How to Share Space in Your Apartment

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Sharing an apartment with roommates, a partner, or your family—especially if it’s cozy—can be trying. No matter how strong your relationship, tripping over each others’ stuff (or each other) may cause some friction if you don’t get out ahead of the problem. There are a few ways you can avoid discord when you’re sharing space in an apartment, however. Check out our list of the best tricks for making the most of your space—no matter how small:

  • Communicate. It seems so simple, and yet many roommate relationships devolve into passive-aggressive notes and texts in a matter of weeks or months. Don’t let this be you. Sit down with your roommate(s) or partner before you move in (or shortly thereafter) and lay down some ground rules. If you have a pet peeve, make sure to get it out in the open—even if it makes you feel silly. It’ll be much harder to bring up said pet peeve once it’s become a real issue.
  • Stay organized. Even if you’re not a naturally tidy person, you should still strive to maintain order in the common areas. Invest in plenty of bathroom storage so that your brush never ends up in your roommate’s or boyfriend’s cabinet. Keep spatulas and serving spoons in a decorative vase designated specifically for them. If you find yourself just throwing stuff wherever it fits, that’s a good sign that that room might need some further organizational tools.
  • Maximize it. Even a small space can feel big with a few simple alterations and investments. There’s the tried-and-true trick of adding mirrors to open up a space. Natural light does the same thing. You can also invest in functional furniture, perhaps an ottoman that also stores extra throw pillows and blankets, or a coffee table with drawers for holding DVDs and remotes.
  • Designate zones. When you’re sharing a space, especially a small one, some interior designers recommend creating “zones.” Each zone is designated specifically for a different activity—almost like it’s a separate room. This is a good way of keeping work out of your bedroom and dinner plates out of your living room even if they’re all in the same space. You can use furniture to divvy up zones or actual painted boundaries on the floor in pretty hues.
  • Store surplus stuff. Do you have an extensive collection of magazines? Books? Figurines? Whatever you enjoy collecting, chances are it takes up a large amount of space—space you might not have in an apartment. If your collectible of choice is a display piece, you can keep a few of them to show off. The rest, however, should go into the storage unit at your building or a storage locker nearby. You don’t need impractical items eating up space that could be better used for functional things.
  • Map out a floor plan for common rooms. This might seem like overkill, but by coming up with at least a rough blueprint of the living room, dining room, and kitchen, you can keep the peace. Ensure that each person living in the apartment is equally represented in the design, and that it makes the most sense in terms of spatial arrangement.

Small Space Sharing: 9 Smart Tips for Squeezing Into a Small Home With Someone Else [Apartment Therapy]
11 Ways to Maximize a Small Space [House Beautiful]


Attribution: CC BY 2.0/ Flickr/Adam Woodrow