For decades now our abodes have been steadily shrinking, especially in cities where space is sparse and people are prolific. But there are some simple ways to transform a cramped apartment into a liveable home with maximum usable space.
Making the most of every nook and cranny becomes a lot simpler with smart storage. Eliminate clutter with multifunctional furniture featuring hidden storage, store unused items under the bed in lidded tubs and consider curtains to hide open shelving.
UP, UP & AWAY
Forget floors and focus on walls to create more useable space. This could include anything from a vertical garden and floor-to-ceiling shelving to hanging bikes and sports equipment.
For anyone living in a studio apartment, this one’s for you! Section off your home with functional pieces of furniture like bookshelves or modern room dividers for maximum effect. This sectioning will encourage less clutter for a more organised and useful home.
RID CRAP YOU DON’T USE
In other words: declutter, bitches! The less stuff you have the bigger your home will feel, so rid your apartment of that old guitar that has remained silent since high school or toss that dodgy chest of drawers that haven’t opened properly in years. Don’t forget to purge your closet and mindfully dispose of old electronics and chargers.
When decluttering, always apply the ‘one year’ rule. I.e. if you haven’t used or worn an item for more than 12 months, get it out of the house (or sell it online) pronto.
DON’T INDULGE GUESTS
We all want our friends and family to feel comfortable and welcome when they visit, but a spare room, or even a spare bed, isn’t a possibility when you live in a small apartment. Instead, furnish your lounge room with a foldout couch or futon or keep an inflatable mattress stored away for less fussy guests (i.e. mates full of booze who can’t drive home). The same rule applies to the dining table. Choose an extendable style so you can keep things tight when guests have gone home.
TIP: While walls are a great source of extra space, be careful not to overdo it, as cluttered walls will make a room feel smaller and more claustrophobic.
Mirrors are magicians at making small rooms appear larger. Strategically place mirrors opposite windows or create a feature wall of mirrors for full effect. We also love oversized mirrors placed against a wall or at the end of a hallway.
LESS IS MORE
Small apartments and small furniture may seem like a perfect match but the opposite is actually true. Decorating with more compact furniture can lead to a home filled with multiple small items that seemingly take up minimal space while skimping on functionality. A better course of action is to invest in a few large pieces of furniture to open up the space and encourage a more liveable home. For example, a large couch is preferable to three or four smaller sofas.
LEAVE SPACE AROUND FURNITURE
Take a look around your house and count how many pieces of furniture are pushed up against walls. A lot, right? You might be surprised to learn that this is counter-intuitive to creating a liveable small apartment. Both angling furniture and leaving a few inches between furniture and the walls will facilitate the illusion of more room and make your tiny home feel like a palatial castle (not quite, but it will give the apartment a more spacious and roomy ambiance).
A fresh lick of paint can make all the difference when it comes to reinventing a small apartment. Avoid dark colours that will make the space feel smaller and more enclosed. Stick with light, solid hues and add colour with art or photographs mounted on the walls. Another great way to open up a small room is to paint the ceiling in a contrasting – or bright – colour. This will effectively elongate the room and give it depth by drawing the eyes towards the ceiling.
TIP: Consider a monochromatic design scheme for your home to create the illusion of space and depth.
Author: Louise Smithers