Broadway actor Adam Kantor equipped his NYC studio with a wall bed from Resource Furniture. (Elizabeth Dooley, Dooley Images)

While it’s cozy to live in a pint-size space — it feels like a cocoon, and (bonus!) there are fewer rooms to clean — it can also be challenging to find a place for all of your stuff. Experts agree that before you buy one piece of multipurpose furniture, the first step you should take is to declutter. It is one of the smartest small-apartment ideas. “You need to be ruthless about streamlining your stuff,” says Annie Draddy, a professional organizer and co-founder of Henry & Higby, a home-organizing company in New York City. “Every item should have a purpose and be something you use or really love.”

Once you’ve done this, you’ll be ready to invest in double-duty pieces for multiple purposes. Here, we collected 10 multifunctional furniture possibilities for small spaces. We promise each idea will inspire you to maximize your square footage.

Clear Clutter With an Ottoman

Storage ottoman small apartment idea

This plush storage ottoman keeps the room neat and tidy. (Amanda Salles)

Ask the design experts, and they’ll tell you that one of the best double-duty pieces of furniture is an ottoman that opens up to offer storage within and serves as extra seating, too. Just think, you can keep off-season clothing in one and table linens in another. One creative small-apartment idea for using an ottoman? Make it a place to keep all your exercise gear, like yoga equipment. “You can put your sticky mat, yoga DVDs, and favorite candles in it,” says Amanda Salles, co-owner of Salles Interiors, a staging company in New York City. “Then just push it out of the way on your wood floor, and you have your own yoga studio!”

Maximize Square Footage With a Murphy Bed

wall bed in Karen Salmansohn's apt

Award-winning author Karen Salmansohn added more function to her son’s room with a cabinet-style wall bed by Resource Furniture. (Elizabeth Dooley, Dooley Images)

Murphy beds, also known as wall beds, are one of the best small-apartment ideas of the 20th century, declares Jeneva Aaron, blogger and founder of the home-decor website TheHouseWire. Many come with a built-in charging station and extra-large storage drawers. “If you live in a small studio, these can be your saving grace,” she says. “Many Murphy beds even come with shelves on the side, which gives you a dedicated place for books, remotes, and anything else you want to keep by your bedside.”

Chic Shoe Storage Is a Clever Small-Apartment Idea

The end of your bed can often be a no man’s land of zero furnishings. But a tufted storage bench perched right there can be the perfect place to stash shoes, Salles says. “In a small apartment, closets tend to be on the small side too,” she says. “And when your shoes are strewn all over your closet floor, that clutter will make you crazy.”

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Double Duty Desks Will Work Overtime

Taking their inspiration from Murphy beds, fold-down desks are perfect for small spaces because of their versatility. “A fold-down desk is an ideal place to work during the day,” Aaron says. “And when you’re not using it to work, you can use it as a kitchen table if you don’t have space for one.” Best of all: Many fold-down desks have shelves inside, too, which can be great places to store extras office supplies, or even dishes.

Fortify Your Foyer With Vertical Storage

entryway show storage

Tricking out a small entry with a stylish storage wall can pay off big. (Esi Asbemenu @esidaisy)

Just because we walk through a foyer doesn’t mean it can’t be functional — and fabulous, too. Just ask Esi Agbemenu, a lawyer in New York City who repurposed her entryway into a shoe wall. “A lot of double-duty functionality in a small space isn’t necessarily looking at two pieces in one, but thinking about how I can make the space work for me,” she says. “When I moved into my 400-square-foot apartment, I noticed that my little foyer was prime real estate.” So she set out to create a curated look. “The goal was to create a walk-in-closet or boutique-store vibe, on a budget,” she says. Her wall features shoes of different colors, plus purses and stylish shopping bags. “I wanted to create the aesthetic of a well-organized store display but also give people a sense of my style.”

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Consider a Coffee Table With Bonus Space

coffee table with built-in shelf

A coffee table with a handy lower shelf creates bonus storage space. (Esi Asbemenu @esidaisy)

If you insist upon finding room for a proper coffee table, we can’t blame you — there’s nothing like having a place to put your feet up after a long day. A coffee table can be one of the most important decor pieces in your living room, so be sure to find one with some sort of drawer space or shelving. “I try to find opportunities for storage everywhere,” says Agbemenu. “Having a bottom shelf in my coffee table was very important to me. That’s where I keep my blankets, and art that isn’t on the walls.”

“Another popular small-apartment idea is a coffee table with a lift-top mechanism,” says Alexa Battista, a style expert at Wayfair.  “This easily transforms into a versatile surface, eliminating the need to create a dedicated work station.”

An Expanding Table Is a Smart Small-Apartment Idea

Any piece of furniture that can grow or shrink depending on what you need at the moment is a perfect option for small-space dwellers. “A table that expands is one of my favorite pieces of furniture. It can be used as a console table or desk by day and then converted to a dining room table that seats lots of people by night,” says Brian Garcia, owner of D&G Interiors + Design, a design firm in Hoboken, New Jersey. “You can also use it as a sofa table or room divider.”

Make More Room With Extra Shelves

create vertical storage with shelves

Resource Furniture built this custom shelving system around a tricky column for a NYC client. (Elizabeth Dooley, Dooley Images)

Shelving is the ultimate space extender, and hanging shelves high up on a wall or covering an entire wall can provide additional storage without being too much of an eyesore. “For example, if your ceilings are high enough, consider adding a shelf above a doorway or high up in your closet,” Draddy says. “These are good places to store seasonal items or bulky things like luggage.” 

Wrangle Unsightly Cords With the Right TV Stand

It may sound counterintuitive to consider purchasing a wall unit for your living room, since it’s yet another piece of furniture to make space for. Still, design experts say that a piece like this can help hide tangled cords and keep living room clutter to a minimum. “Entertainment centers with cabinets and drawers are ideal places to conceal electronics, stash gadgets, and store everything from board games to books,” Battista says. 

Create More Closet Space With a Storage Bed

For extra storage in your bedroom, look to your bed. For instance, a platform bed with trundle storage drawers is one way to optimize space and offers a convenient place to store clothing or linens, Battista says. If you don’t want to invest in a new bed frame, consider buying storage boxes that easily roll under the bed while keeping seasonal clothing out of sight.

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