Unlike new single-family homes, which are the second biggest in the nation, apartments in LA are far from generous in size — in fact, new apartments built in 2019 in the city had an average size of approx. 800 square feet, having shrunken by 40 square feet since 2010. In other words, LA apartment dwellers must get creative when it comes to organizing their homes, and the growing working-from-home trend has only increased the need for living space.
Multifunctional spaces have now become a necessity as we try to squeeze in as many activities as we can inside our quarters, whether working, studying, exercising or relaxing. That’s a tall order for sure, so here are some easy-to-apply, inexpensive ideas for organizing your apartment and embracing multi-functional design:
1. Start with a thorough sorting-out
The first step for re-thinking and re-organizing your interior is a thorough sorting of your possessions. Multifunctional spaces can only work if you also tame the clutter in your home. Divide your stuff into categories: to keep, to sell, to donate, to recycle or to throw away.
Self storage is a good solution for the items that you don’t use daily but you still need and want to keep: seasonal items, sports equipment, baby stuff you are saving for the future, collectibles, books and so on. A 10×10 self storage unit in Los Angeles rents for about $187 per month, according to Yardi Matrix.
2. Get a double duty coffee-table for working comfortably from your sofa
Now that the space is decluttered, it’s time to populate it smartly, so it can perform multiple functions. Many employees are now working from home, a trend that looks like it’s here to stay even after the pandemic is over. Finding the extra space for a home office setup is challenging for everyone — all the more so for people living in tiny LA apartments.
A double-duty coffee table with an adjustable top that converts it into a desk means you’ll be able to work comfortably from your sofa, armchair or any regular chair you have around, without having to purchase a separate piece of furniture for this purpose. Once the workday is over, you simply slide back the detachable top and keep using it as a regular coffee table.
3. Define your personal space using room dividers
Two adults each doing their own job in the same room can be distracting for both, but you can create the semblance of individual offices by using room dividers. A somewhat enclosed space, with no distractions, helps people focus on their work. Get room dividers with shelves, thus adding extra storage space to your work setup.
4. An ottoman brings extra style and extra storage to the living room
Ottomans are very useful in a small living room — you can use them to comfortably stretch your legs, as extra seating when needed and even in lieu of a coffee table, if you don’t have space for one. Get an ottoman that includes storage — it’s the ideal spot to keep your extra blankets and pillows.
5. Add a drop leaf console table to your kitchen
This adaptable piece of furniture takes up very little space but extends to a full-size dinner table when needed. If you want to enjoy nice family dinners once with enough elbow space for everyone, but you don’t want your entire kitchen to be occupied by a large table, it’s the perfect compromise. This type of table has two pliable tabletops and a narrow middle console — while not in use, you can simply put it by a wall. You also have the option of extending just one of the sides, so you can use it in three different ways — as console, half or fully extended.
6. Loft beds are not just for kids
Loft beds are great space savers — and contrary to popular opinion, they’re not just for kids. You can find perfectly good loft beds for adults — even queen sized ones. Of course, the practicality of loft beds depends on the height of your bedroom. However, most apartments have ceilings high enough to allow for one. The advantage is that you can set up a desk or an exercising area underneath, making the most of your bedroom. If your roommates or your family are always in your way when you’re trying to work or relax, and you don’t want to spend the entire day in your bed, a loft bed is a viable solution for you.
7. Nesting tables bring extra function to your living room
A set of three nesting tables in your living room takes very little floor space but can provide plenty of functionality. Even if you already have a coffee table, you might occasionally feel the need for an extra side table next to the sofa. Or maybe your kids want to do some coloring or a puzzle. In all these situations, nesting tables would prove very useful.
8. A wall-mounted foldable desk when floor space is just not enough
Getting a regular desk is sometimes out of the question because there simply isn’t floor space for one. However, there’s always wall space, and you can get a foldable, wall-mounted desk. There’s a huge variety of models out there, so shop around and pick the one that suits your needs. You can find wall-mounted desks that include shelves on top and on the sides.
9. A baker’s rack acts as storage and food prep area
A sturdy baker’s rack will seriously expand the food prepping area in your kitchen while also adding some extra storage. You can also use it as a one-person table in kitchens that are too small for a regular sized one. Pair it with a small stool and you have one compact piece of furniture that allows you to store your cooking gear, prepare the food and eat on it.
10. Expand lounging space with sleeper chairs
A sleeper chair is a great addition to a small apartment. If your living room can only fit a small sofa, you could instead pick one or two sleeper chairs that are way more comfortable. You can unfold them in the evenings to watch TV comfortably, or you can use them when you have overnight guests.