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Must-Have Furniture for a Small Apartment

When you find yourself walking into your sofa or shuffling past your bed, it’s time to rethink your furniture. Investing in some new, functional pieces for your small apartment can do wonders for the appearance of your interior and your overall mood. Look at it this way, you can’t change the apartment, so the best way to create more space is to get smart with your furniture choices.

Doll's house furniture including a table and dresser
Find furniture that works for your small apartment

The great thing about furnishing your apartment is that you’re in control of your budget and what you need to create the space you want. So, whether you’ve just moved into a small apartment or you’re thinking of saving on rent by cutting back on square footage, the following guide can help you pick the best styles of furniture to make it work.

Let’s start by looking at what is considered a small apartment and how new furniture can improve your space, your comfort, and your life.

An infographic about furniture for a small apartment
The Best Furniture for a Small Apartment - Infographic

How Small is a Small Apartment?

Today’s apartments are getting smaller which means that we need to know how we can live smarter. There’s nothing wrong with a tiny apartment and with a few practical changes in the design and layout of furniture, it can become a cozy and comfortable space.

Small apartments are considered 500 square feet or less. Some micro-apartments are around 300 square feet, so you’ll really need to know how to work with each room to create practical living areas. If you have a small rental and you’re having trouble getting organized, create space, or flow then it’s time to rethink your furniture and its placement.

What Can Furniture Do to Improve Your Living Quarters?

The reason for rethinking your furniture in a small space is because certain styles of décor can create a cramped apartment. Smaller apartments can become cluttered quickly. When you place large items of furniture into a room that is already narrow or lacks square footage, simple things like moving around the apartment without bumping into the sofa or table or having the pieces you enjoy inside your home can be achieved when you pick functional items that are designed for a small house or apartment.

Young couple sitting next to cardboard boxes
Think outside the box when you live in a small space

The Best Styles of Furniture for a Small Apartment

If you need more space or you need more storage in your apartment, we look at the top styles of furniture for the small apartment.

1. The Living Room

Your living room is where you relax and entertain your guests so if you can barely move around, it makes the room feel cramped and unpleasant. It also prevents you from adding items such as a coffee table, dresser for storage, or accessories because you just don’t have enough floor space.

Because the sofa is a staple in the living room, there are certain styles that you should consider for smaller areas. Sofas that work best in a tiny living room have thin or visible legs, slim arms, and a low back. Legs lift the sofa off the floor making it feel like a free-flowing space compared to the chunkier flat bases. It also makes the living room easier to clean because you won’t have to move a heavy sofa to clean under it.

Orange lace pattern sofa with legs
An example of a sofa with legs

Convertible sofas are popular choices for one-bedroom apartments because it offers guests a place to sleep without having to turn your home upside down!

Another quick tip for choosing your sofa is to pick a neutral shade of fabric. Patterned sofas will draw your eye straight to it every time you enter the room which makes the area feel congested. For more tips and styles of sofas, you can visit our Guide to Choosing a Sofa for Your Small Apartment.

Coffee Tables

A pine coffee table with a cup of coffee on the table top
Light wood shades and tapered legs are best for a coffee table

Coffee tables are great additions to living rooms but when you don’t have enough space, should you skip these items completely? The good news is that even the tiniest apartments can have a coffee table, you just need to be creative with the style.

If you have a really small space and you can’t get a coffee table to work, consider a sofa with flat top arms that are broad enough to allow you to place a coaster and rest your glass safely on top of it. Alternatively, you can use a sidetable to place next to a sofa for your morning coffee or extras.

If you have enough floor space in the living room, choose glass tabletops or light wood and pine materials. You could also incorporate contemporary coffee tables that are designed with metal frames or vertical shapes. Try to keep the color selection neutral because it makes a room lighter and brighter.

marble top coffee table with wooden legs
Light table tops and slim legs work best as a coffee table for a small space


An ottoman can serve as a coffee table, an extra seat, and it offers storage. It comes in different sizes, fabrics, and shapes so you’re sure to find one to suit your living space.

Table Floor Lamp with Tray

Sofa, coffee table, and floor lamp in an apartment
The perfect combination of small apartment furniture

Combining luxury with practicality, the table floor lamp with tray is a slim design and the perfect addition to a small room in need of some extra light.

2. The Bedroom

The bedroom is your private room and should be functional so you can avoid stress and simply relax. Even in a small bedroom, the organization can become tricky, and your furniture can make it feel even more cramped and difficult to move around in.

When you have a tiny bedroom, you want some floor space, a fair amount of storage, and clutter-free conditions. To create a spacious feeling, you want to start with your bed. It is better to either remove the headboard or to go with something plain and simple that is also not oversized or too broad. Large and impressive headboards are certainly a luxury but for smaller rooms, it takes over and leaves the room feeling tiny.

Bed on wheels
A bed on wheels could work too!

Pick your bedframe very carefully. Something like a sleigh bed looks great but it’s not a good idea for little rooms especially if you have side tables and dressers that you want to add.

Another tip is to keep the bed quite low if possible. Tall legs on a bed frame with a thick mattress to add height creates a cramped feeling. You could get away with it if your apartment has very high ceilings but if not, rather give it a miss.

If You Have Space for a Dining Room, Here’s What You Can Do

Dining rooms are not common in small apartments but in most cases, you can use a nook or unused space in the kitchen or living room to make a little dining area.

A small round dining table and two bucket seat chairs in a charcoal fabric
Keep your dining area modern and spacious with the right choice of table and chairs

A round dining table with a light top or a glass surface is best for a tight or narrow space. Glass is always a winner in tiny apartments because it creates less bulk and improves clarity. Avoid tables with thick wooden legs that will add unwanted bulk and consider metal or slender frames. The same goes for the framework of the chairs. Slim and open designs including mesh or clear plastic chairs are light, breezy, and simply perfect.

3. The Kitchen and Bathroom

The kitchen and bathroom are areas in the apartment that are most difficult to improve with furniture. If these are rooms that are important in your home, it is better to look for apartments with the space that you need. Pieces that work well in small spaces include a bathroom shelf organizer. It’s similar to the ladder shelf or wall bookcase but can be positioned over the toilet and against the wall. It also has a plastic coating to protect against moisture damage. You can also have a look at our guide on Increasing Storage in Your Small Apartment for more inspirational, space-saving, and affordable design solutions.

The Following Types of Functional Furniture are the Most Popular for Small Spaces

Wall Bookcase/Ladder Bookshelf

Great for the bedroom, living room, or bathroom, the wall-mounted bookcase is a versatile and functional item of furniture that is all about saving space, vertically! It doesn’t require any wall fixtures so it’s the perfect choice for a small apartment.

A bamboo ladder
Why not make wall shelves from upcycling a ladder?

Room Dividers

A small space such as a studio open often has one large living area making it difficult to keep the room organized. A room divider is a simple and convenient way to separate spaces. The slatted design also allows light through, so you won’t have to worry about creating dark zones.

Wooden room divider with slatted design
A traditional room divider screen will keep your private areas private!

Tapered Furniture

Any small space can benefit from furniture that has a slim framework and tapered design. Items with tapered legs create a feeling of spaciousness because it doesn’t cut sections off from your view of the room. Making your apartment feel larger is all about lifting furniture off the floor and the best way to achieve this is to purchase pieces that have slimmer tapered legs. Both wood and metal finishes will work but always consider the color. It should be light and neutral rather than dark and heavy.

Modern living room with round dining table and checkered color chairs
Tapered legged furniture are all the rage

Think about how one piece can serve two or more purposes in your space. A bed with feet allows you to place storage baskets or containers underneath it, again removing clutter and creating organization. Alternatively, you can buy a bed frame with drawers allowing you to store goods without them being visible at all!

A raised bed on a wood frame in a contemporary bedroom
Why not use the space under your bed for storage?

Keep the Closet Organized

Closets are an essential part of your home’s organization and storage but there are ways of maximizing space and getting more items off the floor. A hanging closet organizer is a simple way to store your clothes and personal accessories. For shoes, you can use a hanging shoe organizer. It gets more off the floor and reduces clutter but the best part is that it’s made of fabric so you can hang it amongst your clothing, or you can fold it and pack it away when you don’t need it.

Corner Furniture

Corner shelves and desks are perfect for small homes and offices. It’s designed to fit snugly into the corner of a room which means more floor space. Because corners are not always used within rooms, you can add a compatible desk or wall shelf to maximize the area. If you don’t want a permanent item of furniture in your room, you can opt for a desk on wheels. These pieces are fully mobile with enough surface area to create a neat workstation when you need it.

Wooden desk and chair with mirror directly above it mounted on the wall
There are many desk styles to fit into a small room

Think About What You Need

Do you need more storage, space, or organization? Thinking about ways you can make your apartment more functional can help you decide on the pieces you should invest in.

For small apartments always think of light colors, tapered legs on desks, tables, and chairs, and ways to introduce storage. Closet organizers are cheap and effective but you could also use the space under your bed to get your belongings off the floor and out of sight.

Invest in pieces such as a good sofa and a sturdy dresser with a vertical design to help create an illusion of spaciousness. With so many options for a space-saving interior, you can easily transform the look and feel of your small apartment into an incredible home.

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