Apartment living is different than house living. While there are some big apartments for those who can afford them, and some fairly small houses, most apartments are smaller than houses.And there are no garages, sheds or basements for storage.

So apartment dwellers have to be creative.

You can save a lot of space by making furniture do double-duty as storage units.The most obvious way is to buy a bed that has drawers beneath it. This saves the space that otherwise would be needed for one dresser.One less piece of furniture in your apartment.

There are also some nice benches that double as chests.Again, using this storage place means one less piece of furniture for storage, or less things lying about and taking up space.

You can consideran attractivechest, ottomanor trunk that can double asyour coffee table.

If your apartment is really small, or you have frequent guests, a sofa that doubles as a bed is ideal to save the space that a bed would otherwise take up.

Another trick to save space is to take to the walls. You 05-May not be able to put your bed or kitchen table on the walls, but some things you can. For instance:

•Lighting.Instead of a table lamp or a floor lamp, there aremany decorativewall lamps available.
•Bookcases.Get them off the floor and up on the walls.There are many mounted bookshelf options around.
•Bulletin boards. Great for keeping papers and flyers handy and clutter off your counters or dresser.

And if your apartment is really small, you can put a bed up against the wall that comes down for sleeping.You also can use a folding table that can be brought out for eating. Some people in really small apartments don’t even bother with a kitchen table, eating at a counter or on the coffee table.

But what do you do when family visits?A folding table and chairs can do the trick.

One of the best ways to gain space in an apartment is to de-clutter.Make sure everything has a place.Then ensure that those places are covered up, except things that have decorative appeal.Bare countertops and tabletops make a place feel much more spacious than when covered with papers and odds and ends.

Get rid of things you don’t need.Store things that are off-season in a locker in your apartment building.Or have one single place, out of visual range to place papers and things you need to go through but have not yet found the time, such as a bedroom closet.

And if you are still running out of space, check the floor of your entryway closet.Is it a dumping ground for things best labelled as “miscellaneous”?If so, have you tried making it more organized so that more things fit there (and more neatly)? You might be surprised how much clutter in your room can fit into your closet if you take the time to organize it with attractive fabric bins or wooden baskets.

One of the best things you can do to de-clutter and save space is to go electronic.Do you need several boxes of paper?Or can you store all that information electronically?Do you need a box of photos, or will they fit on a memory stick?Do you need a library of books?Or of CDs?You can access all these things electronically without using up any of the precious space in your apartment.

Small places require creativity, especially if you used to have more space.But life is not about the amount of space you occupy, life is about how you occupy it.Hopefully some of these ideas will help you occupy your space for a more comfortable and pleasing rental home.