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Living in a big city can feel intimidating at times, right? Especially if you’re not from the city, making that move as a transplant and feeling like you have your space within the vastness is important but doesn’t usually happen right away. Everything is moving at such a fast pace and sometimes, you really want and need the space to relax and take it easy that feels like you

Having your own apartment in a big city has even a bigger value in your life than if you lived in a smaller city. Knowing you have your safe space where you enjoy spending time is essential for today’s fast-paced lifestyle. Not to mention that a city can become your home only if you feel comfortable and happy in the home you’ve built for yourself. Having an identity that is clearly yours in a big city is hard. Your space can help reinforce your place physically in the city as well as personally, as you express yourself through it. 

So, what can you do when it comes to decorating your small apartment in a big city? How to make the most of a tiny space to take joy in your solo moments and look forward to all those dinners with your friends in your little piece of heaven?

1. Creating segmented, functional areas:

We know what you must be thinking: “But my apartment is already so small, how can I separate the areas in it?” As much as we also adore open concept living, it often becomes overwhelming to the eye as there is no definition of space. Not to mention that even furniture can look like it’s placed in the wrong areas in the apartment. 

To avoid having a messy home and undefined functionality, you should define separate areas slightly. This doesn’t mean that you should build up walls or separate areas with a big closet, it simply means that each of your areas should have a clear purpose and the pieces in them should serve that purpose.

Make the hall functional and inviting:

City living means packing a lot in. Are you the type to throw your jacket and shoes somewhere in your kitchen or living room and leave it cluttering that space? You want to have practical organization first and away from your entertaining space so it doesn’t become a mess. The entrance is often underused. Use your entrance wall or hallway to get organized as soon as you or someone else comes in. You can have a wall hanger where you will leave your coats and jackets. Below that, you can place that tiny vintage rug you’ve been eyeing in the shop nearby for months and place your shoes there. These two details are more than enough to create a clear space for your hall, even if it’s so tiny there’s barely room for anything else. This way, your living and entertaining spaces are clear for their purpose and don’t become your pseudo coat check. 

Make sure your Living Room is… living

With city spaces, it can be really easy to fall into the concrete jungle aesthetic. But having this space at home and outside all day every day can suck the life out of you, especially if you’re from somewhere less industrial. Bring real life into your living space as a breath of fresh air when you or guests are home. Incorporate natural elements like plant features, natural woods and fibers, and as much natural light as possible for a contrast to your new city life. The busy sidewalks and steel structures may excite you now, but over time, you will greatly appreciate a hint of nature. Everyone needs a Central Park. 

Kitchen 

There is probably no other area in a home where order and separating areas are that vital as in the kitchen. Also, the kitchen is really easy to separate from the rest of your apartment as the majority of appliances and furniture can only be found there. Nevertheless, you should still think about details. What is super fun with small apartments is to just bare it all. Eclectic, open kitchens with unique jars and cook ware is fun way to just say “fuck storage and hiding” and make it a thing.  

Another really cool option if you have an open kitchen plan and your kitchen is a part of your living space is to literally include art in your kitchen: 

2. Please utilize vertical storage 

Besides having a really lovely, artsy and warm home, you should find a way to make it functional as well. You can’t just throw away your clothes because you’ve purchased such a little, fancy closet but most of your clothes don’t fit in it. You will need to think about storage places in your apartment. 

The best way to make use of that limited space is to start thinking vertically. Having tall, narrow storage places will not take a lot of your space and they can also embellish your apartment if you give it a try. For instance, you can place two bookshelves on both sides of your doorway and fill it with books, plants, and other accessories. Wall boxes and eclectic shelves are a nice way to get things off counters and tables. 

3. You don’t have to succumb to rentor’s white walls 

If you think white walls are boring, we hear ya! You don’t have to be a victim of the rentor’s white wall curse. There’s options these days. Temporary, removable wallpaper and wall murals are a really fun way to add color and fill empty space without repainting or putting holes in the wall. There’s so many options from a lot of talented artists and brands that are working hard to save us from limiting rental rules.

Hygge & West has some really cool patterns for a decent price: 

4. Bring in organic shapes 

Most of the smaller apartments are shaped like a box with little variation and unfortunately, if not decorated right, living in them will start to feel as if you’re living inside the actual box. That’s why you need to add organic curves with furniture and décor. 

Furniture with curves will break that monotony you feel every time you enter your apartment. We respond psychologically to curvaceous, organic shapes. They put us at ease and signal tranquility. So, think about purchasing a round dining table or a uniquely curved chair for your living space. Once you’ve purchased your first curvaceous piece of furniture, start building the story around it that fits in with your style and dimensions. 

Bradley’s Carrie – Curved back occasional chair

Tulip Dining Table from World Modern Design

5. Layer to Create the Illusion of Depth 

There are so many visual tricks that can make your small apartment seem not so small. One of them is layering. Creating depth can be achieved as simply as having a rug on your beige carpet that seems too boring for the entire space. You can also do it with other aspects of your home as well, from shelves and shadow boxes on the wall to multiple blankets and throw pillows with varying textures. Anything too matchy makes things look small and cookie cutter. 


However, make sure you don’t go too far. Layering is not about adding one thing on top of another. It’s about creating contrast in your home to make it look more spacious. The last thing you want to do is to add so many things that the apartment seems too messy and even smaller than it actually is! 

Few Extra Tips for Small Apartments:

Clear your floor and have your furniture a bit higher off the ground. It will create the floating concept and you can have additional storage space for your things e.g. underneath the bed or couch. 

Get folding furnishings, such as a desk or a dining table, to have more space when you’re not using them.

If your apartment doesn’t have sufficient natural light, ensure there is a light source in every room.

Place a floor to ceiling mirror on the wall as it also makes space feel bigger. Try to put it in a frame of your preferred style to make it look like a great accessory wherever you decide to place it.

If you don’t want to break from white walls, make sure you incorporate accessories (blankets, throw pillows, lamps, etc) in vivid colors.

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