Decorating an apartment needs to be done with more foresight than you would an entire house. For one, apartment ideas need to include world class storage that is incredibly stylish as they are not likely to be hidden away; Color schemes may need to be space enhancing and work from room to room and throughout the home; and of course you need to make sure that the purpose of each room is carefully defined.
That sounds challenging and it is. However, with expert interior design advice, it is very doable. We’ve collected decorating ideas from a range of industry experts to ensure your home’s design is second to none.
From tricks with lighting to clever ways with storage and display, these home ideas will kick-start your remodel.
1. Think bespoke or modular storage to make the most of space
Built-in ideas are the best way to make the most of every inch of space, but if you’re renting your apartment you may need to look for a more flexible option that you can take with you if you move. Take a leaf out of Neptune’s book when creating a piece that looks tailored or fitting but isn’t.
“We designed Chawton with small spaces and apartment living in mind. It’s an incredibly flexible piece as it’s made up of individual sections that you can combine to make a storage piece as big or as small as you need it to be.
“Tall and thin, floor to ceiling, just a sideboard, even tiered to fit under the sloping ceiling – the possibilities are endless. And because each section is built as an independent piece of furniture, you can easily disassemble them to form separate storage pieces should your needs change in the future,” says Henry Tovey, Principal Furniture Designer at Neptune.
2. Be open, but use the tricks of the design pros
Open living room ideas are tempting in apartments, but you need to use a few tricks to ensure the space feels zoned, purposeful and cozy, while also being streamlined and uncluttered. Not an easy task, but Sarah Vanrenen and Louisa Greville Williams, Directors at Vanrenen GW Designs, offer this know-how about the lofty space above:
“The client wanted the apartment to be cozy and pretty, and to reflect our signature use of color and pattern. By taking out the walls in the main living area, we created a really beautiful, seamless interior that flows from one area to another.
“We also cleverly hid the TV in the bookshelf to the left of the fireplace. There are doors with fake books on the front that hide it very neatly.’
4. Let your space flow by using the same flooring throughout
While you can subtly vary hues or patterns from room to room, add a floor type to your list of home ideas throughout.
“In terms of interior design, apartments work best when they flow visually. Choosing the same flooring will help you no end, especially if you have an open floor plan. Keep the walls a light colour, a nice off-white gives the room an airy feel, and pairing it with wooden floorboards will add warmth,” says Melanie Griffiths, Editor, period life.
However, adding expansive rugs under furniture to unify the color schemes and help define the different spaces is a useful additional design tool to have up your sleeve.
4. Use furniture to zone and define areas
We talked above about zoning spaces in apartments, especially those with larger, open spaces. This works on the one hand with color, on the other hand with furniture. Above you can see how the living space is separated from the kitchen by a sofa supported by a console table.
“When designing a space, making a home feel comfortable is always a priority, as is creating something that feels unique to each individual. Incorporating a mix of patterns, prints and textures creates a space that feels layered and nuanced, allowing key pieces and features of the space to come to the fore.
“This can be particularly effective when curating different spaces within a large open plan living space,” says Katie Lion, senior interior designer at Kitesgrove.
5. Use textures to create a layered look
“Textures are key to making any space work, and in an apartment you can use them to add depth. Remember, you also need to use smooth textures for contrast — like this sectional sofa, which looks fabulous against the exposed brick walls, add the tactile velvet cushions and use of wood, and the space is full of character and style,” says Jennifer Ebert , digital editor, Houses & Gardens
6. Consider the shapes of your furniture
“Since apartments can be on the small side, your furniture style can play a big part in how your space flows; For example, a round dining table will be much friendlier and more space-efficient than a square or rectangular one.
“This dining room designed by Lindye Galloway shows how it works successfully – the table and curved chairs set on a circular coconut fiber rug give a much softer feel. The glass pendant follows this trend too,” says Lucy Searle, Global Editor in Chief, Houses & Gardens.
7. Make a difference by choosing a patterned rug
“Much like dark walls can transform a small space or patterned wallpaper can add interest to an otherwise dull room, a patterned rug is an inspiring way to create a feature in a home by adding interest and character. However, it is important to choose the right patterned rug based on the size of the room,” says Jodie Hatton, Design Manager at Brintons.
Graphic lines here act like checkered floor tiles, tricking the eye into seeing the space longer and wider than it really is.
8. Decide on an overall color scheme
Monochromatic color schemes are incredibly space-enhancing.
“Make the most of high ceilings and beautiful architectural details by painting everything in one shade. It’s contemporary and takes a historic property to the next level of style, so match your drapes to match! The jet black office furniture with gold trim adds a retro touch, and because the designs are sleek, they’re not hard to spot,” says Melanie Griffiths, Editor, period life.
9. If you love antiques, keep the walls neutral
Sometimes the best home ideas are subtle, which can mean painting walls in a muted or soft neutral and letting the shapes, materials and textures of the furniture do the talking.
“You can’t go wrong with a neutral wall as it complements other colors well and creates a clean, versatile background. For this dining room, Mylands’ warm cream shade Clerkenwell™ No. 21 offers the neutrality of a light white that softly balances the soft gray of the Hoxton Grey™ No. 72 woodwork and provides an understated backdrop to enhance the lovely antique and beauty showcase vintage furniture and artwork,” says Dominic Myland, CEO of Mylands.
10. Keep the bathroom design simple
Often apartments can have small bathrooms; To combat limited space, keeping it light, airy and uncluttered, a simple toning down of decor can be transformative.
“We’ve championed a ‘less is more’ approach to design for years and believe it’s a movement that’s going global. Today we move away from short-lived trends and focus on creating unique and timeless places. enduring spaces that reflect ourselves,” say interior designers Raphaël Le Berre and Thomas Vevaud of Le Berre Vevaud.
How to style an apartment
The best way to design an apartment is to focus on:
- Great storagewhich help keep the space clean, streamlined and tidy.
- Pale wall colorsto make the apartment appear light, bright and larger and to let furniture shine.
- Go open but carefully zone spaces with furniture, colors, patterns, and even rugs.
- mirror: Use them on walls near windows to reflect maximum light and make rooms appear larger.
- Enter each room statement piece, but no more than one. This can be a light fixture, a gallery wall, or even a beautiful closet.
- Keep your scheme consistent: Pick a style, look or feel and stick with it.
How do I enlarge my apartment?
There are many ways to make an apartment appear larger, but these are the most effective:
- Stick to one floor covering throughout. If that’s not practical, try to choose flooring that’s color consistent from room to room. You can add interest with rugs.
- Invest in great lighting: Uplighters make ceilings appear higher, table lamps create zoned beams of light and promote cosiness, which is a must at night, while practical LED downlights in rooms such as kitchens ensure that they appear bright even if they are windowless. Layering lighting is the best way to enhance the space, so ditch the just hanging-over-ceiling approach and use a combination of ideas.
- Keep the windows tidy. That means simple but stylish window treatments, low furniture that doesn’t steal the natural light, and a minimum of frills on the window sills.
- Choose low furniture on legs. Specific, we know, but furniture you can easily see above and/or below is visually less bulky. Glass or reflective or light-colored surfaces are also useful.
- Don’t overcrowd the space. This is where good storage comes in handy.
- Choose a pale color scheme to reflect the light.
- Hang mirrors near windows; This is the best way to reflect light and create an impression of space.