Interior Design Self Storage Tips & Tricks for Renters

Smart Storage Ideas for Rental Apartments


As a renter, the limitations of your apartment or condo can seem impossible to overcome. Between seasonal clothing and oversized furniture, you may find yourself renting another space: a storage unit. But before you start researching facilities, know that smart storage is possible in small, temporary spaces! By being intentional about the furnishings you use, you can transform your home into a clutter-free, organized space you’ll love, without having to rent some extra space. Here are our 5 secrets to help you stylishly maximize the storage in any rental apartment.

1. Use floating cabinets and shelves

Instead of relying entirely on closets and cabinets, think vertically about your storage. Floating shelves and wall organizers are a great way to take advantage of the extra space. You can use them in the kitchen, near an entry or to create a tiny office space. Use a combination of shelves, baskets, and hooks to create room for different kinds of items. To keep the visual clutter low, you can opt for an acrylic shelf.

This wall-mounted IKEA kitchen organizer has shelves for storing dishes, a hanging rack for pans and dish towels, and a knife rack. It’s a big help in freeing up cabinet and counter space. A circular brass shelf, meanwhile, is the perfect way to display rolled towels in your bathroom or books in the living room. It’s a versatile piece that’s functional and beautiful!

Finally, this modern all-in-one organizer works great for an office space. With hooks, cups, and clips, it’s easy to keep office supplies organized without taking up space on your desk.

2. Choose dual-function furniture

A modern entryway needs a dual-function, storage-capable bench

Ottomans or benches can easily double as storage spaces and seating. Tuck an ottoman in the corner of your living room or at the end of your bed, and place a bench with a shoe rack in your entryway.

Or, go for a navy storage bench. It adds a sophisticated touch to a bedroom while giving you a place to store linens or winter coats. If you place a tray on top of it you can even use it as a coffee table in your living room.

To store your shoes and keys where you need them most, install a storage bench with a shelf or drawer near your front door. This mid-century style storage bench gives you a spot for your shoes, while the cubby is a great place for keeping your kiddo’s backpack.

3. Select a platform bed with storage

Clear and stackable storage baskets are perfect for easy cleanup

Elevating upwards is the key to smart storage design and that’s exactly what happens with a platform bed. Instead of cluttering your bedroom with multiple pieces of furniture, select a platform bed with drawers and shelves to stow off-season clothing and shoes.

A platform bed from Crate and Barrel gives you both drawer and storage space. Use the drawers for storing towels, workout clothes, or shoes. At the same time, the shelf space at the headboard and footboard is great for books and hats.

4. Use large, decorative baskets for catch-alls

Fringed storage ottomans with a pair of statements table lamps

One of the easiest ways to make a small space feel larger is to get rid of the clutter. Large, decorative baskets are an easy way to organize and corral loose items and keep the clutter under control. You can use baskets to store everything from blankets to toys to magazines and books. The great part about baskets is they can slide under your bed or sit on top of an entryway bench.

A curved woven basket, for example, is great for larger items like blankets, pillows or reusable shopping bags. But they also work for storing winter accessories or pet toys.

These navy baskets are great for magazines and books or for keeping your kids’ toys off the floor. They add a beautiful pop of color and give the space a decorative touch. And if you’re looking to add a touch of glam, go for this metallic wire basket. Use it to store umbrellas in your entry or luxe throws in the living room.

5. Re-purpose ladders as decor and smart storage

Custom curved glass storage shelves designed by Laura U Interior Design

Ladders are another smart way to make the most of the storage space in your apartment. You can use them to store blankets, towels, and throws, freeing up space in your bedroom

This storage ladder with baskets from Pottery Barn is a great fit for a bathroom or a living room. The baskets prevent items like cords, remotes, toiletries, and small toys from getting lost. Also, this Lulu and Georgia storage ladder adjusts so you can make the most of whatever wall space you have. It’s great for hanging jeans, scarves or your gorgeous shoe collection!

Smart Storage for Apartments

In the end, utilizing unused space is the key to maximizing storage in a rental apartment. Think up, not out. Shelves, ladders, and wall organizers give you additional storage without taking up floor space. Decorative baskets keep your home organized and clutter-free. They’re also the perfect pieces for adding a pop of color or visual texture to your apartment.

At the same time, incorporating dual function furniture will maximize your storage space while minimizing the amount of furniture you need. No one will ever know what you’re using it for and you’ll have extra seating for guests when you need it.

And finally, don’t be afraid to pair multiple storage solutions together. Choose a platform bed with drawers and shelves to minimize what needs to be hung in your closet. Hang floating shelves above a bench in your entryway and place a decorative basket on top. Use a storage ladder in your bedroom and a bench at the end of your bed. Smart storage allows you to properly store your belongings no matter the space you have!

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About the author

Mihaela Buzec

Mihaela is an online content developer for RENTCafé. She has a BA in English Language and Literature and an MA in Current Linguistics. She is a passionate reader, writer, and researcher, with a background in academic writing. You can get in touch with Mihaela at

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