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Trulia Blog

12 Portable Pieces That Immediately Add Square Feet

12 pieces of small space furniture for your apartment
When it comes to small-space furniture, it’s all about clever, compact designs that can often pull double duty.

An apartment rental is rarely synonymous with “spacious,” even in the priciest of buildings. While homeowners can renovate on a whim, those of us living the lease life have to get a little bit more creative when inhabiting cramped quarters. For instance, if you live in a city and are looking for an apartment for rent in Boston, MA, nearly every piece of furniture you bring into your small space has to justify the square footage it occupies. (Bonus points if it’s a multitasking piece that’s easy to move around your place.) If you’re having trouble finding the diamonds in the rough, here’s a shortlist of our favorite pieces of small-space furniture that are practically life-changing.

12 pieces of small space furniture for your apartment

    Which small-space furniture pieces are must-haves for apartment dwellers?

  1. 1. Adjustable-height tables. When is a dining table not a dining table? When it’s this adjustable table from Tribecca Home, with an inner hydraulic mechanism that morphs the table from bar height to coffee-table height with the flick of a switch. Pair it with storage ottomans for maximum multitasking.
  2. 2. Rolling cart. Although it’s often marketed as a bar cart, think of this small-space furniture find simply as mobile storage. You can use it in the bathroom to store extra towels and toiletries, or in your office to stow desk supplies — or even as a movable nightstand!
  3. 3. Rolling kitchen islands. No counter space? No problem! Just add a portable kitchen island! Bonus points if you find one with a butcher block top, which is like having an extra, built-in cutting board. Also consider using lightweight steel-top tables for this purpose. Not only can they be used as a prep surface, but also you can pull them into a dining area when dinner is ready — and stow stools underneath for extra seating while you’re cooking, as in this apartment for rent at Post South Lamar in Austin, TX.
  4. 4. Kitchen wall storage. Whether you attach a rod for hanging cookware to the side of your makeshift kitchen island or mount it to the wall behind the counter nearest your oven, you’ll instantly gain square footage by moving utensils and spices up off the counters. Look for kitchen wall storage systems that offer accessories like a hanging bucket for stashing odds and ends or a tiered spice rack.
  5. 5. Portable table legs. Need an instant storage boost? Find a flat surface you like and attach these adjustable steel legs from Floyd. Voilà! Instant table. The legs even come in a carrying case for when it’s time to move to your next apartment.
  6. 6. Room dividers. If you’re craving a little privacy in your studio apartment or just want a way to hide your in-home workspace when it’s not being used, a room divider is a solid option. Just move it into place, and you’ve got an instant (movable) wall. When they’re not in use, you can stash folding room dividers under your bed. Also consider full height, temporary walls to divide rooms for additional privacy.
  7. 7. Closet doubler. A closet doubler is an inexpensive hook-on rail that hangs from your closet rod, creating two levels of clothing storage. Doublers are especially great for those of us with a lot of shirt/pant combos or skirts. No custom closet installation required!
  8. 8. Storage-minded coffee tables. Make your in-front-of-the-couch space work harder by choosing a coffee table with drawers, cubbies, or a shelf. For even more portability, select a piece with wheels — or attach rolling furniture casters to a favorite piece you already own.
  9. 9. Nesting side tables. Nesting tables take up the footprint of one table when stored together but can be spread around your space and used individually when you have company. Bonus: They’re stylish! Check them out in this Seattle, WA, apartment for rent in Dexter Lake Union.
  10. 10. Pull-up side table. Just as in this apartment for rent in AVA University District Seattle, WA, you can move a tapered accent table wherever you need it for your coffee mug, laptop, or TV remote — or even to your bedroom for lazy Sunday breakfast in bed!
  11. 11. Fold-down desk. No room for a full-sized desk or home office? Try a secretary desk! It’s a standing storage unit with a fold-down desk surface.
  12. 12. Standing laptop station. Whether you want to join the stand-up desk craze or just need to maximize your square footage, a standing laptop station like this one from IKEA can help you get the job done. Plus, it’s lightweight and can easily be moved from room to room so you can watch cooking videos on your laptop while you cook, or if you just want to take advantage of the sunniest spot in the apartment.

What portable small-space furniture pieces do you use to help you maximize your apartment’s square footage? Share your tips in the comments!