They say that necessity is the mother of invention. And for most apartment renters, the imperative goal is finding ways to get the most out of small apartments. Fortunately, making more with less is a challenge that we have faced since the invention of cities, and over the centuries inventors and designers have devised all sorts of clever ways to optimize limited living areas.
Here are 10 clever gadgets, devices and furnishings people living in small apartments can use to add style and utility to even the smallest of apartment units:
1) Wall Beds. Remember the old Murphy Beds usually used for laughs in old Warner Brothers cartoons? Well, they still make them — both under the Murphy brand name and others — and they’re still great space savers. By day, they look like a handsome book shelf. At night, the mattress and bed frame drop down for snoozing. Newer models double as sofas. Why take up valuable floor space for a piece of furniture you only use eight hours a day?
Image via: Sleepworks
2) Convertible Sofas. Another space-saving classic, the couch that hides a fold-out bed. Traditionally, these beds featured paper-thin mattresses on hard, metal frames suitable only for the over-night stay of your mother-in-law. But today, many manufacturers make conversation pit-style sofas with chaise lounges that extend to create beds offering high degrees of comfort as well as style. If you have a studio apartment, you may want to consider one of these as your primary bed.
Image via: NYFU
3) Countertop Dishwashers. If you like to entertain but your apartment doesn’t come with a dishwasher, there’s now an alternative to paper plates. The Koldfront Countertop Dishwasher sits on your counter and can clean up to six place settings at once. The cost? Only about $200.
Image via: Amazon
4) 3-in-1 Breakfast Station. If you have a countertop dishwasher, that leaves less space for your toaster, coffeemaker and cooktop. The solution: A device that combines all three! The size of a toaster oven, this clever gadget brews coffee, toasts and warms breads of all kinds, and can even fry up your bacon and eggs. Now I’m getting hungry!
Image via: Nostalgia Electrics
5) iPhone Pocket Projector. If you have an iPhone, who needs a television? No, we’re not talking about watching “Game of Thrones” on your phone’s 4-inch screen, but projecting a 50-inch HD image right onto your wall. The projector works off your phone’s battery, so you don’t even have to worry about being near an outlet.
Image via: Gear Diary
6) Tablets/eReaders. Today, who reads books? Well, you should. Even in the digital age, nothing quite compares to the pleasure of curling up with a good book. Of course, small apartments leave little room for bookshelves. And who needs the dust? Better to invest in a tablet or eReader (e.g. Amazon’s Kindle) on which you can store dozens of books in something the size of a single paperback.
Image via: Amazon
7) Dining Room Table/Pool Table. Here’s the ultimate piece in apartment furnishing double-duty: a dining room table that comfortably seats eight — and then easily converts into a billiards table. Serve your friends a gourmet meal, then hustle them at pool. It’s furniture that pays for itself!
Image via: Fusion Tables
8) Infant Changing Table/Storage Cabinet. If you’re a renter with a newborn, you know that changing tables can claim a sizable footprint. Here’s a clever space-saving solution: a wall-mounted changing table with a cabinet that doubles as a storage shelf for wipes, lotions, creams and all the other paraphernalia you need to keep babies fresh and clean.
Image via: by BO Design
9) Pie-Section Dining Room Table. Have a tiny dining room? This unique table contains four chairs that hide away until you need them.
Image via: TollyMag
10) Double-Decker Bedrooms. Finally, for the ultimate in space-saving architecture, there’s the double-decker or “lofted” bedroom design. These place beds and even desks atop large storage cabinets and even mini-closets to provide maximum useable space on the smallest possible footprint. It helps if you’re not afraid of heights.
Image via: Bedroom Furniture for Kids
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