Small Apartment Decorating

Stumped by your tight rental quarters? Here's how to decorate a small apartment with big style.


Share Purposes

Most rooms in a small apartment serve multiple functions. This room is an office by day and a bedroom by night. Rather than make the office look like a bedroom or the bedroom look like an office, different wall treatments give each area its own distinction. Jaunty gray-and-white stripes climb the office wall, cross the ceiling, and meet a romantic butter yellow next to the bed. The multihue pattern of the Roman shade and red accents sprinkled on both sides of the space pull everything together.

Make a Statement

Small spaces create opportunities for big surprises. Seize a tiny nook and use it for personal expression to signal your design attitude. There's nothing to overlook in this tight entry, for example. A love of eclectic style and bold colors is proudly displayed in this hallway, which features graphic geometric wallpaper, an ornate gold mirror, and a punchy red-painted chair for an in-your-face look. (Consider removable wallpaper, a more rental-friendly option.) This kind of decor statement doesn't have to echo loudly though the entire apartment, but you could repeat whispers of it in a single motif, piece of art, or color in other areas.

Divide into Zones

When you have a vague space with little or no definition, you have to create functions within it. In a small apartment living space, this can be particularly challenging. Start with small-scale pieces, and look for furniture that can serve multiple functions. In this living space, for instance, wing chairs sit at the dining table, or they can be pulled into the lounging area. A footstool also comes to the table as extra seating. The lounging area is anchored by a low credenza that houses the television and electronics. A tall bookcase demarks the dining area. Dividing the two is a stately indoor tree. A once-featureless rectangular area now has two clearly defined purposes, with furniture that can serve both.

Work with White

Many landlords have a no-painting policy. If you're stuck with bland, white walls, embrace the decorating opportunity. Nothing makes a small space feel brighter or airier than white. It's also a clean, uncluttered base for presenting artwork and collections you love. Rather than fight the white in this bedroom, the renter pulled it into her decorating scheme, painting a secondhand chair white and picking a white dresser and bed linens. This let her have fun with the accessories, such as a bright lamp and bold paintings.


Apartment Decorating
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