How To Make Your Small Apartment Feel Bigger

September 4, 2014

True story: the dorms on the campus of my alma mater were designed by a prison architect, and they felt like it too. In fact, they were so microscopic that both you and your roommate could be lying in bed and still be able to reach out and hold hands! Things didn’t improve much post-college when I shared a postage stamp-sized apartment with my now husband that didn’t even have room for a door on the bathroom (bonus: you could shave your legs, brush your teeth and cook dinner all at the same time!). Whether it’s college dorms or studio apartments, living in small spaces is the reality for many of us. Luckily, there are many tips and tricks out there to help make your living quarters feel a little less cramped and give you room to breathe. In this post, I’ll share my ideas on how to make your small apartment feel bigger.

How To Make Your Small Apartment Feel Bigger

Keep colors light and airy to give the illusion of space

Choose light colors: Dark colors on the walls and floor will make a small room feel even smaller, while brighter tones reflect more light and trick the eye into thinking there’s more space. Incorporate bold, dramatic shades strategically as pops of color and keep the majority of the space open with light, airy tones.

Use mirrors: Strategic placement of mirrors is another easy way to bring in more light and make the space feel bigger. Position a mirror across from a window to bring maximum light into the room. Or, place a large mirror behind a heavy item of furniture like a couch to give the illusion of more space behind it.

Opt for clear furniture: Glass or lucite furniture may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they can be great pieces to incorporate into rooms that feel cramped with furniture. Instead of a heavy, dark wood coffee table, one made of glass can disappear into the room and lessen visual clutter.

Reduce clutter: In a small apartment, space is at a premium. Keep the rooms feeling cleaner and more open by ditching unnecessary tchochkes and knick knacks. A good rule of thumb from style expert Sabrina Soto is the “cantaloupe rule,” which states that any decorative items smaller than a cantaloupe will clutter a room.

Think vertical: Make use of space by thinking up rather than out. Install bookshelves that reach floor to ceiling for vertical storage. If you’re on a budget, put up floating shelves to make use of the wall space.

Invest in multipurpose furniture: Create more space by buying furniture that can do double duty as a storage container. For example, an ottoman like this one can serve as both a stylish bench and a place to hide away shoes, blankets, or bedding.

Utilize dead space: Maximize your space by taking advantage of all the hidden areas that get ignored, like the corners of rooms, underneath furniture and the backs of doors. For instance, hang pot lids on the backs of cupboard doors instead of shoving them into a drawer, or place slim containers underneath the bed for extra storage that stays out of sight.

Dumplings, what are your tips and tricks for making a small apartment feel more spacious?

Also see: How to DeClutter Your Life

How to Survive a Long Haul Flight

Green House: How to Build an Indoor Garden

Related: 6 Ways Good Design Can Make You Feel Happier

  Photo credit: Design Collector via Flickr

Sarah is a freelance writer based out of Portland, Oregon. Her top three passions in life include her family, her husband, Geoff, and her pug, Rupert. She also enjoys spending her time volunteering, traveling, and experimenting with new recipes. Follow her on Pinterest.


always stay inspired!