Decorating your apartment when you don’t have a lot of space or money
As an apartment locator for over a decade, I’ve helped people with most of their problems with rentals. No matter what the financial situation or particular lifestyle requirements are, there is probably something that can be worked out in most cities.
The only really hard problem is interior design. The economics of apartments mean that the walls, fixtures, and flooring tend to be very bland. And obviously those can’t really be changed by the tenants. And the economics of most renters don’t allow them to spend a lot on the things that can be changed. And since apartments are small, they can’t buy a lot even if they had money. It can be very limiting.
Despite that there is still a number of ways you can make some budget friendly choices to maximize the use and appearance of your space you do have.
The most obvious place to start is to ensure you are using the space available very effectively. This requires thinking beyond just square footage. Make sure you go up. Use more than the floor. Floating shelves can hold as many things as a chest of drawers without taking up valuable floor space. You might also consider a loft bed. That’s almost like adding a new bedroom to your current apartment.
Whenever possible, get dual purpose furniture. If you can sit on it and store things on it, you just made your apartment a little bit bigger. Another thing to consider is buying furniture that is on rollers or otherwise easy to move. For items that you can’t do without, but only use sometimes, you can move them out of the way when you don’t need them. Similarly, if you need more open space sometimes, you can simply push them to the side.
Let’s say you done everything you can to maximize the space you have, but it still feels cramped. Good news is there are a number of tricks you can use to make it look and feel like you have even more space. Even designing novices know that hanging mirrors on the wall can make rooms feel larger than they actually are. What many don’t think about is how mirrors can increase the amount of light in the room which can make it feel even larger. If you can help it, hang the mirror opposite a source of light to maximize the enlarging effect.
Curtains can be used a number of different ways to change how your brain interprets the size of your place. Set your curtain rods a few inches above and outside the actual window panes. This will draw the eyes out and make the window seem larger. The color of the curtains can also control how you see a room. Vertical stripes can draw the eye up and down and make the room feel taller. If you wanted to make the walls seem longer you can make the curtains the same color as the wall which will expand your perception of it.
That isn’t the only way color can affect the size of your apartment. By making each room a distinct color, your brains interprets them to be separate spaces. And multiple spaces stuck together seems bigger than just one indistinct blob. You’re probably not allowed to actually paint the walls, but that isn’t the only way to make a room a color. Simply choose furniture, rugs, and other decorations that are the desired color. Together, it can be a powerful effect. So powerful, in fact, it can even make a studio apartment feel like it has distinct rooms as well.
So there you have it. Smart use of color, furniture and decorations can make even the smallest places feel bigger. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
Do you have any other tips for getting more space in an apartment? Please leave them below in the comments.
Author notes: Chris Lloyd has been helping people find new homes in Austin for over 11 years as the owner of Everything Austin Apartments.