Thanks to the immense popularity of Pinterest and other online crafting sites, it seems like everyone is now crazy about DIYing to work some added style and personality into their homes. Whether your dresser is in dire need of a new coat of paint or you are looking to put some new hairpin legs onto a crate to turn it into a darling new nightstand, there are plenty of great DIY tutorials online that can get your home looking great for much less than what a professional might charge you.
But if you live in an apartment, how do you find the space (or the ventilation) to get these projects done — especially when your project requires the use of heavy-duty tools?
Here are a few ideas on how to make the best use of your small space for all of your DIY endeavors:
Set Aside a Corner
Your apartment may be small, but there has to be at least a corner or two of your bedroom or living area that you can spare to set up a temporary project space. Think about the space right behind your armchair, the one underneath your bar top, or maybe even a spare closet that you can temporarily occupy. Get creative with where you can set up your temporary work station, and preferably set it up right beside a window if you plan on using chemicals or paint.
If you’re a serial DIYer, however, you may want to think about incorporating a work space that you can use on a regular basis into your home so you’ll have all of your tools and supplies all in one place. Store your tools in an out-of-the-way place, such as on a wall-mounted pegboard or inside of a storage ottoman.
Have Any Outdoor Space? Use It
Do you have a patio, or even a hallway in front of your apartment, that you can use to set up shop? Outdoor spaces like these are perfect for painting and projects that requiring drilling (because, yes, the sawdust will get everywhere). Of course, these spaces can only be used when weather permits. Be sure to pay attention to the weather report before you leave your DIY project out in the rain!
Don’t Forget to Be Courteous of Your Neighbors
One of the biggest disadvantages of living in an apartment is that it can feel like you are constantly hearing every little thing your neighbor is doing. So don’t be that neighbor that’s causing all the ruckus.
Always be courteous of your neighbors when taking on a DIY project. Save your noisy drilling or hammering projects for the daylight hours of the weekend so you don’t accidentally disturb any neighbors with children that they’re trying to put to bed or a really intense midterm that they’re trying to prep for.
As long as you’re not drilling day in and day out, it should be fine to complete any other DIY tasks that you want to get done.
Understand That It Might Get (Temporarily) Messy
DIY projects can get messy — especially when you’re right in the middle of one and are still a ways from the finish line. While people who live in a house with a nice, big garage have the luxury of setting aside their project and ignoring the temporary mess, apartment dwellers simply aren’t that lucky.
When you take on a DIY project inside your apartment, you’re just going to have to face the facts: it’s going to get a little messy for a while. But the big advantage you may have is that living with the mess may motivate you to get finished sooner than you would if you had all that space to hide your clutter in.
To help you deal with the mess, try keeping the project contained to one small corner of your apartment, or placing a tarp over it so that you can at least keep it hidden from plain sight.
Ask Your Friend If You Can Borrow Their Garage or Backyard
While you may not have a nice, big backyard that’s set up nicely for the completion of DIY projects, you may have a friend whose house is perfect for it (and more importantly, available). Ask your friend with the backyard, garage, or shed if you can complete your DIY project at their house.
You can bribe them with pizza, brownies, or dinner on you for their trouble, or volunteer to help them with a DIY project that they’re trying to get done for their own home.
If your friend generously grants your request, make sure to not overstay your welcome. They may not mind that you’re setting up and working on a project over the weekend, but they might start to get annoyed if it stretches into weeks or months. Just be mindful of your friend’s space and time, and everything should be fine.