Six Decorating Traps to Avoid in a Small Apartment

Six Decorating Traps to Avoid in a Small Apartment
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    When you live in a small studio or apartment, you want to express your own decorating style without taking up too much space.


However, you may feel stuck between a rock and a hard place when you have to decide between displaying all your favorite prints and knick-knacks, and conserving space for your furniture. To create a space that’s both vibrant and functional, avoid the following decorating pitfalls. This way you can have a great look without a ton of clutter in the way.

Using Too Many Colors

You might think your apartment appears dull if you stick to a neutral palate. But while accenting your room adds pizzazz to an otherwise blah living space, too many bright colors can crowd out your furniture—or worse, make your apartment look like a nursery. Don’t fall into the trap of using too many bright colors in a small space.

Instead of painting your studio or front room with every color of the rainbow, stick to two accent colors and one neutral base. That way you can highlight your room with decorative pillows and picture frames, while keeping your carpet and furniture versatile and basic. Choose an accent wall if you do decide to paint with color and try to use the other blank walls as a canvas for tying in the accent wall with the rest of your décor.

Shutting Out Natural Light

When you’re working with a small space, natural light gives each room an open, natural feel. When you obscure windows with dark blinds or large curtains, you close off the space and make it feel smaller than it already is. Don’t forget how minimal blinds can help keep out unwanted light while still adding a larger feel to a room.

If you do choose to decorate with window coverings, keep them light-colored and simple. You can also make windows look bigger by purchasing an oversized curtain rod and keeping curtains away from the window. To maximize natural light, you should also purchase glass furniture and mirrors to reflect sunlight and bounce it around your room. Remember to use sheer curtains that won’t block too much light and still can give you relief from a hot window.

Keeping Everything on the Floor

If you have lots of books or magazines to store, you might feel the room is too small to merit bookshelves or counter space. But actually storing all of your belongings on the floor will make your room feel both overcrowded and small.

To responsibly and attractively store your items, invest in a mounted bookshelf or wall hooks to display plates. When you take advantage of wall storage, you use your belongings to add personality and color to the walls, and you keep you walkways clutter-free. Use small totes and bins to hold magazines for easy access on shelves and under tables. Any kind of vertical space or storage will save you valuable floor room. Make sure your shelves are being used effectively by packing in items tight and organizing so they don’t become a mess in the long run.

Putting All Your Furniture Together

You may think the best way to create more space in your limited apartment is to cram all furniture against one wall. But when guests come to have a chat with you, they’ll feel more claustrophobic when the chairs and couch are placed so close together.

Group your furniture together in odd numbers, and spread out your pieces across the room to create open space without crowding your guests. Make sure you have a good arrangement that can accommodate the max amount of guests you might have.

Forgetting About Walkways

Likewise, you also shouldn’t forget that people have to be able to get in and out of the rooms. If you arrange your furniture in such a way that you have to climb or crawl, or squeeze between furniture to enter a room, you’ve made your apartment entirely unusable.

When you place your furniture, first think about the natural pathways you use to get around your apartment. Leave enough space between tables, shelves, and seating so a person can easily maneuver the floor to get from one room to the next.

Buying Furniture Bigger Than Your Space

If you try to fit a three-piece sectional couch into your 200-square-foot apartment, you won’t have any space leftover for anything else. Tailor your furniture selection to match the size of your apartment, and you won’t risk feeling trapped.

You can also buy furniture that serves multiple purposes to conserve space. Look for a side table that also has shelves or drawers for storage, or use an organizing tray to turn your kitchen table into your work desk.

When you avoid these six dangerous traps, you can enjoy your apartment regardless of its small size.

Information Credit: Susan Hopkins Interior Design Portfolio (



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