Decorating a Small Apartment


Having a small apartment may give you some advantages like lower rent, less area to clean and cozier look – if you know how to properly place furnishings and decorate. However, a lot of people may not enjoy a small space because they think they have no space to be creative with their space. They think everything must be focused on the function to have more space for movement.

This mindset is not true. If you are living in a busy city, chances are you are short on space. But you don’t have to be short on style. There are a lot of decorating strategies and ideas for a small apartment you can try to do on your own.

1. Scale down on furniture

Since you are living in a smaller space, it’s just logical to choose smaller furniture. Even traditionally large upholstered chairs have slimmer versions nowadays, like club chairs and wingback chairs. Go for the sleek and no-fuss tables. Also, cut back on the things you don’t really need. For instance, if you’re living alone, you probably don’t need a dining area, but you might need a desk area. Just pick a desk that will work for you, while you can just dine on the kitchen counter or on the couch in front of the TV.

2. Use dual-purpose furniture

Because of the lack of space, a small apartment most likely needs storage solutions. You can sneak more storage using dual-purpose furniture. Opt for a coffee table with shelves below, a bed with drawers, a bench with bins or shelving underneath, an ottoman with a removable top for storage inside, a couch that can transform into a bed and the like. And because living in small spaces has been a trend nowadays, you can now find transforming furniture solutions on the rise today. One example is Murphy bed, or wall bed, which is a bed that is hinged to the wall vertically at one end, which can transform into a table or a seating place when not in use. Items like these are truly space saving, plus they’re so cool!

3. Get organized with storage

You need to keep unavoidable clutter away from your view to maintain the beauty and livability of your apartment. The best thing to do is to invest in some organizers that would help you tell what is being stored. Use lining shelves with small baskets for an organized look. Buy some small drawers to keep small items like pens, scissors or accessories like necklaces and earrings. You can get crafty with your storage labels for fun!  You may also use different storage materials in the way you need it, like, for instance, shoe hangers with pockets may be used for keeping other things like cleaning products.

4. Embrace vertical storage

In a small apartment, you have to plan the best way to make use of your space, and for your situation, storage is king. Since you may be short on horizontal space, make use of the vertical spaces in your apartment. Make use of the walls on either side of your doorway to make built-in shelving. Use tall, narrow storage systems to get the most storage of a small amount of space. You may get some large shelving systems (for instance, an entertainment center) that reaches your ceilings to seize the wall space or to serve as a room divider. You may also consider using wall space as a hiding place for foldable furniture. There are wall mounted tables, beds and chairs, which you can unfold from the wall when you need them, and this is especially available for transforming furniture.

5. Choose light colors

When decorating a small apartment, you have to think light. Light colors make a room feel bigger and brighter, making your home feel warm and welcoming. Typically, apartments already have light-colored walls (and sometimes you are not allowed to repaint them), so you can just choose softer hues for furnishings, textiles, and accessories. If your apartment’s walls and floors are dark, you may cover these up with self-adhesive wallpaper (if your landlord permits) and area rugs. Try focusing the color palette of your apartment in just three colors: two light shades that would decorate the majority of the space, and one darker accent color to prevent things from being boring.

However, if you want more pop of colors, you can choose one bold shade as the main color your items, and another bold one as an accent. But you should limit this to one part of your apartment only, since adding too many colors on a small space can be visually overwhelming.

6. Maximize spaces

It would be a shame to waste any space in a small apartment, especially if you’re living in a bustling city where rent is at a premium price. Look around and identify any space in your apartment that can serve a useful purpose. An overlooked corner can serve as a spot to squeeze in a cozy accent chair for relaxation and reading, a corner bookshelf for your books and knick-knacks, or corner storage for your bar essentials. A blank wall can cater to floating shelves or any backless shelves for displaying decorations, greenery, and other essentials. The top of your fridge can accommodate a few baskets to hide lesser-used platters.

7. Install floating shelves

Floating shelves offer storage space without the bulky appearance of traditional furniture pieces. The latter looks closed off while floating shelves look so sleek and lightweight because they are simply mounted on the wall. They let the eyes travel through space while still providing the same function and purpose of traditional shelves. These take less space and can be used on any part of your home – the living room, bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. Try incorporating floating design into your apartment and decorate the walls around with paintings or photographs.

Decorating a Small Apartment

8. Layer to create depth

Small spaces usually lack depth since you can easily see everything at one glance. But you can make up depth by layering in your design. Try adding an area rug on top of your dingy carpeting. Layer linens and fabrics of different colors and patterns on your bed and upholstery. For instance, if you have a neutral-colored sofa, you can choose boldly-colored pillows or patterned throws to decorate.

9. Add curvy details

Since most tiny apartments are boxy, add some curves to add visual interest and to prevent your space from being monotonous. Instead of always choosing straight and rectangular items, select some rounded and curved items. You may pick a small round dining table, around bathroom mirror, an oval area rug, a rounded accent chair or ottoman instead of their angled counterparts.

10. Hang a mirror

Put up a mirror opposite a window to let the light bounce around the room. And light, as previously discussed, makes the home look more spacious. The bigger the mirror, the better. And, the more mirrors, the merrier. It’s a very functional accessory (which is also a necessity) you can utilize to visually expand your space.

11. Incorporate metallics into your décor

Like a mirror, shiny metal objects work by brightening up the apartment and by reflecting light around. You can fit in metallics using lamps, light fixtures, picture frames or chair and table legs. But you have to do it tastefully and in moderation. They must only serve as accents, so treat them as such.

12. Make your windows look bigger

An apartment that receives more natural light has the potential to look much bigger. Where does more natural light enter? On big windows. But if your apartment’s windows aren’t big enough, there’s nothing you can do to expand it, but you can fake it. Install curtain rods near the ceiling instead of right above the window frame to make your windows seem taller than it really is. Logically, you have to pick curtains that almost reach the floor for the desired effect to work. Also, if you want to make the windows look wider, you can hang a rod that extends past both the sides of the window panes.

13. Choose curtains

Speaking of windows, you should always opt for curtains rather than blinds. Keep it lightweight to not make too much impact on the windows. It’s better to choose curtains that match or blend the color of your walls to create an unbroken look, thus making the room look a lot larger. Or you may choose curtains with vertical stripes to make your ceiling look higher.

14. Put furniture away from the walls

A common misconception in furniture placement is that it has to be placed closely against the wall to create more space. But this makes the room look too rigid and fixed. Allotting a few inches between the wall and the back of the couch, for instance, can make the living room look more open.