storing everything in one big cupboard can make the rest of the room feel much bigger and less cluttered.

12. Sofa so good

Sofa beds are another win-win for anyone needing to use their space for more than one thing.

"Sofa beds are ideal for making multi-functional living spaces, and make studio living possible," says Abi.

"You can have the in-laws for a sleep over by simply converting the living room sofa into the perfect stop over," she says.

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