2006_10_ask_smspace.jpgI just moved into my first apartment all to myself. It's really small (like 250 sq. ft), but I'd still like it to look nice. What are some tips for cool design without breaking the bank?

We feel your pain, but congratulations on your first place! Living alone can be great - you can express your personal style without compromise. However, it will also mean you'll be footing the bill for your creativity on your own. Some people will say that you should get rid of as much 'stuff' as possible. We are not of that school of thought though. Although it makes things simpler, your apartment should be a representation of you and the things you love.

So. Where on earth are you going to put your stuff, and make it look good??
We have found that in a small space, it helps to utilize vertical height. Put shelves a foot from the ceiling and store things that you don't need to access frequently. Shelves can be made out of everything, we have found numerous uses for empty wine crates hung on the wall. There is a store called Tiny Living that is worth checking out, for many space saving solutions. There is also The Container Store, although personally, we have found that we can find similar things for much cheaper at Ikea or 99 cent stores. (With Ikea it's a matter of transporting items though) New York Magazine gives some tips for common problems found in New York apartments, such as a complete lack of closets.

Try lofting your bed up for some additional square footage. If you don't want to feel like you are back in grade school in bunk beds, you can purchase bed lifts or use cinder blocks for a foot or more of extra storage space. A note on the cinder blocks - when hauling them up 3 flights of stairs, after one block, they get very, very heavy. Consider yourself warned.

We love to check out Apartment Therapy to drool over all the clever and beautiful design solutions there. Last, but not least, there is Ready Made magazine which has lots of DIY projects, and they just came out with their small space issue.

What small space solution are you most proud of?