How I Organized & Decorated My Small Apartment

Jakia | SoleOrganizer
by Jakia | SoleOrganizer

I lived in a 480 sq. ft apartment for year and I loved it! You're probably thinking, too small, but it was just perfect! I'm really starting to believe that I thrive immensely in small spaces because it motivates me to tap into my creativity and execute my organizing skills. When I first viewed the apartment, I knew I had to have it because it was on the third floor (I don't like living underneath others and hearing footsteps over me) and it had these four large windows in the living room that produced an abundance of natural light. Yup - I'll take it!

There was a lack of storage space which may have intimidated other potential residents but not me and I was up for the challenge. It took me a while to get settled into my place but when I did, it was hard for me to leave because it just felt so peaceful and comfortable.


The space is pretty wide open because the kitchen and living room merge into one another. I appreciated that the kitchen had plenty of cabinet space because I didn't have to purchase any additional shelving. Even though there was enough open space, I didn't believe a full-sized kitchen table would fit and more importantly the table would make the space feel cramped. However, I was fortunate enough, to come across a white table on wheels along with a brown, bar stool that someone I knew was giving away. The size of both of the items were the perfect fit into the space and didn't overwhelm the space.


Kitchen & Entryway

The rugs under the stove and close to the sink provided extra support when cooking or washing the dishes. I purchased them from Target -  here. I didn't use my dishwasher to wash dishes but I did use the dishwasher as a drying rack. Lastly, to contain my dish-soap and sponge, I purchased the Surface Sink Caddy by Joseph Joseph -  here from HomeGoods. I kept the counter-tops clear for the most part except for the items that you see out because i like to see my items but of course they have to be organized.


I stored my trash can that I purchased from  Burlington underneath my entryway table which was purchased from HomeGoods. As I previously mentioned, there was enough kitchen storage space, but I did buy an affordable, gray basket from The Container Store -  here, to store snacks and other items that I had to access frequently. I also used a lot of Command Hooks throughout my apartment and as you can see, the "Let's Eat" sign is being held up by Command Hooks, the red trivet is being held up by a Command Hook and a sachet from Burlington. The apartment did lack proper ventilation and I wasn't able to open the windows, so I would crack the door open a little and turn on the fan. However, the sachet absorbed much of the smell and it added a nice decorative touch as it reads "Hello Gorgeous!" The Command Hooks that I used to hold up the sachet can be found -  here.


The red basket that is stored to the right of the sink is where I placed dirty dish rags and once it was full then that indicated it was time for them to be washed. I purchased this from The Container Store -  here. Looking for your keys when you are in a rush is no fun! So, I placed an adhesive key-hook from Bed Bath and Beyond -  here, on the wall as soon as you walk into the apartment. By placing the hook right by the door, it serves as reminder to place the keys there when you come home. 

I created an entryway by placing a rug, an ottoman and basket upon entering the apartment. I stored purses inside of the ottoman and it's also where I sat down to put on and take off my shoes. I opted out of purchasing a coat rack once my Grandmother suggested that I use over-the-door hooks. Now you see why I stated that being organized is in my DNA *smiles*


For the entryway table, I placed sage, a candle and re-purposed a napkin holder to store my mail and another sachet. If you struggle with setting up a mail system within your space, then I suggest you read this post -  here. I'm a firm believer that your home should ooze positive energy and vibes! 


Living Room & Office Nook

To break up the space, I purchased a sectional couch which created a clear divide between the kitchen, office nook and living room space. I didn't want to "over-do it" because I knew living in this space was going to be temporary; so, I was very intentional about what pieces I purchased for Apt. 301.


For example, I knew that I needed a bookshelf to display my collection of books and when I found this chrome, metal bookshelf from Ross, I had to snatch it up. I also knew that I wanted a large picture to hang up above the television. Again, HomeGoods never disappoints, and I came across this elephant piece and I loved that the frame was black and the actual artwork was very vibrant and meshed well with the curtains. 


I used an over-the-door hook to maximize space as well as implementing an over-the-door mirror from Target -  here. I have an issue of Vogue on display with the beautiful Lupita Nyong'o on the cover. I don't think there is anything wrong with magazines being on display as long as it's tastefully done. I added a touch of organization decor by utilizing Pop'n Store Boxes from  Samsill which you can read more about  here, to conceal items that didn't need to be on display. My plush rug is from HomeGoods made by Safavieh and I must say rubbing my feet on the rug felt so good and it was very relaxing - lol!


I didn't want to drill any holes into the wall so for that reason I used picture-hanging strips from Command Hooks to hold up my artwork - get them  here. I just had to be really careful when removing them from the walls. I also used tension rods from Ross to hang-up these beautiful and bold turquoise curtains from Burlington. My mother gave me the idea and I'm happy that she did because it worked out really well.

How cute is the faux fur rug? It's so soft and washes up very nicely and the rug was purchased from Burlington. I draped another faux fur rug over my chair. The canvas bag sitting on top of the trunk is where I tossed paperwork that must be shredded. Once the canvas bag reached it's capacity then I would shred the paperwork which was how I effectively managed paper clutter. My file cabinet is from Staples and on top of it, I placed the 'Drop Front Men's Shoe Box' from The Container Store -  here to store business related documents and a shelving unit which added even more vertical space. If you can't tell by now then maximizing space was the goal!


I relied on my trusty Command Hooks to create a display of items I enjoyed seeing when working and used the side of the refrigerator as the canvas. Yes - even the refrigerator can be used to maximize space. I like to be surrounded by artwork and visual reminders which made the space fun and not boring. 

I love the desk I purchased from another blogger directly from Instagram for $20! The desk is from Ikea and comes with a pull-out drawer and a detachable glass top. My two 'Bigso Boxes' which are from The Container Store -  here, fit perfectly on the pull-out drawer along with my journals. My desktop organizer is also from The Container Store -  here, and it's so functional where you can combine all of the pieces together similar to a puzzle or separate the pieces as I did. The goal was to keep the office nook very simple. I believe that is less is best!


Bathroom

The bathroom was probably the easiest space to organize and decorate. The only storage space was underneath the sink which wasn't ideal for my lifestyle. So, I knew I needed additional storage so that the bathroom could be functional.


For additional space, I added a very sturdy but chic marble tray from HomeGoods to contain my items like moisturizer and perfume that I used daily. I love scented candles so I always made sure to keep one stored inside the bathroom. Here is another positive affirmation which really set the tone for my day that I bought from Big Lots and used clear Command Hooks to hold it up. The bronze shelving unit came from Ross and had to be assembled. I loved that it matched the bathroom and gave me that extra space that I really needed to store towels and my make-up.


Bedroom & Closet Space

Your bedroom should be peaceful and a space where you should feel rested. The whole theme for Apt. 301 was to make it stylish but to keep it simple. The home décor section in Ross didn't disappoint from my chrome, metal bookshelf, the bronze shelving unit and the turquoise nightstand. In the corner, I had fabric storage bins which held my undergarments and other clothing items. I placed a basket at the end of the bed as a "catch-all." Lastly, my '6 Cube Organizer' from Target -  here, stored t-shirts, toiletries and other items. Every item had a specific storage place which is always important. 

When I first saw the closet space, I must say I did a double-take but I can organize spaces with my eyes closed so I knew I would make it functional. I had purchased the wire basket from Target several years ago and it's been stored in various spaces but it really came in handy in this closet space. I used two, large Command Hooks to secure the basket to hold my laundry items. Above the baskets, I hung up these signs that I created and designed as a reminder to be conscious about maintaining an organized space. Many times we feel as though we don't have anything to wear or we spend a lot of money on "things" that aren't of quality; however, if we take the time to edit our wardrobe and really appreciate what we already own, we'll find we already have what we need. If you struggle with editing your closet then download the free, 'Closet Edit Checklist'  here. I also share on the blog, how fasting from shopping for 30 days allowed me to take inventory of my clothes. Read more about that  here


I used velvet hangers purchased from Tj Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods to streamline my clothing. On top of the shelf, I stored linen and towels for guest inside of these fabric storage bags from The Container Store -  here.


In a 480 sq. ft. apartment with limited storage, utilizing sufficient wall-space was essential. So, there was plenty of space in between the stack-able washer/dryer for me to place my broom and Swifter on medium, wire Command Hooks -  here.  Below, I used a tension rod from Ross and re-purposed a curtain to conceal the washer/dryer, closet space from my bedroom space. 

I thoroughly enjoyed decorating and being intentional about making my apartment feel so 'homey' and inviting. I made a lot of trips to Tj Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls, Ross, Burlington, Target and The Container Store *whew* but it was worth it. To hear my friends say, "it feels so serene in here," when they came to visit, made me feel good. Why? Because we should all enjoy dwelling in the space we call home. It should be your refuge, your solace and it should bring you peace since you will spend most of your time within your space. I accepted the challenge and am proud of how it came together.


If you live in a small space or are considering down-sizing, I hope this post inspires you and demonstrates that you can function and thrive in a small space using the appropriate systems and products.

Jakia | SoleOrganizer
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  • Danceforgood Danceforgood on Jun 12, 2024

    You’ve done great things in a tiny space! Love the command hook ideas.

  • Elizabeth Haire Elizabeth Haire on Jun 21, 2024

    Like your space and use of colors that kept it from being either "bland" or "matchy". Great💡 ideas.

    I notice that you have no personal photos. I have a good supply of those so my choices would include a spot to remind me of the folks I love.

    Well done. 😀

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