Whether you’re a recent college grad or love being in the middle of the action in a big city, apartment living at some point in your life is inevitable. The average one-bedroom apartment is 714 square feet, so space is typically pretty tight, and you’ll likely have to think vertically rather than horizontally to make the most of the area. Here are a few simple tips to give the illusion of more space for apartment living city dwellers.
1. Infuse Some Style, Height and Width with Window Coverings
If you have small windows, you can make them look larger by extending rods beyond the frame and hanging curtains all the way to the floor. This technique creates a focal point where there is none and adds balance to the space. Choose natural fabrics that blend in with your walls’ color palette to make the room appear bigger. You can also hang the curtain rod near the ceiling for floor-length curtains. This trick makes the window appear wider and taller.
If you are seeking a minimalistic look but want to take advantage of natural light, cordless blinds come in an assortment of styles and materials. To allow as much natural light into your space as possible while still protecting your privacy, consider a cordless solar screen roller shade with an optional valance. If you are adding drapes instead of a valance, hang the shades immediately under the rod for the appearance of taller windows.
Most rentals may already have apartment blinds, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with the space. To create the illusion of a larger room while adding some personal flair, make a DIY cornice box for your windows. Since most apartments are painted in a neutral color, you can have fun with your cornice and add a splash of paint for a bold injection of color. Just remember, vertical patterns add height while horizontal patterns add width.
2. Get Creative with Mirrors, Glass and Lucite
Some apartments can feel small and boxy, but you can use mirrors, glass and lucite in strategic ways to make your space feel brighter and bigger.
Try placing a mirror behind a light source like a floor lamp, sconce or even a candle, so the light helps to expand the recesses of the space, creating the perception of a larger room. This also works when you place a mirror opposite a window.
Use mirror-paneled furniture like a sideboard or a contemporary glass coffee table to reflect natural and artificial light around the room. Lucite furniture is another excellent design choice because it takes up less visual space and opens up the area. Mirrored, glass and lucite furniture are on-trend and cut down on bulkiness, so you don’t have to compromise on style or functionality.
Mirrored accent pieces like candlesticks and decorative boxes are another way to reflect light and open up space, especially in a transitional or modern interior.
If you need to make a space more functional, try adding a mirror in front of a window. This works great in a bedroom if you don’t have enough space for a vanity table.
3. Floating Shelves Are a Functional Solution That Add Width and Height
Floating shelves are a versatile way to add storage without taking up floor space. All you need is a little creativity to decorate and declutter your apartment.
Frame your stove with floating shelves to store spices, cookbooks and your fruit bowl. Add floating corner shelves in a kitchen nook to showcase your favorite hand-painted pottery. Or place a shelf near the door as a catch-all for your keys and mail.
A floating shelf above a bathroom door is ideal for storing toilet paper or extra towels or adding a potted plant.
To add some simplicity and space to your living room, place the floating shelves in a geometric pattern for a contemporary twist to display your favorite photographs. If your television is flush against the wall, frame it with floating shelves to add width or place a long floating shelf underneath to add height and store remotes and other electronic devices.
Floating shelves are also a perfect substitution for a nightstand if you don’t have much space. Use double floating shelves next to the bed or a single shelf above the bed, instead of a headboard, to hold your books or use as a device-charging station. This strategy makes the most of your space while allowing your bed to be the focal point.
4. Low-Profile Furniture with Legs and Other Decorating Tricks to Open Up Space
Maximize your room arrangement by scaling the furniture to fit the room. Large pieces take up valuable square footage and make your space look unbalanced. Place your furniture at an angle, so the eye is drawn to the longer wall, creating a sense of depth.
Low profile furniture creates a feeling of openness because there is more space above it. Mid-century pieces are low profile with elongated legs, producing a sense of movement. Bar stools with narrow legs, for example, can make your kitchen nook appear more spacious.
Consider multi-functional furniture pieces like a storage chest or ottoman that doubles as a coffee table, nesting tables, a coffee table that converts to a desk or a sofa bed for guests. Cube sets are another great way to maximize your space because the stools neatly tuck under the table when not in use.
Minimize your bedroom furniture with 2-in-1 pieces like a platform bed with built-in drawers. Use wall sconces for lighting, ditch the throw pillows and streamline your bedding using breezy fabrics like cotton or linen in a monochromatic color scheme. If your bathroom is tiny, use a clear shower curtain.
Choose larger and fewer decor items. Anything smaller than a cantaloupe crowds a room. This also extends to your artwork. Choose one large piece of artwork to fill a wall rather than a gallery of smaller pieces.
Edit Your Space
When you live in a small apartment, you have to be very intentional about everything that goes into your space. The more furniture, possessions, colors and patterns you have in a room, the more cluttered it feels and looks. Keeping your furniture and palette to a minimum creates more movement and a feeling of openness in small spaces without compromising on your comfort and style.