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Small apartment design: 7 mistakes and how to avoid them

Designing a small living room or kitchen can be a serious test of your design skills. How to find the golden meaning between stylish and practical? Just a few decorative tricks can turn a small space into a functional and livable home.

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When it comes to making the most of a small apartment or house, there are a few life hacks to keep in mind when it comes to layouts and furniture. You may be making some mistakes right now, but these seven tips will help you find the right path. 

You arrange furniture close to the walls

The first impulse when arranging a small living room (or other room) may be to push all the furniture against the walls in order to create an empty space in the middle of the room. While it makes some sense, this strategy can have the opposite effect. Placing all the furniture against the walls in an attempt to maximize space is a common mistake that makes a room feel smaller. Leave some air between the wall and things to create the illusion of a larger room.

Customize your storage systems

Fitting storage systems to a specific location will necessarily be more expensive than standard furniture. But custom storage solutions will go a long way to meet your needs. For example, it’s easy to remember where items are in the kitchen if you set aside space for appliances with cutting board compartments at the top and drawers for cereal and snacks at the bottom. It often takes months of living in a space to see how it is actually used, so there is some time to gain experience. And then decide which built-in modules you need. 

Buying reusable items

In small spaces, you often need items that perform a double or even triple function. If you have a sofa or coffee table that only serves one purpose, it’s likely that effective storage and space-saving solutions are being overlooked. Instead of a separate table, consider using a pair of ottomans with a tray at the top, which can serve as extra seating during meetings with friends. The keyboard can be hidden under the multi-functional tabletop, and the desktop can be easily converted into a dining table using a pull-out bench underneath.

Mix lighting styles

Every designer knows that lighting can make or break a space, no matter how small. However, lighting is even more important when designing small spaces. If there is too much light, the interior will be uninhabited, and if there is too little, it will resemble a dark cave. Use different types of light in small homes, such as a table lamp in a corner, wall sconces around a piece of art, or directional pendant lights to illuminate tables and surfaces. This creates depth, coziness, and the illusion of size. As a rule, small rooms have less light, so mirrors are not in the way to reflect both natural and artificial light.

Zealous with decor

When it comes to furnishing your small space, less is more. Keep in mind that you may not be able to fit all the ‘features’ of a particular room into your space, and that’s okay. There is no rule that every living room should have two sofas, an armchair, a bedside table, and a coffee table.

Visually divide the space

Visually separating open floor plans is appropriate in large homes, but with a lack of meters, it will make your home more compact and less functional. Don’t overcrowd the space and try to keep everything at eye level open and uncluttered. Choose low-rise furniture to increase the vertical space in the space, and it’s also best to ditch any tall and bulky pieces of furniture. Paint the space in solid colors. Whether it’s light or dark, using the same hues throughout the room will unify the space and make it feel more spacious.

Height of the walls

In a small space, every centimeter counts, even on the wall. To really make the most of your home, don’t miss out on vertical planning. Try to store as many things as possible close to the ceiling: this is easy to do with shelving and custom cabinets. Niches in the walls are good: for example, in the bathroom next to the dressing table, in the hallway to display objects and books, in the bedroom above the headboard – anywhere you can hide things and get rid of the need for additional pieces of furniture.

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