How to Decorate Even the Smallest Apartments

As an architecture student with a healthy Pinterest addiction, I have learned quite a bit about different spaces. During your college years, and for some time after, you will most likely be living in a small apartment. It is really easy for small spaces to feel grim and uninspiring, especially if there is a lack of windows. Thankfully, there are a lot of things you can do to dress up your small space without spending $2,000 at West Elm or begging your landlord to paint the walls. Here are some easy ways to add some spice to your space:

Use window treatments that are the same color as your walls

Bulky curtains that don’t match the wall color will chop up the wall and make it feel smaller. Matching curtains will allow the wall to be a cohesive and continuous element to the room. Using sheer curtains or shades will let sunlight come into the room and make it feel not only larger, but the natural sunlight will also have a positive effect on your mood and energy.

Decorate with a neutral color palette

Lighter and softer colors will open up the space as well as give it a tranquil feeling. Go for neutral-colored and light wood furniture if possible. Add color back in with pillows, throws, books, plants or framed wall prints and photos.

Utilize wall space

Having loads of books, picture frames and knick-knacks on all of your surfaces will make the space feel cramped and messy. Try creating a gallery wall. There are lots of ways to hang prints and pictures without putting nails in the wall. Try command hooks and frames or make geometric frames with washi tape which easily peels off. Instead of a clunky set of drawers, opt for open shelving with storage boxes. Have fun styling the shelves with books, boxes, plants, and mementos such as things you’ve collected on trips. If you are able, putting up floating shelves is a great way to add storage above your desk, and in your bathroom.

Less is more

A common misconception is that small rooms need small pieces. In the words of Dwight K. Shrute: FALSE! Choosing a larger sectional instead of a couch and two chairs will leave more open space and the larger piece will fit nicely, allowing the space to seem larger. One large bookshelf feels a lot less cluttered than two smaller ones. When choosing tables or desks, look for ones without backboards or thick legs. Having a line of sight through the furniture creates more openness within the space. The same goes for couches, beds and chairs. Try to select pieces that are elevated from the floor with legs, and that have open room underneath.    

Windows and mirrors are your best friend

Mirrors can create a lot of depth in a space. Choose a part of the room, maybe a window or doorway, and angle the mirrors towards it. Mirrors also reflect light which will brighten your space. Please, do not ever cover up your windows. The only exception is if there is someone always peeping on you. Otherwise, leave those beautiful babies uncovered. Windows allow the room to expand beyond its four walls. Depending on your view, you can feel the serenity of nature, or the see the night sky in the lights of the city. Windows bring in light, breeze, and depth that you need to take advantage of. In my tiny dorm, I opened my blinds on move in day and have never once closed them. It makes a huge difference in the feel of the space.

I hope that these tips gave you some insight on how to decorate your small space. If you are still looking for more inspiration, Pinterest is an amazing place to look. Good luck and happy decorating!

Photo Credit: cover, 1, 2