Living Small in the Big Apple: Tips for Manhattan’s Micro Apartments

While living space has always been at a premium in Manhattan, the opening of New York City’s first official micro apartment building in mid-2016 takes the concept to a whole new level—and gives all of us some great tips for making the most of our own small places, even if they aren’t officially “micro.”

Located in Kips Bay, Carmel Place features apartments ranging in size from 260 to 360 square feet, which is slightly larger than the average one-car garage at 200 square feet—and roughly half the size of the average Manhattan studio. What do these expensive shoeboxes have that yours doesn’t? The ultimate in professional minimalist design. But you can have it, too, albeit on a slightly more modest scale. Here are some tips for making your NYC studio feel more spacious.

  1. White, light and bright. From windows to wall color, the lighter and brighter you can make your small space, the better. So, pass on that burgundy or dark grey paint chips. Light colors will just make your place feel
  2. Convertible furniture. And this doesn’t just mean install a Murphy bed (although it helps). Look for furniture that can serve more the one purpose: the futon that goes from sofa to bed, the workstation that doubles as dining table, the couch whose cushions lift up to reveal storage underneath, niche shelving and removable partitions.
  3. Shelves, shelves and more shelves. While a Carmel Place micro apartment comes with built-in shelving, you can always add your own shelves and bookcases (floor to ceiling, if you can) to create more places to put your stuff. And they don’t have to be from a Swedish DIY store—searching online for “apartment-size furniture” results in more options.
  4. An eye for organization. There’s no such thing as being too organized when you’re living small. Remember what your mom told you: there’s a place for everything—and everything in its place. Stores that specialize in organization solutions usually have a holder for just about everything and in a variety of sizes, from over-the-door shoe organizers to kitchen tool setups.

While you may not have a professional design team helping you make the most of your NYC micro apartment, a little tough love where your possessions are concerned can go a long way. If you don’t use it, lose it—or at least move it to a secure self storage facility like Gotham Mini Storage. Conveniently located in Midtown Manhattan, Gotham offers a range of storage unit sizes—and a free truck on move-in day—which can make freeing up your living space (no matter how limited) just a little easier.