Decorating a small apartment or studio is all about finding the right balance between design and functionality. When furnishing a smaller space, it’s essential to invest in multifunctional pieces that fit your needs while highlighting your aesthetic.

So what should you avoid when decorating a small space, and what’s the best way to make a small room look bigger? From smart lighting for apartments to innovative storage solutions, here are ten ways to furnish your apartment that can help you optimize your small space.

Eliminate clutter.

Managing clutter is a challenge for anyone who lives in a house, but it’s incredibly difficult for anyone who lives in a small apartment. If you’re moving to a new apartment and feeling overwhelmed, start by tossing or donating what you don’t need.

If you’re looking to organize your current space, finding creative storage solutions is critical. Drawers and cabinets are your best friend, and keeping your surfaces clear can help you relax without worrying about visual clutter. Consider installing open wall shelving, or invest in some baskets to store smaller items within reach for everyday use.

Multipurpose your furniture.

Multipurpose furniture pieces are lifesavers, especially in studio apartments. Whether you’re looking to transform your coffee table into a storage unit, your bookshelf into a desk, or your sofa into a guest bed, countless multipurpose furniture hacks can help you decorate smarter.

For instance, a bar cart can serve as a multifunctional piece in your kitchen, living room, and bedroom as a coffee table, bookshelf, kitchen island, and bedside table.

Use light colors to open your space.

black floor lamp on living room sofa
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

While brighter colors can help make smaller spaces feel open and airy by maximizing the significant effect of natural light, darker colors typically absorb light, making a room look smaller. 

To create a brighter and more inviting space, decorate with soft off-white and neutral tones. In addition to investing in more colorful pieces of furniture, hanging vibrant artwork can help elevate your space’s mood and look.

Opt for attractive storage solutions.

Believe it or not, there are plenty of simple, attractive, and affordable storage solutions for smaller spaces.

Instead of adding a heavy armoire to the corner of your studio, consider making clothes part of your apartment’s decor by hanging them on an exposed rod. To keep odds and ends—like spare blankets and throw pillows—out of sight, try swapping your coffee table for an ottoman.

Add a bright area rug.

vacant white and brown sectional sofa in room
Photo by Canna Curious Club on Unsplash

Adding a bright area rug to your living room floor can instantly help make a smaller space feel more spacious. Area rugs not only provide warmth underfoot during colder months, but they can also make your space feel cozier and more lived in. 

When shopping for area rugs, opt for a rug that matches your sofa. If you’re feeling bold, try choosing a rug that contrasts against the rest of your furniture to create a sense of depth. Large, colorful area rugs can help define spaces, add a splash of color to your room, and show off your style. 

Use mirrors to add depth.

black framed wall mounted mirror
Photo by Elena Kloppenburg on Unsplash

Rearranging your mirrors can make your space look larger by reflecting both natural and artificial light. If you have a small room without windows, use a framed mirror to mimic a window to open up your space and create a focal point. 

“To create the illusion of depth, identify a focal point in your apartment, and angle your leaner mirror toward it. Alternatively, place your mirror near a window to reflect natural light throughout your apartment,” suggests the design team at NovaofCalifornia.com. Their range of modern mirrors is ideal for use with this trick. 

Create space with light.

There are countless ways to define different “zones” within your space, from dividing the room with room dividers and using area rugs to using separate colors. One of the most useful—and most often ignored—ways to define space is through lighting.

When it comes to lighting for apartments, choose wall-mounted lighting or small table lamps over floor lamps to save floor space. Medium-wattage lighting (with the ability to dim) works best at dining tables—you want to create a sense of ambiance, but still provide enough light to eat. Meanwhile, small table lamps in living room areas can be at lower wattages.

Take advantage of vertical space.

Whether you’re furnishing your kitchen, bedroom, or living room, remember to take advantage of vertical space. Try adding shelves above your bed, investing in a wall-mounted bookshelf, or hanging some of your favorite plants to create a feeling of luxury and spaciousness without increasing your apartment’s square footage.

Additionally, wall-mounted lighting and hanging lights can help define small areas, especially in small spaces, where some “zones” are inevitably positioned against walls. Hanging lights work well on either side of a bed, or over a small dining table.

Use moveable room dividers.

Image by Ferenc Keresi from Pixabay

If you live in a studio apartment, you’re probably already familiar with the importance of creating distinct spaces and utilizing every square inch of space. In smaller spaces, room dividers can help separate one large area into zones. 

Room dividers can give your studio apartment the illusion of multiple rooms. Plus, since they’re movable, you can easily move them around to experiment with your apartment’s layout.

Maximize your furniture arrangement.

To maximize open space, place larger pieces of furniture against walls, scale your furniture to fit your room’s size, and avoid blocking pathways. By moving furniture away from walkways, you’ll open up more space, making your apartment feel less cluttered.

Instead of lining your walls with furniture, try placing larger pieces—like couches and dressers—at an angle. Angling your furniture not only creates additional storage space behind the piece in the corner. Also a handy tool men help to draw the focus away from shorter walls.

Furnishing a new apartment takes time, and although it might be tempting to splurge on a bunch of new furniture at once, it’s essential to take your time. Above all else, finding functional and stylish ways to furnish your small apartment can help you ensure your space stays organized.