Over the years, American homes have gotten bigger and bigger. Families’ needs have stayed pretty much the same, but our expectations for what is “big” have evolved.

The reality, however, is that you can thrive in a small space just as well as (if not more than) you can in a oversized apartment or home.

Making the Most Out of Limited Space

When you look at new homes built in the US today, they are, on average, 1,000 square feet larger than new homes in 1973. More surprising is that living space per person has nearly doubled.

Over the past few decades, bigger has become better (at least in the collective mind). But most of us don’t need thousands and thousands of square feet to function. In fact, increasing numbers of people have discovered they’re actually happier and healthier in smaller spaces.

If you’re a business owner or professional who spends a lot of time traveling and bouncing around between various locations, it makes sense to rent an apartment at home and in the city or cities you visit frequently. But in order to make this practical, you’ll probably have to cut back on total square footage.

Don’t despair. You can use the following tips to make the most of your small apartment space.

. Choose a Smart Floor Plan

If you study the floor plans of well-designed apartments, you’ll discover they share some unique characteristics. The Carraway Village Apartments in Chapel Hill, North Carolina are a fine example.

The complex features studio apartments with layouts as small as 484 square feet that are still entirely functional. This is accomplished by taking down unnecessary walls and opening up the floor plan and ensuring plenty of natural light.

. Use Multi-Functional Furniture

When space is at a premium, you have to be smart about the furniture you choose. You can’t afford wasted space or useless items. Every design choice must serve a purpose.

“Choose furniture with space to store objects,” best-selling author Tori Toth suggests. “Try a coffee table with a shelf below, an ottoman with a removable top to store items or even a sofa bed. By giving items a dual purpose you’re saving space by not having to purchase additional storage. Floating furniture, like shelving, is another way to add more space while using visual height.”

. Cut Back on Clutter

When you live in a large home that offers lots of square footage, it’s easier to get away with clutter. You can stuff all your belongings in cabinets, drawers, dressers, closets, garages, and sheds.

But when you settle into a tiny apartment, you can’t enjoy such luxuries. The solution is to cut back on the amount of clutter you let into the space.

. Utilize Corner Space

“The corner of a room is often overlooked, so rather than leave it empty, squeeze in an extra accent chair or a corner bookshelf, making your room more livable,” Toth advises. “You could even turn it into a cozy reading nook, command center or play area.”

In a small apartment, every square inch matters. How you utilize the corners of the room could make or break the functionality of your limited floor plan. If you’re unsure of what to do, look online for inspiration.

. Ditch the Dining Area

Gone are the days when you need a big dining area in your home (especially if you’re living by yourself). Instead of insisting on a large dining room or kitchen table, use your kitchen counters and pull up some barstools.

The rest of the kitchen can be used for other purposes — such as a mini-office or extension of the living room.

Adding it All Up

Living in a small apartment has its pros and cons. But if you’re strategic with your lifestyle choices, you can lessen many of the down sides and enjoy more of the benefits.

Employ the tips and suggestions discussed in this article to come up with a plan that empowers you to maximize every square foot in your business apartment.

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