An interior design blog with furniture reviews, interior decorating tips, DIY projects, and home furniture guides.

Posts Tagged ‘decorating small apartments’

From the Design Files of Heather B – Small Apartment Help

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Design Question

Hello! I ran across your post about interior design help from the Interior Design Forum.

I am getting my first apartment in August so I have no idea how to best decorate a small room. Attached is the basic layout of the room I will be living in (unfortunately, that is the only perspective I was able to find) and the picture has been taken from the entryway.

I know the trick to make a small room to appear bigger is light, neutral colors, so I was thinking of maybe painting the whole room as such, or maybe have an accent wall behind my bed frame (the bed will most likely be rotated – vertical rather than horizontal) or the small portion of wall behind the desk.

I am currently a college student so a space promoting “concentration”, edgy but fun, or a mixture with sophistication would be great. I am really open to any ideas/themes you might have, so if it would be no trouble, I would love an input from you. Thanks!

Design Answer

The picture is fine – good enough to give me an idea of your new living space.

You’re right about the tricks to make a small room seem larger: maximize the source of natural light in the room and ensure there is a balance of task and ambient lighting; paint the walls a neutral or light shade; and use mirrors to “move” light around the room. I would choose deeper neutrals or earth tones over lighter shades. You could also go light shades of cool colors such as pale blue or green. Your instinct regarding pairing a neutral color with an accent shade is a good one. If you go that route, though, plan on using a bold or intense warm color (reds, oranges, browns, purples).

Match one or more colors in your bedding, curtains and area rug to the accent color you chose for the wall. If you decide not to use an accent wall color and you stick to neutrals, this will give you the opportunity to bring color into the room when dressing the bed and accessorizing the other parts of the bedroom.

The fact that the room already has mirrors in the form of closet doors is a plus. To get maximum mileage from these mirrored doors, place large framed (larger than the ones currently on the wall) pictures or prints with lots of lighter colors directly opposite. This also will help make the room appear bigger.

To attain an interior design look that mixes edgy and fun with some sophistication, selected contemporary bedroom furniture with clean lines and a smooth, darker finish like espresso, chocolate or cappuccino. Another tip to keep in mind when shopping for bedroom furniture for smaller spaces is to choose furnishings that are dual-purpose, like a platform bed with storage drawers; a bed bench that allows you to store extra bedding or seasonal clothing; or nightstand that can hold magazines or books.

Hope this is helpful in giving you a starting point. Thanks for writing in. Let me know how it turns out.

Come back next Monday when we tackle another interior design question. Keep sending me those emails and don’t forget to include pictures if you can.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Studio Apartment Space Problem

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Design Question

I have recently moved into a studio apartment and I am having some trouble arranging the space to create a sense of privacy. When you walk in, the first thing you see is my bed. I really hate that. I’d like to be able to hide the bed from view. Any suggestions? Thanks a bunch!

Design Answer

From your question, I’m assuming that the bed cannot be moved. If by chance it can, switch it to one of the walls on either side of the door, furthest away from the entrance as possible. If that is not an option, there are some other things that you can do.

The most important thing to keep in mind when “dividing up” a studio apartment is that it retains its functionality and esthetic appeal. In other words, anything you do to create privacy in the space should not:

  • affect traffic flow
  • chop up the space, making it visually unappealing
  • make the space look cramped or feel cluttered

Using a divider is the easiest way to create a sense of privacy in a studio apartment. Room dividers “mark” out and separate the individual areas of a studio living space. They also have the added advantage of being portable – you can simply fold them up and store them away when you wish to open up the area. Some types of portable screens are on wheels.

For something a little more “permanent,” bookcases work well as dividers. If this idea is appealing to you, make sure that the bookcase you select has a finished back – sometimes manufacturers don’t finish that backs of living room furniture pieces that aren’t expected to be seen like entertainment centers, bookcases or other kinds of storage units. However, when using bookcases as room dividers, be careful not to block out any light source. Choose something like the Modloft Pearl Bookcase that has no back and will let some light filter throughout the living space.

I hope this has been helpful. Thanks for writing in. Keep sending me your design questions, and especially if you’re asking for advice regarding wall color, tips on rearranging a specific room etc., include pictures if you can.

From the Design Files of Heather B – Small Apartment, Small Budget

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Design Question

I have recently moved to [this city]. I love my new apartment, but it is small. I know what I love and want. I’m in love with boho & vintage. I’d much rather use what I have or go to second hand stores and find random objects. Right now I’m on the prowl for an old school type writer that works, to leave notes & messages by the entranceway, instead of scribbling on paper or dry erase board!

I just don’t know how to go about it in a not so COSTLY manner. Any advice or suggestions?

Design Answer

I really like your idea for a “message board.” These things are exactly the little touches that make our living spaces unique to us.

Actually, you are well on your way to transforming your living space. You know the style you want (bohemian and/or vintage) and you’re aware of the major limitations or obstacles (available space and money). That’s half the battle.

Bohemian Palette

One of the fastest and cheapest ways to redecorate is to paint. Before you do, though, check your lease agreement or with the apartment building manager to see if can – many places will let you as long as you agree to repaint the apartment in the default color when you leave. Bohemian style will allow you to choose colors (from Behr) that are vibrant. Think red – anything from this color family including orange, brown and purple will give your walls a rich Bohemian patina. These four color suggestions will work well in any room of your apartment, especially the bedroom and even the kitchen.

In terms of furnishings, bohemian or vintage style gives you plenty of creative license, because you don’t have to be too rigid – you can mix furniture pieces together that are essentially different styles. Make a list for each room of the furniture pieces you would like to keep. Maximize the space in each room by choosing furnishings that are multipurpose such as an ottoman that can be used as a footrest, coffee table and additional seating or a platform bed that includes under-bed storage drawers.

Make a second list of specific items you would like to add. Beside each one, write how much you would like to spend. This will help you stay on budget when you go shopping. It will also help clarify what is important to you and what isn’t. This is particularly useful when decorating a small apartment because space is at a premium.

When selecting furniture for a small apartment, think storage. Wherever you can increase your storage options, such as adding a trunk-style coffee table or an end table that has all drawers, it will make your living space more functional. In a small apartment or in small-sized rooms, leaving things out in the open or even clutter in general, is the quickest way to make the room look and feel even smaller.

Take measurements. You don’t want to bring a sofa or a bookcase home that won’t fit. Make sure that you choose in-scale furniture and save those oversized pieces for when you have more room to spare.

Especially when decorating in the bohemian style, which by its very nature can be “busy,” you will want to pay close attention to how you arrange the furniture. Let each piece “breathe.” Make sure that there’s enough room to walk around without bumping into things. The same goes for accessories – select a few choice items and limit the number of pictures in frames. You want your home to be warm and inviting but not cramped or crowded.

Thanks for writing in. Stay tuned next Monday when we tackle another interior design question. Keep sending me those emails and don’t forget to include pictures if you can.

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