Storage in the City: A Guide to Compact Living

With a world of bars, restaurants and attractions on your doorstep, city living can be exciting, energetic and exhilarating. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a two-storey penthouse, the one thing you don’t have is space. Living in a city centre apartment often means being smarter when it comes to storage. Here are five expert tips on making every inch of your apartment work.

1.      Keep things simple

Even the best storage in the world will struggle if you have too many belongings. So the first rule of city living is to cut-down on the clutter.

By taking the bare minimum and throwing out the things you don’t need, or don’t use, you can keep surfaces clean and make small rooms feel light, airy and spacious.

If you just can’t bear to part with your possessions, get in touch with Safestore, and rent a self-storage unit to keep your belongings safe until you swap your bijou city centre apartment for a larger home in the country.

2.      Double up

Most space saving designs do more than meets the eye. Take this multi-purpose table-lamp (sourced at Arreda Click) that also doubles up as a phone charger and a storage space for keys, glasses and all your everyday essentials. Or this clock and bookshelf that makes the most of a small footprint. (sourced at Ikea). 

Source: Arreda Click

Folding furniture like this stylish ottoman (sourced at Overstock) looks modern and can also be used as a spare bed for guests.

As a rule, before you buy anything for your new apartment, have a look around for a space-saving equivalent. Design blogs like apartment therapy are a great place to start, and if you’re on a budget, you can always find small storage ideas at Ikea.

3. Climb the walls and ceiling

If you’re working with limited floor space, consider using the walls or adding ceiling hooks to hang everything from pots and pans to bicycles. Shelving is a must for books, DVDs and CDs and keeps floors easy to clean and clutter-free. 

Source: Amazon

And if you look around you’ll find ingenious ideas like this wall-mounted table that creates a handy pop-up breakfast bar or desk. 

4. Go custom

Modern city apartments can be quirky and aren’t always regular shapes. If your budget can stretch to it, consider creating custom storage like under-stair drawers (see, or even pull-out cupboards (seen here on Bored Panda) that allow you to keep essentials out of sight, but within easy reach.

Source: Bored Panda

5. Create a balcony garden

An urban garden instantly adds another room to your home. So why not transform that balcony into a relaxing outdoor space? Ikea is a great place to start looking for affordable fold-up garden furniture, parasols, privacy screens and cushions.

Source: Ikea

For storage, try a wall-mounted unit with a built-in bench (seen here at Ikea) or plant pots that you can hook onto bannisters and railings. Solar lighting is also an environmentally-friendly way to bring a small space to life, and turn a dark unloved balcony into a cosy home in the evenings. Why not add these Solvinden lights to plant pots, or hang them in bushes and shrubs to create a magical backdrop.

The bottom line is living in the city doesn’t have to be cluttered and disorganised. With a few smart storage ideas, some clever space-saving designs, and a dash of imagination, you can turn the smallest pied-à-terre into a practical and comfortable city centre pad.