Woodworking When You Live in an Apartment

Updated 3/24/2024

While you might not think you can take up woodworking as a hobby if you live in a small apartment, that is not the case.

Don’t get hung up thinking you can only do woodworking if you have a big workshop or large yard space.

While it might not be the most ideal of situations, there are plenty of ways you can take up woodworking, even if all you have workspace-wise is a small apartment or condo.

The most important thing you will need to know is how to get set up with the right tools and equipment. You will also need to plan your space ahead of time.

Take a look at your apartment, and strategize how best to use the space.

While you might need to keep your projects on the small side, you can do quite a bit of woodworking in a small space.

Read on for some tips and tricks that will teach you how to do woodworking when you live in a small apartment!

Tools & Equipment for Apartment Woodworking

The key to selecting your tools is to make sure your tools are all handheld for the most part. You will not have the space for large pieces of equipment to permanently reside in your apartment.

While no two woodworkers will need the same tools, most woodworkers need a few essential pieces in the tool chest.

Here is a look at the tools and equipment you should consider investing in if you are going to be woodworking in a small apartment:

Portable Table Saw

Most woodworkers use this tool. These saws, usually around 10 inches in size, do not take up space on the floor and can be easily stored in a closet when you are finished with your project.

Circular Saw

Most woodworking projects will also need this saw since it is so versatile. It can cut through various sizes and types of wood like plywood, drywall, chipboard, or particleboard.

No matter what kind of wood you are working with, you can make precise cuts with the right circular saw.

They will also not take up much space when stored in a closet. 


This tool is optional, but it might be necessary, depending on what you are building.

Small in size and easy to store, a jigsaw can help you make curved cuts in wood or cut out small stencils or bevels.

Unless your projects demand intricate cuts, a jigsaw is not necessary. However, if they do, then there should be no hesitation in investing in one of these indispensable tools!

Portable Workbench

Investing in a collapsible and portable workbench is key to maximize your workroom setup.

This will not only provide the perfect surface to store all of your tools and materials, but it will also eliminate any risk of damaging more delicate furniture, such as kitchen tables!

Using Small Space Efficiently for Woodworking

Most of these tools would come in handy even if you are woodworking in a larger space, so if you upgrade your living space, you will most likely still use all of these tools.

If you are used to creating masterpieces in a larger workshop, then learning how to work in a more confined space can be challenging.

However, it is essential for you to know how to make the most of your smaller workspace.

One decision to make at this stage is if you want to set up a permanent woodshop space, or if you will be taking everything down and storing it in between using it. If it’s temporary, you might be able to use your kitchen table.

If your woodworking space will be more permanent, you do still have a few options for a workspace in an apartment.

If you are fortunate enough to have a spare bedroom, you can utilize that room for your workshop.

Or, get creative- set up a woodshop outside on a balcony, which would also make the cleanup process much easier!

If you are not building big projects and are going to focus on making small items like a candle holder or paper towel holder, you might be able to set up shop right in the kitchen on your kitchen table.

Soundproofing Your Apartment Woodworking Space

If you will be using a lot of saws and power tools in your apartment, you’ll want to be mindful of your neighbors.

Don’t attempt woodworking projects late at night; instead, make your apartment soundproof.

Fortunately, it’s easy to do some basic noise reduction with a few simple methods:

  1. Purchase soundproofing panels. Any hardware store should sell soundproofing panels that you can hang up on the walls in your apartment that you share with neighbors. These walls should absorb the noise from your power tools and make it so your neighbors won’t hear your saws. 
  2. Install an insulated sheet board. If you buy thick insulation, you can cover all the walls and windows exposed to neighbors. This one here works very well for a contractor friend of mine…

Make sure to soundproof your space before picking up any saw; no one wants to be disturbed by the noise of a power tool, especially early in the morning.

It’s essential that you take this into consideration when woodworking in an apartment complex!

Small Woodworking Projects You Can Do in Your Apartment

Let’s face it…it’s probably not a good idea to build an entire set of cabinets for the laundry room while living in a small apartment.

It is best to keep your projects on the smaller side as long as you are woodworking in your apartment.

Fortunately, there are quite a few small projects you can accomplish while woodworking in a small space, like:

If you are starting a business and want to sell your goods, the good news is, you can sell these in bulk.

Just because you cannot sell bigger items does not mean you cannot profit by selling smaller items in bulk quantities. 

Keep in mind that smaller projects are usually a little easier. Take advantage of your time in your apartment, and perfect your skills with small woodworking projects.

Then, when you move into a house with a big workshop, your skills will be ready to move up a level, and you can easily tackle larger, more complicated woodworking projects. 

Buy ONLY What You Need

While many hobbyists like to store a collection of tools and materials they will need, when you do not have much space to work with, you should only buy materials for the project you will be working on next.

Now is not the time to take advantage of wholesale lumber. Make a list of the specific materials you need for your project, and buy only those.

Some apartment buildings might give you extra storage space in the basement, but buying in bulk is not advisable.

Until you have a home with a large workshop, stick to buying only the materials you need, so you do not need to worry about storing them in a small space.

Large plywood and other materials might also be challenging to get home and into your apartment.

An exception to the “buy only what you need” principle might be if you need to borrow a pickup truck or rely on a friend to help you get your materials into your apartment.

In that case, you should buy as many materials as you can comfortably store since you might not easily get back to the store to get more materials.

Install Laminate Flooring

A section of laminate flooring is perfect for woodworking in an apartment because it’s easy to install and clean up.

Using rubber mats under the wood will keep the wood in place, and makes it simple to pick up and put away when you aren’t using it.

If you do a great deal of cutting when working on projects, the laminate flooring will protect your carpet from the shavings.

Best Ways to Clean Up Your Apartment After Woodworking

You should always wear a dust mask or a respirator when woodworking, especially when working in confined quarters.

The chips and debris can easily cause congestion; if you do it a lot, they can even cause lung problems.

Dust can also ruin carpeting, and you do not want to be in a situation where you must move out of your apartment without returning your security deposit.

Even if you wear a dust mask, you still have to figure out how to clean your apartment and keep the dust away from the rest of your family or roommates.

Portable Dust Collectors & Shop Vacs

Consider investing in an air cleaner, or make your own using furnace filters and a good box fan. A portable dust collector is another investment you might want to consider. 

You can also add a saw hood to some of your power saws, which should confine the sawdust to one location and make it easier to clean up with the shop vac you need to buy.

When you are woodworking, ensure you cover your floor the best you can. If it’s a big project, put some plywood or laminate down on the floor that can collect dust.

Of course, you might be able to get away with just putting a drop cloth down like you would if you are painting. Covering your floor always makes clean up a little bit easier. 

It also might seem like a no-brainer, but keep any doors in your apartment closed while you are woodworking. Consider putting a towel on the floor to block the gap under the door.

You want to keep out all dust from other rooms, as that is less cleanup you will need to do when you are done.

Upgrading to a Larger Workshop

In most cases, people move out of apartments into larger homes, and you might end up with a garage or a dedicated workshop for woodworking.

The nice thing is, if you follow all the instructions on this list, you can easily transition into a larger workshop.

All of the tools will work in a bigger space, and you will not have a ton of excess materials that you need to move.

If you can make woodwork in your apartment, you can easily move into a larger space someday and expand the size and volume of woodworking projects you can work on.

Wrapping it Up

Now you know that it certainly is not hard to enjoy woodworking when you live in an apartment.

Set yourself up with the right tools and equipment, and plan to work on smaller projects while you are in an apartment.

Most importantly, do not forget about safety. Wear a dust mask while you are working, and cover your floors ahead of time to make cleanup easier when you are all finished.

Don’t let your small apartment deter you from woodworking – after following these tips, you should be ready to start woodworking in your apartment today!

DIY Spotlight