How to Maximize Space in Your NYC Apartment

May 5, 2019

City living is full of tradeoffs. You might sacrifice an elevator for a washer and dryer, a gorgeous view for lower rent. Regardless of what you prioritize, we can all relate to that feeling you get once your keys are in hand, you breathe a sigh of relief and then look around your space pondering the possibilities. And if you’re short on space, don’t worry. We’ve jotted down a few pointers to help inspire you.


Marie Kondo hit the nail on the head. If it doesn’t spark joy, consider donating it, selling it or tossing it. If you have amassed more collectibles or trinkets than you care to part with, display a few key pieces you really like and explore sleek storage spaces to house everything else. We could go on and on about this or you could just watch Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Think Vertically

If you have limited floor space, you won’t want to crowd it with too many extra pieces of storage furniture. Shelving is one of the most logical solutions for making use of vertical space. You can use shelves pretty much anywhere you have wall space, but keep in mind you’ll want to use shallow shelves in tighter areas. To reduce shelf clutter, experiment with different bins or baskets. Consider over-the-toilet storage options in your bathroom. In the kitchen, try magnetic strips, caged racks, or wall-mounted bars and hooks for utensils, pots and pans. If you have a utility room or a free closet wall, a peg board could do the trick.

Use Mirrors

Reflective surfaces can help create the illusion of a brighter, taller, wider apartment. Try placing mirrors next to or opposite windows to invite natural light—and if you have a nice view, now you’ll have two! A large mirror can be a statement piece and will help magnify your space. If you prefer smaller mirrors, group them together in one area. You can also try using a few medium-sized mirrors aligned on one wall either in a row or staggered. Mirrors also benefit tighter spaces like entryways and hallways.

Experiment with TV Placement

Interior Design

Photo by Dan Gold

Depending on the layout of your apartment, you could try using your TV as a room divider (being mindful of visible wire placement). Another good solution is to mount it on the wall. Whether it’s mounted or sitting on a console, try arranging art or shelving around the TV.

Try a Wall Desk

Think Murphy bed, but for your desk. This piece is ideal for anyone who lacks designated office space. And because you have to fold it up when you’re done, you won’t end up using your desk as a cluttered catch-all.

Opt for Multi-Purpose Furniture

When it comes to furnishing your space, be creative. Living rooms can seem more spacious if you have a coffee table with drawers, an upholstered storage ottoman or a room divider with shelf space. Sleeper sofas are a lot lighter and sleeker than they used to be, so if you plan on housing guests, this is an easy solution. Short on kitchen counter space? Try adding a butcher block with a drop leaf and storage racks or drawers. For your bedroom, look into a bed with drawers or some type of storage, a hinged full-length storage mirror or a vanity with storage behind the mirror and in the bench.

Keep It Bright

Living Room Couch

Photo by Nathan Fertig

Aside from opting for the previously mentioned mirror tricks, you can keep your room bright by painting it white—or any light color. Go for sheer curtains or at least keep your curtains open while the sun shines in. Be strategic about your lamp placement to ensure that all areas are properly lit. If you use room dividers, try the ones that let light through.

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