Decorating Tips for Furnishing Small Apartments

Just because your home is pint-sized doesn't mean you have to live with pint-sized home decor. Try these tricks of the trade on for size, and you'll find your small apartment has never looked bigger.

  • just beachy green blue living room

    Go Curvy

    Because most apartments are box-like, it's fun to add some curves. Libby Langdon, a small-space consultant on HGTV's Small Space, Big Style, sees this trick a lot on the show. She suggests round tables, chairs with a curve and rugs that are either in shapes or adorned with shapes like spirals and dots.

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    Lighten Up With a Rug

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

  • It's Curtains for You

    You don't have to live with those standard-issue apartment Venetian blinds. Add a touch of drama and create a more comfortable feel with curtains, and consider the tricks you can do with curtains to make your space bigger. Hang them outside the window or even where there are no windows. 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 airier and give depth to what is almost always one of the biggest pieces in the apartment. The layered look also equals luxe, and that's a small-space strategy in itself.

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    Get on the Scale

    Unless you're trying to make a statement with a dramatic, overstuffed couch in the room, your small space will probably feel better with moderately sized or even slightly smaller furnishings. It's all about scale. The apartments that actually look bigger with the furniture in them are those where the furnishings fit the space and yourself.

  • See Clearly

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

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    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, ASID.

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    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, a small-space expert from Small Space, Big Style.

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    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.\"

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    Float It

    Designer Jason Landau, owner of Amazing Spaces, LLC in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., 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.

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