(PS they have also used chalkboard paint in an AMAZING way)
Well, not technically ALL your problems, but this is a very creative way to open up space in a small-ish apartment. I remember seeing a dorm room when I was about 12 years old and the girls had suspended their beds from the ceiling which made so much extra room in the tiny dorm! It's always stuck with me, since it is still the only dorm I've ever seen where they actually implemented that solution. I am surprised the beds actually stayed up (considering the shoddy carpentry jobs I've seen in some dorms) but apparently they never had any problems. This is the more grown up version, and I love how much light the apartment gets too - all the light coloring really helps open up the space and create a neutral yet pleasant atmosphere.