Ten Tips from Experts

Some pieces work in apartments, some don’t – find out what the experts are using to decorate apartments - what to bring in, and more importantly,  what to leave out.

1. Loveseats

Larger couches don’t always fit the scale of a smaller apartment living room – use a loveseat instead.  A better choice would be a loveseat with a lower back and no arms that close off much needed space.  Smaller patterns on the upholstery help little rooms look larger as well.

2. Coffee Tables

Coffee tables – Glass topped coffee tables give the illusion of more space, and reflect light.  Skip the wood.  Use a coffee table with legs for a more open look.

3.  Sets

Don’t buy matching sets of furniture for an apartment,  you don’t need all those pieces and they’ll crowd the room and make it look overdone.  There’s no way to fit a matching bedroom suite of furniture comfortably into a small apartment bedroom.  Mix and match piece by piece.

4.  Legs

Use furniture with legs and lots of it.  Block furniture with large bases can block off rooms – the larger the leg, the better.

5.  Lighting

Avoid overhead lighting in smaller rooms – it can leave shadows in areas and break up the room to look smaller. 

6.  Black

Use something black in each room to ground the space.  It’s a basic trick of interior design.  It doesn’t have to be large and stand out, a black framed picture on the wall will do just fine in a smaller room.

7.  Pieces

Fill each room piece by piece – using the largest functional furniture first.  For the living room this will be the loveseat, then additional seating, then the coffee or end table.  Add as necessary, but even more importantly, nix as necessary.  Decorative furniture is nice for normal rooms, but not always practical in apartments.

8.  Windows

Choose window treatments wisely – you need all the natural lighting you can get, but you need privacy as well.  Blinds in a natural material such as bamboo are good simple window treatments for apartments.  Smaller windows in apartments may not be able to handle the fussier window dressings such as valances, panels and tiebacks.  A simple pair of linen panels with a privacy shade may be another option.  To make smaller windows look larger, hang the panels above and beyond the casement or window frame.

9.  Kitchens

Use any extra kitchen wall space to mount open shelving. Use the shelving to display your dishes and make them part of the décor, used the closed cabinets for more functional storage.

10.  Patterns

Mixing and matching patterns can make a room look professionally designed, but in a smaller room, you may not be able to pull it off successfully.  Try mixing and matching textures instead.