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Designing an Apartment: Tips and Tricks for Small Space Living

by Rebecca Cullen
10 minutes read
small apartment design
Photo: Instagram


Living in a small apartment can be challenging, but with the right design strategies, you can create a stylish and functional space that feels larger than it actually is. In this article, we will explore some valuable tips and tricks for designing an apartment with limited square footage. Whether you’re a minimalist or someone who loves to maximize storage, these ideas will help you make the most of your small living space.

Maximizing Space: Think Vertical

One of the key principles in designing a small apartment is to think vertically. By utilizing the vertical space, you can effectively expand the storage and create an illusion of height. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Use Tall Bookcases for Storage

Instead of opting for short, wide bookshelves, go for taller ones that reach the ceiling. This will not only provide ample storage for books and decorative items, but also draw the eyes upward, making the room feel more spacious.

2. Install Wall-Mounted Shelves

Wall-mounted shelves are a fantastic way to maximize space while adding a touch of style. These shelves can be used to display plants, photos, or even store small items like spices in the kitchen.

3. Hang Curtains from Ceiling to Floor

To create the illusion of taller windows and higher ceilings, hang your curtains from ceiling to floor. This simple trick adds vertical lines to the room and makes it appear more open and airy.

Embrace Multi-Functional Furniture

In a small apartment, every piece of furniture should serve multiple purposes. By opting for multi-functional furniture, you can save space and make your apartment more versatile. Here are some ideas to consider:

4. Choose a Sofa Bed or Futon

A sofa bed or futon is a perfect addition to any small living room. During the day, it provides comfortable seating, and at night, it can be transformed into a cozy bed for guests.

5. Invest in a Storage Ottoman

A storage ottoman not only serves as a footrest or extra seating, but also provides hidden storage space. You can use it to store blankets, pillows, or even board games, keeping your apartment neat and organized.

6. Opt for a Drop-Leaf Dining Table

If you enjoy hosting dinner parties but lack space for a large dining table, consider a drop-leaf table. This type of table can be expanded or folded down, depending on your needs, making it a practical choice for small apartments.

Light Colors and Mirrors: Expanding the Space

Using light colors and mirrors is a tried and true method for making a small apartment feel larger. These elements reflect light and create an illusion of spaciousness. Let’s explore how you can incorporate them into your design:

7. Paint Walls in Light Shades

When choosing paint colors for your apartment, opt for light shades such as whites, creams, and pastels. Light-colored walls bounce light around the room, making it appear brighter and more open.

8. Hang Mirrors Strategically

Mirrors are a powerful tool in small space design. Place them strategically across from windows to reflect natural light and create the illusion of an additional window. Additionally, mirrors can make a room feel larger by providing a sense of depth.

9. Use Mirrored Furniture

Incorporating mirrored furniture into your apartment’s design is another way to expand the space visually. Mirrored surfaces reflect light and create an airy ambiance. Consider adding a mirrored coffee table or dresser to achieve this effect.

Clever Storage Solutions

Storage is crucial when it comes to small space living. To keep your apartment organized and clutter-free, try these clever storage solutions:

10. Utilize Under-Bed Storage

Make the most of the space under your bed by using storage containers or boxes. This area is often overlooked but can provide ample storage for items like extra linens, out-of-season clothing, or even shoes.

11. Install Floating Shelves

Floating shelves are a fantastic addition to any small apartment. They not only provide extra storage, but also add a decorative element to the walls. Use them to display books, plants, or small decorative items.

12. Invest in Storage Baskets and Boxes

Storage baskets and boxes are versatile storage solutions that can be used in every room. Place them on shelves, under tables, or in closets to keep items organized and out of sight. Choose stylish options that complement your overall design.

Photo: Instagram

Small Space Design Hacks

Designing a small apartment requires creativity and a few tricks up your sleeve. Here are some additional design hacks to make the most of your limited space:

13. Use Foldable Furniture

Foldable furniture, such as folding chairs and collapsible tables, is a game-changer for small spaces. They can be easily tucked away when not in use, freeing up valuable floor space.

14. Opt for Open Shelving in the Kitchen

In a small kitchen, open shelving can be a more practical choice than upper cabinets. It not only creates an open and airy feel, but also allows you to showcase your beautiful dishes and glassware.

15. Create Zones with Area Rugs

Using area rugs is an effective way to define different zones within a small apartment. Use rugs to create distinct spaces for living, dining, and working. This helps to visually separate areas and adds a cozy touch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ 1: How can I make a small apartment feel more spacious?

To make a small apartment feel more spacious, you can use strategies like opting for light colors, using mirrors, and maximizing vertical space. These techniques create an illusion of openness and help the room appear larger than it actually is.

FAQ 2: What are some space-saving furniture ideas for small apartments?

Some space-saving furniture ideas for small apartments include sofa beds, storage ottomans, drop-leaf dining tables, and multi-functional furniture pieces. These items serve dual purposes and help maximize the available space.

FAQ 3: How can I organize a small apartment with limited storage?

Organizing a small apartment with limited storage can be challenging, but not impossible. Utilize under-bed storage, install floating shelves, and invest in storage baskets and boxes. These solutions help declutter and keep your belongings organized.

FAQ 4: Can I incorporate personal style into a small apartment design?

Absolutely! Even in a small space, you can showcase your personal style. Choose furniture and decor that align with your taste, and don’t be afraid to incorporate color and patterns. Just ensure you maintain a sense of balance and avoid overwhelming the space.

FAQ 5: Are there any specific lighting tips for small apartments?

Good lighting is essential for small apartments. In addition to natural light, use a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a well-lit and inviting atmosphere. Consider installing sconces or pendant lights to save table and floor space.

FAQ 6: How can I create privacy in a small studio apartment?

To create privacy in a small studio apartment, you can use room dividers, curtains, or bookcases as partitions. These elements help separate different areas and provide a sense of privacy without compromising on space.


Designing an apartment with limited space requires careful planning and strategic thinking. By incorporating vertical storage solutions, multi-functional furniture, and utilizing light colors and mirrors, you can transform your small apartment into a stylish and functional space. Clever storage solutions and small space design hacks further optimize the available area, allowing you to live comfortably and efficiently. Remember to infuse your personal style into the design, while maintaining a sense of balance and avoiding clutter.

Living in a small apartment doesn’t mean sacrificing style or functionality. With the right tips and tricks, you can create a space that maximizes every square inch and reflects your unique personality. Embrace the challenge of small space living and let your creativity shine!

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We are a team of home decor and interior design enthusiasts who are passionate about making beautiful homes. Our mission is to help you create the living space of your dreams, whatever budget you have. Whether it’s advice on color schemes, furniture layout or decorating trends, we’re here to help! We believe that everyone deserves to have a home they feel proud of and that looks great too.

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