Feeling a little too cozy in your apartment? Need to make some breathing room? Here are some ideas on how to live large in your small space.

First, make your home look bigger than it actually is:

• Flood your rooms with natural light. If you have few windows, install blinds that will soften the light rather than block it. Avoid large pieces of furniture that will obstruct light, and make sure to use light paint colors.

• Divide and define: install a large bookcase so that it divides one big room into two. Not only does it better define the space, but it doubles as a storage unit for books, magazines, art etc.

• Hang your pots and pans directly on the kitchen walls. You can either use wall-mounted pot racks, or make your own using a pegboard and hooks.

• Spread UP, not out: hang shelves on the walls as high as eighteen inches below the ceiling in any room needing additional storage.

• Use furniture that doubles as storage space – place a wooden chest or bench at the foot of your bed, and use it to store clothing and blankets. These also work for extra seating!

• Turn an armoire into a miniature home-office. Open the doors and install the computer right inside, using the drawers and shelving for books, files, binders etc.

Make sure to maximize storage space, but minimally. Create “invisible” storage that blends right into your existing furniture with no added bulk:

• Have a window seat? Make the top lift off to create bin storage near windows. Perfect for extra blankets or linens.

• Utilize the space under the staircase. Make custom-fit cabinets, drawers, and pullout drawers that slide out from the staircase, and easily hide back underneath. Also, create slide-out drawers under each stair step. These blend right into the stair risers while holding extra shoes.

• Make drawers for those oversized kitchen items in the barely visible inches between your kitchen cabinets and the floor.

• Exposed beams and rafters in the ceiling make for both a beautiful architectural design, as well as valuable storage space. Place old books and magazines up there for safe, additional shelving.

Finally, put all that old, unused furniture to good use! Repurpose it, organizing the rest of your house in the process:

• Old ladders: dust it off, lean it up against a wall, and use it to hang blankets, linens, or towels for a fun and rustic display.

• Pegboard: hang it above a desk to store office supplies out of the way. These can be painted and decorated to suit a child’s room or your home office.

• Benches: paint and stack three of them together to create a decorative and sturdy shelving unit.

• Curtain rods: use these for hanging spray bottles and cleaning supplies under the kitchen sink, freeing up cabinet space.

• Wooden crates: stack a couple together using screws and “L” brackets from a hardware store. The result is an instant and visually interesting bookcase or storage tower. You can even add castor wheels to the bottom, creating a mobile storage unit or ottoman.

• Dish drying rack: it is the perfect size for storing and organizing file folders. You can paint it to create a stylish yet durable filing system.

• Rake: clean off the head of an old rake, hang it from a nail on the wall, creating a jewelry organizer or coat rack. You can even use it to store wine glasses!