10 Decorating Tips for Small Apartments

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The best compliment about my home I've gotten so far is that my home seemed larger everytime the complimenter visited it. This might seem like a weird compliment until you realise that my home is only 40 square meters big :) Luckily I don't need a lot of space, but it does require some inventive decorating -- and restraint. My (first world) problem is that I love things like black walls and big lazy chairs, which makes a room appear smaller. But don't let that stop you if that's what you want of course :) Below are 10 tips for decorating your compact home and making it appear larger than it actually is.

#1 Just white, white, white?
If you have a small home, you'll need as much reflective light in your home as you can possibly get! True, the best (and obvious) way to obtain light is by painting your walls white (or at least a light colour) while using light furniture. But...this doesn't necessarily mean that you can't use any colour on your walls at all. Be creative and paint some colour blocks or diagonals on your walls to add some colour to your home while maintaining its optical size :) 

#2 Think out of the box
My wardrobe where I keep my in-season clothes is actually.. a minimal IKEA Stuva children's wardrobe. I have about 1,5m in straight walls, after that they form a very high triangular ceiling - so a taller one was not an option. And those extra cabinets in my kitchen for potato chips et cetera are actually.. quite fancy fold-out shoe cabinets. I swear: no one has ever noticed. What I mean to say is: dare to be a little inventive and creative when it comes to selecting your furniture. Look beyond the title of the furniture and think of ways to use it in your home.

#3 Closed cabinets
Open cabinets are a great way to display your books and other little treasures. Sure, I also love the Muuto Stacked console cabinet. Unfortunately, when they are filled with a lot of items they tend to look very crowded -- especially if your books aren't all-white. That means you'll see a lot of items fighting for some attention ;) Closed cabinets, preferably white (or even better: with mirror doors!) make your apartment appear that much larger! Added bonus: If you live in a small apartment then you know that your home is messy about five minutes after you cleaned up. Well, behind closed doors your piled up mail is invisible :) Tip: buying cabinets on legs is even better!

#4 Multifunctional furniture
Make sure items in your home have more functions. You could opt for a sofa bed or you could get an ottoman with hidden storage space within. I used to own a fold-out table which comes in very handy when entertaining guests. There's some incredible multifunctional furniture for sale online, like murphy beds that transform into home offices during the day, but these are very, VERY, expensive :( But you might also want to think smaller, like a pizza wheel that also functions as a bottle opener (like the one by Normann Copenhagen) or the Joseph Joseph cutting board system that also houses your knives.. 

#5 Consider getting a high sleeper if your home is really small
If you only have one room in your home (a studio) you'll have to choice but to sleep in your living room. You could get a sofa bed but my own experience is that these are rarely pretty and they tend to get weird bumps and dents within no time ;) I know your first association with high sleepers might be the bunk bed from your childhood that you shared with your little sister -- or perhaps the high sleeper during your college years, but today you can find several beautiful minimalistic loft beds that will increase your living room space and look great at the same time!

#6 Mirrors
This one is a no-brainer; I probably don't have to tell you that a large mirror does wonders in creating a seemingly large space :) And like the white walls it helps to reflect the light.

#7 Room dividers
If you live in a studio apartment and you only have 1 room, you can create the illusion of having several rooms by placing room dividers. But.. this will negate some of the openness of one large room - while it will give you some more privacy and some extra storage space, something you're always in need of when you live compact ;) The trick seems to be to opt for a low room divider like you see in the photo below (where they used Stacked elements) you'll notice that the open feel remains!

#8 Scaled-down furniture
Of course I'd kill to get the beautiful but large Muuto Rest Sofa. But think of the right proportions for your home: you don't want your small living room to be 50% sofa ;) Make sure your furniture is the right size for your apartment. Think about that when buying pieces like a coffee table as well. Opt for two small ones instead of one very large one. I own a very narrow office desk (the Farringdon Laptop Desk) that folds out. It doesn't take up a lot of space, yet I still have all the desk space I need :) IKEA sells a lot of furniture for small apartments, like the very narrow Lillangen sinks for the bathroom, which I recently added to our bathroom to create space. I also own a half size dish washer, which will keep marital disputes to a minimum while also retaining some daily luxury :)

#9 Use the space you have!
This tip might be very obvious, but use the space you have! That includes the space underneath your bed, sofa and stairs, but also that small area between your washing machine/refrigerator and the wall etcetera! There are a lot of options available in terms of roll out storage solutions for under your bed et cetera, make sure to check those out!

#10 Minimal spaces equal minimal living
Another no brainer but this one might be harder to live by. Of course we all love those tiny trinkets: candlesticks, little bowls and what not. But if you want your home to appear larger you might want to refrain from buying too much stuff. This might be an easy concept to grasp but you should actually implement this into your life :) Try to think in terms of timeless eyecatchers like a very beautiful chair or lamp instead of a lot of tiny items fighting for the attention of your eyes :)

Well I hope these tips were useful! 

Photo sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9

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