In a rental, built-in cupboards and closet organizing systems are often not available or possible. But these apartment storage ideas show that you can achieve good-looking, polished storage that you can take with you when your lease is up.
It's hard not to gush about how great a chest or cabinet can be. They're a huge storage asset, yet completely versatile. You can put one in your entry as a hall table, in the dining area as a buffet, next to the bed, or even in the bathroom. You can buy chests new from furniture stores, or make over the secondhand ones that are rife at garage sales and thrift stores. They come in all shapes and sizes, so they'll fit a variety of spaces. This vintage chest warms a living room, showing off books and pretty accessories while stowing not-so-attractive cleaning supplies behind cabinet doors.
Runner-up to chests as Most Likely To Succeed in storing your stuff are shelving units. This case of cube-shape cubbies helps visually separate an entry from the living space in a small apartment. The cubes are see-through, so the piece doesn't completely block the space. And it's filled with shapely and colorful objects, as well as office supplies and extra tableware that are hiding in attractive boxes and baskets. Shelves can also pull double-duty organizing books at your bedside or storing towels and hair products in a hallway. The best thing about shelves is how inexpensive they are. There isn't a lot of material cost, and if you're willing to assemble it yourself, you'll get a storage steal at any discount home store.
Tables with open bases create lots of potential for storage. This bedside table has a footstool tucked under it, doubling the surface area for your tablet, a glass of water, and your phone. The footstool also has an open base, so you could even tuck a small basket under it. This same concept applies to coffee tables: Pick one with an open base and fill the space with a stack of decorative boxes that hold craft supplies or throw blankets. You can tuck a variety of tall things under console tables -- umbrellas and rain boots under one that's placed against the wall in an entry, for instance.
Small hooks have a way of solving mighty storage problems. Where will you hang your keys, jacket, and bag when you come in the door? Hang a row of hooks. How will you keep your necklaces from tangling? Hooks are the answer. Don't have much cupboard space in your kitchen? Screw in large hooks for pots and small ones for utensils. They are quick to install and easy to remove when you leave, and if your landlord has a no-holes policy, you can use adhesive hooks for lightweight (less than 5 pounds) objects.