5 Apartment-Sized Sofas That Are Lifesavers

Make the most of your small space with these apartment-sized sofas and expert tips.

After seeing my own penny-pinching parents trade in their hefty-sized home for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-the-living-room-sized apartment, it’s a given that many of us will be gearing up to live in tighter, more economical spaces at some point. Whether you’re moving into your first apartment, buying your first condo or retiring to a townhouse, you need my help. (If not, then congratulations to you and please send me a check for a third bedroom addition.)

Blue Loveseat in White Contemporary Living Room

Blue Loveseat in White Contemporary Living Room

Many people think modular seating arrangements won’t work in a small space but they can actually take up less room than a sofa and loveseat and provide a place for two people to stretch out comfortably.

©IKEA U.S.

IKEA U.S.

Even after nearly 10 years working on home makeover shows, both behind-the-scenes and in front of the camera, I still break into a sweat every time I see a moving van or delivery truck pull up to a condo or apartment building and out comes a sofa. Why? No matter how much measuring is done beforehand, it’s almost guaranteed that a sofa will not make it into its intended room because of (a) tricky corners to turn, (b) way-too-tight hallways to pass through, or (c) rooms with sharp angles. Keeping in mind that most newer homes have 36 inch wide doorways is definitely a good rule of thumb to go by; however, it’s not the end all/be all for choosing a sofa sure to fit. ENTER the apartment sofa.

When I’m designing or decorating apartments or condos, I usually limit my sofa selection solely to those labeled “apartment size”. This often suggests a width between 68 and 72 inches versus the standard which is 84. Nine times out of ten, these will work. Their scale is more fit for smaller spaces, plus they are easier to lug up and down stairs. If you’ve never before heard of this magical sitting-pretty creation, allow me to introduce you to six superb apartment-sized sofas you can find online or through popular retail stores. And if there’s one thing Mr. Brian taught you about design, it’s to always measure doorway and hallway widths before shopping for sofas, right? Very good then.

Baldwin
Ballard Designs

The rolled-arm, slipcovered Baldwin sofa from Ballard Designs is ideal for the most traditional apartment or condo dweller. Control freaks like me will especially enjoy that it can be made with custom fabrics; this simply involves mailing them the bolt. If you happen to be known for spilling cocktails as much as feelings, keep in mind that its slipcover will be your new best friend.

Vaughn Apartment Sofa
Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel’s Vaughn Apartment Sofa is my personal favorite. Its sleek, modern lines fit perfectly into minimally-decorated spaces. Available in neutral brown and grey tones, the Vaughn is an excellent choice for masculine spaces. So ladies, if your boyfriend opts for the Vaughn, you have creative license to pull out your girl card and pair it with hot pink Jackie O. pop art.

Elton Settee
West Elm

The Elton settee from West Elm is the perfect choice for girly spaces due to its tufted upholstery and dainty frame. Its diminutive stature at only 60 inches wide makes it certain to fit into just about any living room. Those interested in making it a little less of a girl thing will love the slate blue tone of the Marled Microfiber option.

Cielo
CB2

A designer trick for making living rooms seem a bit larger is to stick with armless sofas whenever possible. The Cielo sofa from CB2 is armless, its brushed aluminum legs give it that modern CB2 touch and its back and seat cushions are reversible. What’s not to like?

Klippan
Ikea

The Klippan Loveseat from IKEA is the smallest apartment-sized sofa out there at only 57.5 inches wide. It’s also the most affordable.

Furnishing Small Apartments

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Go Curvy

Because most apartments are boxy, it's fun to add some curves. Designer Libby Langdon suggests round tables, chairs with a curve and rugs that are either shaped or adorned with spirals and dots.

Lighten Up

"A light rug can open up your room and make it feel larger," says Langdon. A bound carpet remnant can work great. If your apartment came with stained or dark wall-to-wall carpeting, cover it up with a rug in a lighter hue.

From: Anjie Cho

Go With Curtains

You don't have to live with those standard-issue apartment blinds. Add a touch of drama with curtains, and consider the tricks you can do with them to make your space appear larger. Hang curtains outside the window or even on bare walls. Hang them floor to ceiling to create height, or have them flow from a cornice that hides the curtain rod.

Layer It

Contrary to what you might think, small spaces don't have to forgo a bed with lots of linens and fabrics. Layers and an elegant mix of colors, prints and pillows can make a space seem airy and give depth to what is likely one of the biggest pieces in the home.

All About Scale

Unless you're trying to make a statement with a dramatic, overstuffed couch, your small space will actually look larger with moderately sized or slightly smaller furnishings. It's all about scale!

See Clearly

Lucite tables or chairs and glass tops all give the impression of openness while still delivering the function you need.

From: Amy Lutz

Sleep On It

An old solution for cramped spaces has come back into style for good reason. Today's Murphy beds pop out of sight and look just as great when they're in use, says designer Dawn Burns-Pratt.

Brighten Things Up

Add light up, down and all around to create interest and the feeling of space. "Lights are the most amazing way of making a home feel warm and welcoming. Using several lamps throughout a space creates a warm glow in the room," says designer Ron Marvin.

Photo By: Jennifer Liseo

Priorities, Priorities

Because small spaces are very limited, you need to figure out your priorities and allocate accordingly, says Marvin. Some people need a desk area, but not a dining area. Some people want a living area and would prefer a bed that folds up. "Make the space work for your needs and don't hold yourself to what is traditional in a home. It's your home."

Float It

Designer Jason Landau loves mounting floating shelves wherever there is space. Because they float, this kind of shelving adds tons of storage but looks sleek and contemporary. And then go crazy with the stacking, he says.

Photo By: Brian Patrick Flynn

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