Trying to make a new apartment feel like home can be hard, especially when the space you have to work with is small. It doesn’t help that you generally can’t make permanent changes in a rental. (Find tips on here.) And to top it off, your place might have strange dimensions or awkward features that you have no clue what to do with.
Fortunately, Modsy designers have seen it all and can help you with all of our small apartment woes. Not only do we have some great decorating ideas for rentals, but today we’re also sharing some small apartment design ideas from our home design playbook to help you tackle your space in style.
One thing to note—while most studio apartments are small, not all small apartments are studios. If you’re looking for some studio-specific advice, check out our blog posts on studio apartment design tips and ideas for studio apartment layouts.
Read on for our 8 best design tips for small apartments!
1. Light It Up With Wall Sconces
If you’re looking for small apartment design ideas involving lighting, wall sconces are the way to go. These babies light up your home without wasting valuable floor space or table surface area (unlike a chunkier table lamp).
What’s even better? Many wall sconce options can be plugged into the wall so you don’t have to worry about the whole wiring issue. Some even swivel, giving you extra flexibility with your lighting!
2. Keep Furniture Off the Floor
Similar to how your mom used to say “keep your feet off the sofa,” one of the best apartment design ideas involves keeping your furniture off the floor.
Why? Because nothing makes a small space look even smaller like a bulky sofa plopped right on the floor. Instead, try using leggy furniture that sits high up off the floor to make your space seem larger. Pieces with long tapered legs, like this sofa, are a perfect choice. (Psst! This is also a reason why the Mid-Century Modern trend is so popular in urban cities where homes are a lot smaller.) This is a perfect living room design idea, but it goes for bedrooms as well!
3. Layer a Rug Over Your Carpet
One of the best small apartment design ideas is to cover unattractive flooring with a pretty rug. This works whether you have hardwood, tile, or carpet that’s just not doing it for you.
Not only does a rug add style but it also helps define zones in your layout, which can make your apartment feel more spacious. Plus, rugs are easy to roll up and transport, meaning you can invest knowing you’ll be able to use it in your next place.
4. Divide Your Space With Your Furniture
Many small apartments don’t have separate dining and living rooms (or even separate bedrooms if you’re living the studio life). But you can still create different “zones” using your furniture to divide the space.
Among the best small apartment design ideas is using the back of your sofa to act like a wall that divides one large living/dining room into two separate areas. Another of our favorite small apartment furniture tricks is to use an open-back bookcase or a room divider as a way to create distinct zones within your small apartment!
5. Try an Irregular Rug
Sometimes it’s best to skip a rectangular rug and embrace an asymmetrical, organically shaped option instead. After all, a rug that is clearly too big or too small will just draw attention to the size of your room.
Instead, try an irregularly shaped rug, such as a cowhide, or even a round rug. This will create a sense of flow and fill most of the floor space without drawing attention to the small size of your room.
6. Opt for Clear Furniture
When you can’t make more space, you can always employ some apartment design ideas that make it look like you have more space. The oldest trick in the interior designer’s handbook? Clear furniture!
Opting for pieces made of glass or acrylic is a great way to trick the eye into thinking your space is larger than it is. So skip the bulky wooden coffee table in favor of a glass or acrylic option. It’ll make your space look more open and airy – which in turn will help it feel larger!
7. Prop Up Artwork
Renting an apartment often means you can’t put holes in the walls. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the chance to display beautiful art in your home! Instead, just put the artwork on a dresser or shelf and lean it against the wall.
This is also a great trick to create a slightly more eclectic vibe in your space. Not worried about making holes? Try leaning one piece of art against another hung on the wall for a layered look.
8. Use Your Space Vertically
You may not have a lot of square footage in your apartment, but you can make the absolute most of it by going vertical. That’s why one of our favorite small apartment design ideas is using bookcases in creative ways!
Bookcases make use of your space vertically so you can maximize storage while minimizing use of floor space. Want to take it a step further? Try swapping your nightstand or side table for a bookcase. You could even consider finding a bookcase with a built-in desk option as an easy way to squeeze in a home office to your small apartment! (In fact, that’s one of our favorite tips for small apartment office designs!
If you’re having trouble visualizing these small apartment interior design ideas in your own home, let Modsy help! We use 3D designs to show you how new furniture and decor will look in your exact room, ensuring you don’t waste time or money buying items that won’t fit or look good in your home. We can really help with small space interior design or apartment living room interior design—saving you from buying furniture that won’t fit in your space! Not convinced? Check out our Interior Design 101 page where we answer a bunch of common questions about interior design and Modsy’s services!