When the time comes to decorate a small apartment, it’s important to make the most of the space that is available. By choosing pieces that are multifunctional or specially designed for small spaces, it is easier than ever to create a room that is functional, comfortable and super stylish. All kinds of products and furnishings are available to help you squeeze every bit of function and utility out of your small apartment.
And, if you own the small apartment and can renovate, there are fixtures and appliances scaled specifically for tighter quarters that will give you all the function of a much bigger kitchen or bathroom. Before you get started, there are a few important things to keep in mind when decorating a small space:
Multiple purposes for Everything
As already noted, the best way to get more function out of your space is to choose pieces that have multiple functions. Don’t choose a regular ottoman. Instead, choose one that includes storage inside. Opt for a Murphy bed system that offers comfortable seating and shelving by day when it’s not in use as a bed. Or, at the very least, choose a bed that has storage built in underneath. These are just a few examples of maximizing your space.
When you start looking upward you can fund all sorts of unused space. Choose taller cabinets or evaluate whether you can install shelving above the doorway in a bedroom or bathroom for more storage. Can you hang a plug-in pendant light from the ceiling so that you don’t need another side table? Rethinking everything in the apartment can help 3with creative solutions.
Keep it Light
A light color palette helps a room feel larger and can keep a small space from feeling claustrophobic or cave-like. Bring in as much natural light as possible by using blinds and/or sheers for daytime privacy. If the apartment is not blessed with ample natural light, then double up on the kinds of lighting that you incorporate.
Declutter and Keep Things Out of Sight
Even if you’ve maxed out the functionality of your small apartment, remember that visual enhancements can go a long way toward making a living space feel roomy and more open. Besides colors and lighting, decluttering is the third main element in enhancing the open feeling. Decluttering goes beyond just picking up stray items: As much as possible, store things in closed containers for a clean visual palette.
Ready for some ideas? Here is a collection of chic pieces that will increase the function of your small space.
You might think that a small space means that you can’t have a double sink but this one from Laufen shows that indeed you can! The ingenious design features a basin with two sides that are attached but separate, each with its own faucet and controls. This takes up far less space than the traditional style of double sinks and includes storage underneath. It also means no arguing about who gets ready first!
For a bathroom that may have different types of space challenges, this design from Hastings combines a pedestal sink with a unique configuration of open cubby shelving and a couple of closed cabinets. The round mirror is perhaps a little smaller than standard, but the backlighting adds to the function and means that no over-mirror light is needed.
Buying a small apartment doesn’t mean that you can’t ever have a fully tricked-out kitchen. Designed by KOMPAKT, this kitchen has everything you want but they are of a smaller scale, made to fit in an urban kitchen with a smaller footprint. It even includes a washer and dryer in the cabinet to the left. There’s even a drawer that is actually slide out table for when you need some extra prep space.
A similarly scaled-down design from AJ Madison is meant for a microloft or other small space. Once again, it includes everything you want, but the individual appliances are scaled down proportionally so that they are a better fit. From the hood to the refrigerator, nothing is sized in a way that overwhelms the space or other elements.
Another way to lighten the visual of the space is to include a piece or two of glass furniture. A glass coffee table with a minimal metal frame is a good bet for a small apartment. Although this one is rather large, there are many more compact designs available that will make a huge difference in the feel of the décor. Pairing the coffee table with a streamlined sofa that has legs instead of one that is bulkier and sits on the floor is another tactic for keeping it visually light.
A glass table like this can have multiple functions in a small space: It can serve as a console, a temporary workspace or even a small dining space. This one has artful elements for a base and an unconventional shape that make it a sculptural addition too. Remember that just because a piece of furniture is sold as a console or a table doesn’t mean that you can’t use it for other purposes. Thinking outside the box can be key to making thee most of your space.
It’s likely that in a small space you won’t have enough seating for when you entertain a small group, so it pays to have some that you can pull out when necessary. Typical folding chairs take up a lot of space and can be difficult to store, but there are designs like this one that can fold flat and stack, or that can be hung up in a closet or on a peg somewhere.
Ferm has a solution for when you just need a small space to eat or work. These small tables are suspended against the wall and can be folded up and out of the way when not needed. These would be great in a studio apartment where you may not have room for a table and chair. It’s also big enough to hold a laptop for those times when you want a small desk space.
Having enough room for all the furniture you need can be one of the biggest challenges when it comes to decorating a small apartment. Any room — big or small — that has too much furniture is no longer functional or stylish. This is why any piece that can serve multiple purposes is a godsend for those who live in small spaces.
Pieces that transform are particularly valuable. This desk from Resource Furniture is a wonderful example. Although it looks like a standard desk, in just a few minutes it effortlessly telescopes out into a full dining table that can easily seat six people. Why should a massive table swallow up all your available space if you only have guests occasionally? If you don’t need a desk, this can also serve as a console table.
Small apartments also usually mean fewer outlets, which can be an issue for today’s technology-filled lifestyles. Of course, designers are making our home items more useful, hiding USB charging ports in all sorts of furnishings. A number of pieces in this setting from Most Modern include USB ports, such as the knob hanging from the pendant as well as the small occasional table beside the chair. Choosing furniture that has this extra features means that you don’t need to have unsightly power strips all around the room.
Chairs, while necessary for everyday life, can take up a lot of space. In addition to benches and ottomans that can do double duty, new designs are adding extra functionality to traditional shapes. This bar-height stool by Frevent Design looks like a typical piece, but with the flip of a lever, it converts into a regular height chair with a slightly angled back that is comfortable for sitting. It’s extra versatility in a single chair.
Sure, there are chair designs that stack, but now you can have a table that stacks too. Unlike traditional nesting tables that are of different sizes and heights, the Lily Table from Good Thing comes in a single size that can be stacked when you need to free up space. The colorful piece is made of aluminum and is suitable for indoors or out. The cantilevered design makes it easy to pull up alongside a sofa or chair. It’s also the perfect height — 25 inches — to use as a work spot for your tablet or laptop.
Super Functional Storage
This coat rack from Durodeco is perfect for a small apartment because of its streamlined profile and linear orientation.Called the Coat Check, it is made of Alberene soapstone, stainless steel and glass. The steel hooks at the top are 3-D printed. With a modern design, the piece uniquely combines classic and modern materials, particularly the base, which serves as a counterweight. The steel rods are held in position by the glass accessory shelf that spans the full width. It’s a highly functional storage piece that is as much art as it is a useful accessory.
When decorating a small apartment, it’s a good idea to incorporate storage any place you can. This Tam-Tam Hollow side table by Leolux is a great example. The leather-upholstered design is a little futuristic — perfect for a modern space — and it features a removable top for stashing your stuff. The top comes in a variety of lacquer colors and the legs are made from polished aluminum. Furniture that has hidden storage space can be key in helping to keep your space uncluttered and stylish looking.
Another example of stylish storage for a small space are these Buoy handmade floating consoles from Kroft. Designed originally as nightstands, they are chic and useful for many spots when you’re decorating a small apartment. Available as a single unit or a longer double unit, the smaller ones have a drawer or can have fold-down door option. Small and customizable, these can help save valuable space next to the bed, especially when combined with wall lighting. Moreover, these from Kroft use a no VOC oil or an environmentally friendly water-based lacquer.
One of the most obvious places to hide more storage is the bed, and Newell’s model has a versatile style that will work in many styles of decor. Rather than giving up space to a box spring or a regular bed frame, this bed hides a wealth of space for storing bedding, off-season clothing and shoes — anything that needs to be hidden away. It’s a perfect solution for a small apartment that does not have a linen closet or where closet space is at a premium in general.
Even smaller accessories can help move your stuff from tables and countertops to more out-of-the-way places in a stylish way. An artful piece from Offcentre looks like a drape hanging from the wall, but it is actually a piece of hand-blown glass. Nestle your fruit in there or store and display other small items that you want to keep handy. This is really useful when you don’t — or can’t — clutter up the counter with a bowl of fruit!
Compact bathroom fixtures
Long gone are the days when you have to cram standard-size bathroom fixtures into a smaller bathroom space. Manufacturers have tapped into a huge market for scaled-down fixtures perfect for those who are trying to outfit and decorate a small apartment. It’s now possible to find all sorts of compact designs for bathrooms and powder rooms that free up floor space without sacrificing function or style. These two basin styles from Alape are good examples. Both are attached to the wall and have space-saving fixture placement, such as the one on the right that has a corner faucet. The lighted mirrors are also ideal for small spaces because they can eliminate the need for additional over-sink lighting.
This bathroom sink from Vanico is another example of how to make the most of a tight space. The wall mounted vanity piece keeps the floor space open and still includes a storage unity. To its left, a tall, slim storage tower has pull-out sections that are not just functional but super convenient. The arrangement shows how manufacturers are creating designs that cater to an urban population or those who just want to have a smaller living space.
Great lighting can be another challenge in a small space because traditional lamps with big shades can be bulky and eat up a lot of space on tables and desks. Again, designers have created all kinds of options that let you have ambient as well as task lighting with new, flexible and cool designs. This handy Shutter Lamp from Good Thing is super useful because it can sit on a surface or be mounted to the wall, either with a cord or as a hard-wired fixture. The body of the lamp holds LEDs and the round disk on top is adjustable, letting you control how much light comes out and in which direction. The round lid also serves as the on and off switch, meaning less wiring if you choose to install it permanently.
This occasional table and lamp combination from Portugal might remind you of some pieces that were popular decades ago, but this is a very stylish refresh that would be fabulous in a living room or bedroom. The quirky bent arm of the lamp is like a doodle that comes up from the floor and the glossy marble table is very luxurious. This particular table would be great in any style of decor and eliminates the need for a separate lamp, thereby preserving the tabletop space.
The wall-mounted lights that are now available are exceptionally useful when decorating a small apartment because the styles are more varied than just sconces. These long-armed reading lights, for example, are ideal because they take up very little space and provide not just light, but also a good dose of design drama. The swinging arm allows you to move the light to where it is most effective for the task at hand.
Specialty Kitchen Appliances
Just as in the bathroom, the selection of appliances and fixtures for smaller kitchens has expanded exponentially. No longer do you have to sacrifice all the space in a compact kitchen to fit just a few essentials. Popular brands of ovens, refrigerators, washers, dryers — just about everything — come in space-saving dimensions. Moreover, you don’t need to sacrifice all the bells and whistles that are included in larger appliances. The smaller versions often have all the power and benefits that the larger ones do. This range from Superiore is a great example because it includes the latest technologies and improvements.
Many people enjoy living in a smaller space for a variety of reasons and now it’s possible to decorate a small apartment with all the flair and function of a larger one. Designers and manufacturers have embraced the market and have plenty of options for you to create a comfortable and very livable home.