Design, Quick tips | 3 min read

5 ways to ensure apartment living doesn’t mean cramped living

Peter Navin
Peter Navin

If you’ve lived in a house your entire life, it’s natural to worry that downsizing to an apartment will mean enduring a cramped space that doesn’t let you live your lifestyle to the fullest. But the truth is that switching to apartment living doesn’t have to mean compromising your lifestyle or your space at all. The trick is simply knowing what to look for.

To help ensure your apartment living experience is all about spacious living, we’ve put together these top 5 tips for finding an apartment that will enhance your lifestyle.

1. Look up

Many old apartments feel cramped because of one simple feature: their ceiling height.

These apartments may offer all the space you need, with generous-sized rooms and plenty of storage, but thanks to their low ceilings, you can’t help feeling like you need to stoop every time you walk through the door.

Look for apartments with higher than average ceiling heights. Generally newer complexes will feature higher than average ceilings. Off-the-plan apartments is another option, just be sure to check with the developer on ceiling heights. Higher than average ceilings will offer a feeling of spaciousness that will make you feel like you have room to move.

High ceilings over a better overall sense of space and can make smaller spaces feel more open

2. Look out

An apartment won’t offer you a backyard, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your own outdoor living space.

An apartment without any outdoor space can feel cramped because you’re basically trapped indoors – even if the indoors is expansive. That’s why it pays to look out and choose an apartment with a large, easily-furnishable balcony with glass sliding doors and windows that will give you connection to your living areas.

By blurring the line between inside and out, large glass doors and windows create a feeling of spaciousness. And the ability to entertain outside your home with comfortable seating and tables on your balcony will make you feel anything but cramped!

A balcony doesn’t have to be massive to add value, but it needs to be large enough to fit some furniture, otherwise it will never be used

3. Look for storage

Apartments with pokey wardrobes and pantries are the thing of nightmares for anyone “downsizing” from a house to an apartment.

Unfortunately, many apartments come with very little storage space, meaning you need to add cupboards and shelves throughout. But while this gives you additional storage, it can create a cluttered feel of too much furniture.

Thankfully, any apartment worth its salt will not compromise when it comes to storage. Only choose an apartment that gives you either built-in or walk-in wardrobes, a large or butler’s pantry, linen storage and clever built-in storage throughout. With more than enough space for everything you need, you’ll thank yourself every day for refusing to settle for less!

A clever use of hidden storage in kitchens and under stairs are things to look for, as well as laundries separate to bathrooms and additional linen storage

4. Look for “house features”

Another reason many apartments are cramped – or feel that way – is due to a poor layout or use of space available.

Many apartments are smaller than houses. But they don’t have to feel that way. Look for an apartment that incorporates typical house features rather than typical apartment features. We’ve already established you want an apartment with built-in wardrobes and a generous pantry. However, you can take your search for house features a step further and only choose open plan apartments with separate laundries and other house-style features.

Because they’re not intersected with unnecessary walls, open plan designs actually give you more space, while a separate laundry (rather than a laundry built into your bathroom) ensures neither your laundry nor bathroom are cramped.

Apartment living 101: Find clever ways to make use of the space you have

5. Look for space

After everything we’ve said so far, it’s still important to acknowledge one final thing: many apartments look and feel cramped because they are cramped.

If your apartment is small, then even with all the features we’ve discussed, it will never feel truly spacious. But like every other problem you’ve already learnt to mitigate, there’s a solution for this one too. You simply need to look for an apartment that’s actually bigger.

Above-average sized apartments (especially those with fully-furnishable balconies like we already mentioned) are always going to be your best bet for enjoying spacious apartment living. These apartments should still include high ceilings, large windows, smart storage, and other house-style features. But holding out for extra space is the icing on the cake. And really, who doesn’t like icing?

Open-plan living areas that open out to furnishable balconies give a better feeling of space and are easier to furnish