Skip Nav

Cheap Ways to Transform Small Spaces

10 Buys Under $100 That Will Transform Your Small Space

Having less space in your apartment doesn't mean you have to sacrifice its style. Trulia has 10 worthy items that will help maximize your space and won't be harsh on your budget.

Small-space dwellers, gather 'round. In the last two years, my square footage has been sliced, diced, and julienned into a shred of its former glory. Thanks to a few moves to sunnier (and pricier) climates, I've gone from 2,000+ square feet (including a full basement) to just under 1,200 with nary a storage space in sight.

Don't even get me started on what this has done to my closet situation.

All this to say that when it comes to making a small space work, I know of what I speak. In a karmic attempt to pay it forward (and increase my square footage in a future life), I thought I'd take a moment to share a few of the tips and tricks I've learned through trial, error, and frustration to keep my house from turning into a jumble of misfit clutter.

  1. The utility cart
  2. Utility carts are serious household workhorses — they're perfect for storage, can double as end tables, and are often on wheels, so they can be moved to wherever the party is. IKEA's Raskog cart is a classic that's beloved by style bloggers.

    And even though this tiny bar cart from CB2 breaks our $100 budget, it gets major points for being covered, so your glasses and booze are hidden away (and less prone to accumulating dust). Stash a lacquered tray on top to corral clutter.

  3. Sheepskin throws
  4. Flip through any modern interiors magazine, and you'll see a sheepskin throw somewhere in the house. And with good reason: they're an easy, inexpensive way to add a touch of luxe to just about any space. Throw one on your office chair, drape it over the foot of your bed, arm of a sofa, or the back of your favorite chair. I've even put one on a dog bed to make it look a bit fancy.

  5. Poufs and floor pillows
  6. When you're living in a small space, seating can be at a premium. I love to have a few poufs or floor pillows on hand for impromptu get-togethers. More often than not, they're the seats guests fight over most. When not in use, they can easily be stashed under a table or stacked in a corner.

  7. Mirrors
  8. Any design freak will tell you that for small spaces, mirrors are your best friend; they just make a space instantly feel lighter and more open. Mix a few with ornate frames into a gallery wall, hang one in a narrow hallway, or lean a floor-length mirror in a dark corner to brighten things up in a flash.

  9. The floating shelf
  10. Floating shelves are quite possibly my favorite invention for small-spacers. Install one in an entryway to corral keys and mail, or use them to employ another favorite small-space trick of mine: going vertical. Run a long expanse of floating shelves around the perimeter of a room to hold books, and you've instantly gained storage and saved invaluable floor space.

  11. Potted plants
  12. Though it may seem counterintuitive to add to the clutter, putting a potted tree or plant into the mix can instantly make a small space feel warmer and more pulled together. Tallish plants also are a great solution for awkward areas with bare wall space you can't quite figure out what to do with.

  13. Lidded baskets
  14. A chic little lidded basket will hide all manner of sins — anything from shoes to mailing supplies. Stash a set of baskets under a coffee table or a bench, or stylishly stack a few in an unused corner.

  15. A classic bench
  16. I am a borderline bench evangelist. I bought an old distressed wooden bench at a going-out-of-business sale 15 years ago and cannot tell you the number of lives it has lived since coming home with me. It's been in my entryway and at my dining table, nestled at the foot of my bed, and even used as a clever way to hide a few storage boxes in an overflowing living room. Pick one with classic lines, and you'll never part.

  17. Wall-mounted storage
  18. This little hanging organizer stashes everything from mail to magazines to files without missing a beat and practically disappears into the wall it's on.

  19. Lacquered boxes
  20. A perfect storage solution in a kitchen or office, colorful lacquered boxes will stylishly hold tea bags, office supplies, batteries, or sewing supplies, and they're pretty enough to stack on a counter.

Related links:

6 Ways to Make Your TV a Style Statement

End These 6 Bad Neighbor Behaviors

5 Ways to Warm Up a White Living Room

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Adrian Busse
Latest Home & Garden