The right design for a small apartment should look good, feel great, and have a unique touch. However, it can be hard enough to fit everything into a small home, let alone find the right home decor and design. So where do you start? Whether you crave a colorful, eclectic space or something modern and chic, you can’t go wrong jumping in with these simple home design tips.
Get Inspired by Similar Spaces
To find what direction you want to take your decor, look for inspiration from other small spaces that you love. While you can certainly look to larger homes for color palettes and design styles, turning to apartments that are similar to yours can help you determine what is truly feasible for the flow and footprint of the space. To find home decor inspiration, you may want to try:
Pinterest – The great thing about Pinterest is that they have inspiration for every home size and style. Plus, you can organize your ideas into boards, which is always handy. Feeling old school? Grab a few home magazines. You won’t only find lots of fab designs in them, but you can also get up-to-date on the latest home design trends.
Your Community – If you live in an apartment building, see what others have done with their spaces. After all, their apartments probably have the same or similar layout as yours. Places like Chicago’s Bush Temple have common areas like a lobby and rooftop lounge where residents mingle and chat about everything from everyday life to home decor. However, if your apartment doesn’t have this type of community, you can often find photos of staged units on your apartment building’s website.
Refinish a Surface or Two
In small apartments, everything makes a big impact, so you should aim to make all elements the best they can be. While you may not be able to rip out any outdated finishing and fixtures, there are some workarounds. Here are a few ideas rent-friendly ideas to try.
Contact Paper – Just because your kitchen came with counters straight from the 80s doesn’t mean that you have to embrace them. All you need is a few rolls of faux marble contact paper, a contact paper countertops tutorial, and a bit of patience. Already have great countertops? This removable paper is also excellent for resurfacing end tables, kitchen table tops, appliances, and small decor with flat surfaces.
Peel and Stick Tiles – Whether you want to cover existing tile or add a backsplash to the kitchen, peel and stick tiles are perfect. These tiles come in a variety of sizes and colors, including classic subway tile. Just be sure to read the package carefully as not all brands are removable.
Sometimes all it takes is a few strategic bursts of color to make your apartment’s decor come together. While a bright accessory or a few throw pillows can certainly do the trick, you may also want to add color with:
Furniture – A couch upholstered in a rich red can look bold and inviting, while a yellow bedside table can give your bedroom a youthful energy. Strategically placed colored furniture can instantly breathe life into any bland room. The key is to keep the rest of the room neutral and sprinkle small pops of the bold accent color throughout. On a tight budget? Try giving a second life to your old furniture with paint.
Plants – Lush green foliage will blend well with almost any color scheme. But for those who are itching for bolder colors, there are more vibrant options. You may want to consider colorful varieties of plants like calatheas, bromeliads, crotons, begonias, coleus, and succulents. A mounted shelf or a plant hanger are good options for those that want plants but are short on floor space.
Make Use of Dead Space
Making the best use of the space you have will highlight your decor and help your apartment feel functional. And this includes finding use for dead space. Dead space is either awkward or doesn’t fit a whole lot and, therefore, is often forgotten. However, it has a multitude of uses.
Behind the Door – Try adding a few hooks to store some clothes, hanging a shoe organization bag to sort your beauty products, or leaning a ladder against the wall to hang blankets. Keep in mind that whatever you stash here will only be visible when the door is shut.
Corners – Decorating empty corners can transform a space. You may want to try adding shelves, making a corner workstation, creating a coffee station, setting up a minibar, or putting a stool with a plant on it.
Under the Bed – Use this floor space to store off-season clothing in totes, your shoe collection, accessories in baskets, or extra bedding and linens in vacuum-sealable bags.
Add Layers with Texture
Layers can make a home feel rich and cozy, but adding too many elements to a small apartment can also make it feel crowded. Therefore, using texture to add layers is a safe and effective method. Incorporating texture will increase visual interest without overwhelming the eye, and there are endless ways to add it, such as:
Secondhand Decor – Thrift a few pieces at your local secondhand store, Furniture Works, the flea market, or the vintage section of Etsy. There is no telling what you will find, plus it may just be the unique touch that your home needs. Pieces that are great to add texture include distressed wood, impasto art, woven blankets, and metal patina.
Removable Wallpaper – For a classic, rustic look, try a removable wallpaper with a heavy texture like faux brick or stone. Or, for a bit of glamor, there is always raised damask. Want something a bit more subtle? Look for varieties with a linen texture.
While there is no one-size fits all decor formula for small apartments, the decorating tips above will put you on the right track. Go with your gut and don’t be afraid to experiment with different layouts. After all, half the fun of creating the perfect small apartment is the journey getting there!
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