Living in a small space can be a challenge, but smart storage solutions can make our pint-size homes more liveable if we give them a shot. Though one’s mind might immediately spring to The Container Store–esque amendments (adding bins and boxes everywhere in sight to keep things organized), there are plenty of changes to make that still allow personality to come through in your living space. Below we’ve taken a look at seven of our favorite Clever-featured homes to find out what they can teach us about living well in a small space.
Hang it all
For their 350-square-foot Manhattan apartment, artists Margot DeMarco and Grace Miceli had to get creative to not only store their belongings, but to showcase their vast collection of artworks by friends and family too. The kitchen separates the bedroom from the living space and it was important to keep a walkway open between the two rooms, eliminating the possibility for a slim island or cart storage in the center of the space. The solution? Hang it all up. A metal grid wall provides a space to hang up pots and pans, and in the corner a three-tier hanging basket adds food storage.
Build it up
Your decorative desires might be squashed by a lack of floor space, but try looking up—do you have extra room to play with overhead? It’s not a fix in most spaces, but if you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings, you might try figuring out how you can put them to use. You wouldn’t want to use your high shelves for anything that’s for day-to-day use, but for books, records, tchotchke collections, or even offseason clothes, high shelving can make the first eight feet of your living space a lot less cluttered.
Slim it down
Designer Sophie Rowell ripped out the upper cabinets in favor of open shelving in this 1970s bungalow redesign.
Particularly in the kitchen, whether it’s because they’d block prep space or a window, some walls don’t lend themselves to adding typical deep shelving. In this 1970s bungalow redesign by Côte de Folk founder Sophie Rowell, a set of slim shelves adds space for bottles and glasses, freeing up room in the closed cupboards without creating a cramped feeling in the open space.
For her own 400-square-foot apartment, architect Corey Kingston of Le Whit intentionally built out integrated storage to maximize her space. This included under the bed, where she created a 14-inch platform with the help of a local fabricator. The platform’s deep drawers add tons of welcome storage space and the elevation helps to separate the bedroom area from the adjacent lounge space.
Disappear with doors
Blink and you might miss the closet doors in Fiona Byrne’s 19th-century Brooklyn apartment. The interior designer constructed the two closets with jib doors that are flush-mounted and have no visible hardware, allowing them to disappear into the rest of the wall. Better yet, she added the moulding that appears on the regular walls, further camouflaging them. Sometimes smart storage is just regular storage made invisible!
Curtain things off
Metal shelving is covered by a playful blue-and-white checkered curtain in this apartment designed by Elina Mussakulova. All the utility, none of the ugliness!
Adorn your cabinets
For a personal punch to what would have otherwise been standard white shelving in her 700-square-foot Chicago apartment’s bedroom, homeowner Paige Wassel taped up various ephemera, keepsakes, and personal mementos. The bedroom is extremely adaptable—this desk folds flat against the wall to allow the Murphy bed, folded up and concealed by a white curtain in this photograph, to come down—so personalizing the elements that are static was especially important.
This article originally appeared on Clever by Architectural Digest