In the heart of the urban jungle, space is a fiercely contested commodity.

In England and Wales the average square metre of property costs £2,395, but that rises to more than £3,000 in Bristol, almost £4,000 in Winchester, and nearly £5,000 in Brighton. In Kensington, London, one square metre of floor space sets you back an average of £19,439. Small wonder many of the nation’s city-dwellers must squeeze every drop of use out of nook, corner and cranny.

Space-saving hacks for small homes

So, if you’re struggling with a shoe-box apartment, fit more for hobbit than human, here are a few hacks to help make your paltry pad feel positively palatial…

Think vertically

how to use your wall space
Now that is how to use your wall space (Ikea/PA)

Just as blocks of flats economise by stretching skywards, so too can almost any aspect of your interior.

Bunks are a good bedroom option: Not the sort with your sibling sleeping below, but a single raised bunk that leaves space beneath for a sofa or work station. Consider a drying rack elevated above the sink, rather than using up valuable space next to it, or a set of bathroom shelves that prop neatly atop the cistern.

If you’re not averse to more major adjustments, install a slim slide-out storage tower by your cupboard or refrigerator. A sort of vertical draw with up to five levels, these beauties are perfect for cans, jars or cereal boxes, and can easily contain the contents of a small pantry.

Use your walls wisely: Mounted TVs are nothing new, but cups, racks, hooks and boxes can be fixed to almost any surface cheaply and without professional help. For those in the advanced class, check out MADE’s Esme fold-out, wall-mounted desk (£149, – a retractable table that flips up into the wall, cunningly masquerading as a small cupboard.

Furniture efficiency

However many ornaments you erect, and whatever colour your wallpaper, it is still the furniture – the big, bulky must-haves like beds and tables – that will define how a room’s space operates.

Consider two main tactics: Reducing the size of a piece of furniture, and making one piece of furniture perform multiple and different tasks.

Ikea Utaker Stackable Bed
The many faces of Ikea’s Utaker Stackable Bed – and the world’s easiest game of spot the difference (Ikea/PA)

The sofa-bed is a space-saving staple, but sleek modern models are taking its transformative powers to new heights. The Utaker Stackable Bed (£150, consists of two separate mattresses, fusing to form a single bed, double bed, twin beds, a single sofa, or a long reclining couch.

Ikea’s Granboda table set
Sneaky does it (Ikea/PA)

Coffee tables, counters, and cupboards can all come complete with extra pullouts, and for next-level extendability check out Ikea’s Granboda table set (£50, The Russian doll of Swedish furniture, moving the top table reveals a second surface slotted underneath, and a third beneath that.

Corners are your friends

Corners are notoriously tricky, and, assuming you’re not living in a lighthouse, each room probably has three or four of them. The good news is that, naughty children aside, no-one is going to want to stand in the corner, so it’s effectively free space.

Though angular and faintly awkward to install, you can cover your corners with specially designed wraparound corner shelves (again, Ikea is a good bet). Conventionally visual items like televisions and floor lamps can fit well, or try out a so-called ‘corner-armchair’ or right-angle settee.

Store smart

Under-the-bed storage is a time honoured space-saver, and with good reason. Pull-out draws allow you to stow items still in daily use, while rubber ‘bed risers’ will hoist your mattress further from the ground, making room for another seven inches of stuff. Fill these with vacuum storage bags (available from Amazon), making your space-saving strategy almost literally airtight.

Your aim should be to maximise what is already there. Instead of a traditional coffee table, could you instead put your drinks down on an elegant, varnished oak storage chest, or use the edge of your desk as a makeshift bedside table?

Under bed storage
Beneath you bed is free space – use it wisely (Thinkstock/PA)

It may seem luddite, but small spaces seem larger if there’s less in them, and if all else fails, you can conduct a controlled purge. Adopting an ‘if in doubt, chuck it out’ approach for even one short tidy-up will massively reduce clutter, even if it does mean parting with that four-sizes-too-large, bright turquoise t-shirt you occasionally wear as a pyjama top.

The spacious aesthetic

Now that your home is feeling little more spacious, you can set about making it look even more so.

A light, textured colour scheme lends any room an airy, open feel (just think how claustrophobic black paint feels), while mirrors help build the illusion of depth. Stripes can elongate a room the same way they do a person (we recommend a rug; wallpaper might be overkill), and opt for a clear shower curtain to avoid visual foreshortening.

What a large living room - hang on a second
What a large living room – hang on a second (Thinkstock/PA)

Canny decorators follow the apocryphal-sounding but actually-very-accurate ‘cantaloupe rule’: When sprucing up a small space, use only ornaments larger than a cantaloupe melon, to sidestep the clutter that can so easily ruin a tiny room.

The designer mini-home

If your bank account is bigger than your living space, YO! Home (the same company that brought you YO! Sushi) now offer a range of boutique mini-homes in which all your domestic needs emerge seamlessly from walls, floor and ceiling.

Your dining table pops up disconcertingly from below (set down into the floor; the floor itself takes the place of seats), and cupboards are replaced by giant underfloor storage hatches that would feel right at home in a smuggler’s den.

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Pretty nifty I’m sure you’ll agree, but the party piece is a luxurious double bed which descends silently from the ceiling (yes from the ceiling, do not adjust your set), and comes to rest atop a square of sofas that, during daylight hours, passes for a lounge.

It’s high-end stuff, but for making the absolute most of the space available these integrated builds are just the ticket.

Best-selling underbed storage

Stuck for inspiration? Check out our list of best-selling Amazon products!

Bestseller No. 1
YearningHome 3Pack,90L UnderBed Storage Bags Solutions Organizer with Zips and Clear Window for...
  • [Large Capacity—Store Everything You Want]: Each underbed storage bag is 90L, 100x50x18cm(39.4x19.7x7.1inch). It’s big enough to store quilts, sheets, linens, comforters, blankets, pillows,...
  • [Premium Material—Stronger Than Non-Woven Fabrics]: Each underbed storage bag is made of high-quality burlap with PE which is stronger and more durable than non-woven fabrics and it has excellent...
  • [Handle Reinforcement—Will Not Break Off During Use]: We found the storage bag's handle falling off is a big problem so we tightened the stitching on the handle. Our storage bag’s handle is...
Bestseller No. 2
Premium Underbed Storage Bag 600D (2-Pack) Clothes Storage Boxes with Zips, Storage Bags for...
  • SPACE SAVER -- A set of 2 ultra-compact under bed organisers, 107 x 45.7 x 15.5 cm. flat, slim, and rectangularly shaped, these bags are an excellent solution for tight spaces. Slide bags under any...
  • STORE & PROTECT -- The perfect solution for storing linens, clothes, shoes, and toys. Organisers open wide enough to accommodate lots of heavy household stuff, then closes securely to protect the...
  • EASILY ACCESSIBLE -- 2 Handgrips on the side of the bag allow for easy carrying and retrieval. Just slide under any bed and pull out when desired.
Bestseller No. 3
DIMJ 2 Pack Underbed Storage Bag, Large Clothes Storage Bag With Removable Dividers board, Under bed...
  • 👔【Compartment Design & Multiusage】: Two different storage bags for different purpose. The clothes storage bag has 4 detachable thick cardboards for create 0-5 compartment space, allows you to...
  • 👖【Large Capacity & Handle Design】: Underbed storage bag with compartment measures 95 x 33 x 16 cm, another bag measures 100 x 40 x 16 cm, big but different bags meet your numerous storage...
  • 🧤【Visible Window Design】: With transparent window on the side for easy viewing, you can find the item you need quickly. Save your time, just look inside items of storage bags through the window...
Bestseller No. 4
DIMJ 3 Pack Underbed Storage Bags, Large Clothes Storage Organizer With Clear Window and Reinforced...
  • 👔【Large Capacity Underbed Storage Bags】: DIMJ 3 pack underbed storage bags including two big underbed storage bags measures 100 x 40 x 16 cm, and one medium clothes storage bag measures 53.5 x...
  • 👗【Two-Size & Multiuse】: Our underbed clothes boxes set have two different size bags allows you to allocate and store items better, the medium size clothes storage bag ideal for store clothes,...
  • 👖【Large Visible Window】: Three clothes storage bag all designed with large transparent window for easy viewing, bigger window give you a clearer view. You can find the item your need quickly,...
Bestseller No. 5
5 x CrazyGadget® 32L 32 Litre Large Underbed Plastic Storage Clear Box Strong Stackable Container -...
  • Set of 5, Choose the lid's colour from same colour or combo mix, Large plastic storage boxes with clear base, Made in U.K.
  • The box is made from 100% food grade polypropylene and the lid clips firmly on to the box.
  • It is ideal for storing household and office items.

Last update on 2021-03-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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