Moving into a new place is equal parts exciting and stressful. You get to decide for yourself where to put everything and how to decorate, but at the same time you HAVE to decide for yourself where to put everything and how to decorate. For smaller spaces like apartments, the options are even more limited than with a full-sized house. However, there are plenty of good interior design approaches that will help make apartment living not only tolerable, but enjoyable! Ron Nathan Interiors is a great resource! Here are ten tips to help get you started.

1. Creative Lighting

Most apartments will have their own sources of lighting, but sometimes these sources are pale or inadequate. This is where creative ideas like uniquely structured lamps and garland lights come in. Novelty lamps, different base colors, movable bulb stems to create a custom lighting layout, and even personalized lighting from higher-end retailers make great options for turning a dimly lit front room into the relaxing sitting space of your dreams.

2. Furniture as Space Dividers

Many affordable apartments also come with the unfortunate side effect of being incredibly small, especially if more than one person is living there. However, there are ways to effectively divide up the space without making it feel too crowded. Instead of bringing in furniture AND space dividers, why not use the furniture itself as space dividers? The living room can be the same basic space as the dining room, but with the proper arrangement, they can easily seem like two different rooms entirely.

3. Clear Furniture and Accessories

While the color and material of an item won’t actually make it take up less space, color and transparency can absolutely trick the eye. For example, clear furniture made of glass, acrylic, or another durable material can trick the brain into thinking the item is taking up less space than it actually is. Even if the material is visible but transparent, the very fact of it being transparent makes it seem like it is smaller than it actually is. This is true even for accessories like lamps and items involving drawers, as there is enough clear material to still make it seem uncluttered even considering mechanisms and electrical wiring.

4. Utilize Vertical Space

Storage space is needed, and not all apartments will have sufficient room. One way to combat this without cluttering up the rest of the apartment is to utilize vertical space, such as installing shelving that is either very tall or can be adjusted. Bookshelves can be very inexpensive and there is no real rule that says they absolutely must be used for books only. Figurine collections, plants, and more can be stored vertically, clearing off floor space and as a result, making the overall space seem larger.

5. Keep as Much off the Floor as Possible

Utilizing floor space means ensuring that the floor has plenty of space. What this means is, the more items there are sitting directly on the floor the more cluttered the space looks. Having furniture elevated not only makes cleaning much easier, it creates extra storage space underneath the furniture if needed. Couches and chairs with legs, beds on frames, and even elevated vertical shelving create a sense that the space is larger than it actually is and can make a small apartment feel much less like a cell.

6. Mirrored Vertical Surfaces

Have you ever noticed that the larger a mirror is, the bigger the room feels? This is another trick of the eye, but it is an effective one that can amplify available space and bring even more light into the room. If an entire wall is mirrored, it may even make the room seem twice its actual size. However, some people genuinely feel uncomfortable having themselves reflected back at all times, so installing a curtain or some other sort of barrier that can be drawn back and pulled down as needed is a good additional step to take.

7. Rugs

Even if carpet is already installed, rugs help break up the monotony of the same flooring type throughout the entire apartment or a large area. As with using furniture as a barrier between “rooms,” using rugs to break up the different spaces within an apartment. There are simple designs such as rugs of a solid color, but there are also options that can fit every sense of style and design. Rugs are a good investment because they are fairly easy to clean, even with a steamer, and they come in a wide range of sizes and designs.

8. Folding and Collapsible Items

One of the most useful types of furniture for limited space is that which collapses or folds and becomes smaller. While beds that are built into the wall are an excellent example, simpler additions such as folding tables and multi-use items are useful as well. Some tables can fold into a bench and a smaller table, and futons and certain couches can be adjusted into beds for the smallest of studios.

9. Curtains on More than Windows

In addition to being used as a backup should a mirrored wall become too much mirror, curtains can be used as general room barriers and even as decorations hung on walls or furniture. Matching the curtains on the windows to the couch, the curtains acting as room dividers, or artfully hanging curtains on the wall can create a unified and classy look when the colors and designs are coordinated.

10. Bright, Light Colors

While it can be tempting to paint one’s home in favorite colors, even if those colors are dark, bright colors and even white or yellow can make the difference between home being a sad, lonely place and home being a place of refuge and happiness. As with matching curtains and wall decorations, coordinating the color of the decor with the color of the walls contributes to the overall put-together look of the place.

Whatever your design tastes, it is surprisingly simple to find a design scheme that works for you!