When decorating a small apartment we face many dilemmas: practicality or looks? Minimalism or coziness? If you are not sure how to arrange your four walls to make them functional, comfortable, and first and foremost “yours”, keep on reading our smart handbook.
A small apartment doubtlessly has its advantages – less space means lower expenses, less space to furnish, arrange, and clean. Easier access to attractions and facilities offered by the city also works in favor of a better location at the cost of (often) a smaller space. Regardless of the space, your apartment needs to be functional and multi-purposed: it is where you will relax, prepare food, work, study, and host guests. Pay attention to all aspects – from practicality, through comfort, all the way to attractive looks. With a little help from our handbook, you’ll tackle this challenge like an experienced interior designer.
1. Arrange Independent Zones
Even if your apartment is limited to one small room, remember to divide it into various zones. Don’t give up on a sofa which makes up a living room and allows you to conveniently seat your guests. Separate the kitchenette with a table and a few chairs. This will provide for a small dining area as well as the sense of fluid transition between “rooms”.
Even a small table and two chairs will provide for a small dining area.
Do you happen to work at home sometimes? Be sure to have a free-standing desk and a comfortable chair! Even a small desktop, when dedicated solely to work, will give you the possibility to mentally separate duties from leisure. We’re fully aware that a bedroom is often an unattainable luxury in a small flat, but maybe it has enough room for a wooden mezzanine? All it needs is a comfy mattress and the space below can be assigned to be a small home office or a cozy corner. Make sure to accent the entrance – separate it with a bookcase or a coat closet to give a sense of a separate hall.
A mezzanine is a clever idea for the independent sleeping area. Below you can arrange a small desk.
2. Use Special Purpose Furniture
Arranging a small space, your ally will be multipurpose furniture. Besides comfort, the sofa must be easily convertible – it turns into a bed every night after all. It should have bedding storage. The comforter and pillows take up a lot of room and they must be quickly out of sight in the morning.
An express arrangement change can be obtained by means of wheeled tables (you can move them fast) or nesting tables – they do not take up too much space.
Rather than armchairs, invest in ottoman, best on wheels as well and with extra storage (never too much). In a small bathroom, use the space above the toilet – the color of the medicine cabinet should match the fittings, and it will be inconspicuous.
To rearrange your space easily, wheeled or nesting tables will be the best.
3. Personalize and Change
In a small apartment, every centimeter is precious. When setting out to decorate, consider a wardrobe according to your needs. Remember it has to store not only your clothes and shoes, but also a vacuum cleaner, an ironing board, suitcases, etc. You don’t need to have it custom-made. More and more furniture stores are offering customizable solutions and you adjust them to your needs. It’s a much more economical, quicker, and still highly functional approach.
Careful planning refers also to the kitchenette where every centimeter is important. Dedicate available space to have more worktop surface with a small fridge integrated under it. How about a two-burner stove? It will suffice to cook dinner and you will gain an additional 30 cm of counter space. Consider a small integrated dishwasher – it is not only convenient, but also a clever way of keeping all the dirty dishes out of sight.
In this tiny kitchen, there is enough space for a two-burner stove and an integrated fridge.
4. Let in Some Light…
Bright interiors seem optically larger, so expose the light to the maximum. Start with the windows – don’t cover them with dark curtains. Paint the window recesses white so that they reflect the sunlight. Choose light colors for the walls – classic white or your favorite pale shades. If your tiny windowless bathroom is covered with dark tiles – repaint them! You can find many good quality paints for this purpose these days.
Make friends with mirrors. Nicely framed, they will decorate the space like stylish paintings and their role in optical enlargement of the room is invaluable. Not only do they reflect light, but they also create an illusion of multiplying the space. For cabinet fronts – especially the large ones – choose bright and glossy colors which will additionally reflect the light.
Mirrors reflect light and enlarge a small room.
5. …and Use it to Build Atmosphere
Light has power! Used skilfully it will not only optically enlarge the apartment but also “close-in” any intricately arranged space and build its unique atmosphere. This function is especially important when you share your space with another person.
Lighting can build a unique atmosphere.
Task lighting over the kitchen countertop will illuminate the workspace and allow you to prepare a snack without turning on the main lights. A strong spotlight at your desk will enable you to work even when the other person would like to go to sleep. A warm floor lamp will be good for relaxing on the sofa, and the dining space will be well accented by a light hanging directly over the table. A fast arrangement change can be achieved with mobile floor lamps, and for reading you can use small clip-on lights which you can attach to the shelf over your sofa.
Task lighting is essential to accent the working or resting area.
6. Be Creative
Although furniture manufacturers are more and more inventive, you don’t have to restrict yourself only to the solutions they offer. Put your thinking cap on and try to use what you already have. The window sill can be arranged as a bookshelf or (if wide enough) covered with cushions and turned into a small “settee”, when unexpected visitors arrive.
A bookcase can be used as a partition “wall”. Instead of a classic coffee table, put a comfy ottoman near the sofa and when coffee is served, cover it with a butler’s tray.
Smart partition “wall” can have multiple uses.
7. Play with Illusions
You’ve already learned that light, mirrors, and bright colors can work miracles. There are more tricks at your disposal though. High ceilings give a sense of space. If you don’t live in an old apartment house, you can optically “lift” the ceiling. Hang a curtain rod as high as possible and hang long curtains all the way to the floor. Use vertical forms such as pictures in lengthwise frames and vertically oriented mirrors.
Baseboards should match the color of the walls which lets you add a few centimeters to the room. Choose openwork furniture that seems lighter and doesn’t block the light. Make sure that sofas, wardrobes, and bookcases have small legs. The thinner they are, the lighter the final effect.
An openwork furniture gives the feeling of lightness.
8. Pay Attention to Details
Has your apartment been renovated, decorated, and furnished? Still, you can change it with a few simple procedures and relatively cheaply. When selecting decorative accessories, focus on large forms rather than knick-knacks for shelves to avoid unnecessary clutter.
Cover your dark sofa with a bright throw, change heavy curtains into light, see-through ones. Decorate empty walls with your favorite posters – interesting details will not only create atmosphere, but also drive attention away from the small space. Add some potted plants. Green and lush accents are a breath of fresh air anytime.
A unique character of your flat can be achieved by details – pillows, blankets, posters.
9. Tidy Up
It may be a cliché, but a clean orderly space makes it easier to breathe and think. In a small studio apartment, you can’t close the bedroom door or toss a pile of unnecessary things into the other room. Done regularly, cleaning should not take much time.
Have seasonal reviews – get rid of unnecessary things, go through your clothes, and put away what is out of season. Your unrivaled allies will be storage vacuum bags.
Custom-made wardrobe will help you to keep everything in the order.
10. Make Yourself at Home
Don’t give up on the final appearance of your apartment and don’t look for functional solutions at any cost. After all, your place should respond to your needs. Think what makes you happy – do you prefer to cook and have a larger fridge or is an additional shoe rack of more use to you?
Introduce your favorite color in the form of easily-changeable accessories – pillows, bedding, a tablecloth or a blanket. Expose what is important to you – may be books or your favorite travel photos? Remember moderation and follow your own style.
Be true to your style and don’t be afraid to introduce your favorite colors.