Residence hall rooms might be small, but at least the furniture is pretty much figured out for you. Once you leave the not-so-comfortable nest, however, it’s completely up to you and your roommate(s) to decide how you arrange your apartment. And as if that wasn’t hard enough, the price of an apartment is so high in Berkeley that sometimes you have to squeeze too many people into small spaces in order to not break the bank with rent. We at the Clog know that it can be really difficult to fit everything you and your roommates need to live, work and study comfortably into a tiny space and still feel like you have room to move around. Luckily, we know some tips and tricks to make your small apartment seem bigger.
Brighten it up
Natural light, white furniture and colorful accents go a long way in making an apartment seem more open than it really is. If you can, flood the place with natural (or natural-seeming) light. White furniture is a pain to keep clean, but if you’re willing to wash the table when you’re done eating, it can be nice. Use splashes of bright colors like red or lighter shades of blue for rugs, chairs and comforters instead of dark shades or pale pastels. If you have a bay facing window, you’re probably going to need to close your curtains a lot during the day, so get white or light-colored curtains.
The more things you have, the smaller your space is going to seem. As you pack, unpack or just use your space, question: Do I really need this? You can get rid of things that you don’t use or that you don’t really like, making your space seem less cluttered. This goes for decorations, too — avoid the dozens of battered band posters and prom pictures you had taped up to your residence hall wall and instead go for a few framed pictures of your loved ones and a UC Berkeley pennant.
Get creative with your storage
Two-ish words: under-bed storage. This is possibly the most important part of making your small space seem big. Hit up the IKEA in Emeryville (we at the Clog like the Skubb storage) for as many storage cases as you can fit under your bed. Figure out how to fold clothes tightly so that you have no problem fitting all your clothes in there and then use the extra space for rain jackets, board games and any other items you may need to store. If throwing everything into a big storage container doesn’t work for you, try buying some of the smaller boxes so that you can organize the inside of the container. Don’t just use your bed, try putting storage boxes under your nightstand, on your shelves and (if you have one) the floor of your closet.
Go up and down, not out
Buy bookshelves and bunk beds instead of squeezing two twins in next to each other. Sure, someone will have to take the top bunk, but you’ll be able to walk on your bedroom floor. The first couple of shelves will be great for your dozens of textbooks. You can use storage boxes on the rest of the shelves for your college gear and other personal belongings in order to expand your storage space while keeping it clean.
Share with your roommate(s)
As horrible as it may sound, try sharing your space and furniture more than strictly necessary. You don’t need one nightstand, bookshelf and clothes rack per person. It’ll save a lot of space if you share shelves and stands instead of buying duplicates.
Hide, don’t hang
Avoid the temptation to buy hanging organizers that are going to be visible all the time, and instead opt for hiding it. Unless you have a closet where you can hang your shoe organizer, try finding a third use for your storage boxes by putting your shoes in them. Having everything hanging around makes it very visibly obvious what little storage space you have. If you absolutely need to hang something, get a coat hanger for your wall so it looks casual and convenient rather than desperate.
Keep it clean
Pick up your belongings and keep it organized from the get-go. Pull out the vacuum more than once a month. This is a sure-fire way to make your space look nice and also necessary to succeed in making your room look bigger than it is.
Contact Taylor Follett at [email protected].