Decorating an apartment can feel challenging in a bigger-is-better world. It may seem like owning a big, dream home is the aspirational standard, but apartment dwellers know that there’s nothing a smaller space can’t do. Home decorators and interior designers alike know the joys of decorating a smaller space where every gesture counts—and a smaller footprint doesn’t mean compromising on function or style.
Whether you rent or own your tiny studio, spacious loft, or forever family apartment, here are some decorating ideas that will help you optimize and beautify every last square foot of space.
01 of 30
Add a Colorful Rug
Most Lovely Things added warmth and color to a neutral-toned NYC apartment with an overdyed rug, midcentury modern-inspired wall art, and velvet throw pillows in sunset shades of pink, gold, and orange.Continue to 2 of 30 below.
02 of 30
Install a Breakfast Bar
This small galley kitchen resides in a small, Georgian-style apartment in Bath, England from deVOL Kitchens. A two-seater, cafe-style breakfast bar is built right next to the window to provide a cozy place for a cup of coffee or a meal.Continue to 3 of 30 below.
03 of 30
Use Multipurpose Furniture
In a small apartment, you can save space and reduce visual clutter by choosing multipurpose furniture. This can mean anything from a high-end Murphy bed that doubles as a sofa or something as simple as a small dining table that can be used as a sitting area, home office, or place to play games and work on craft projects, like this Scandinavian apartment from Fantastic Frank.
The bed is pushed into the corner and the windowsill does overtime as a bedside table for a lamp and reading material, and a gallery wall includes a space-saving wall-mounted magazine rack.Continue to 4 of 30 below.
04 of 30
Embrace Dark Tones
While many people stick with light colors, darker tones can make an apartment bedroom feel more cozy. Desiree Burns Interiors painted the wall behind the bed in matte black that creates a grounded feeling in this apartment bedroom, while a large window provides plenty of natural light.Continue to 5 of 30 below.
05 of 30
Accent with Soft Greens and Blues
If you want to add a bit of color to your tiny abode while maintaining a light and neutral feel, choose soft natural colors like the pale greens and blues of this 205-square-foot Parisian studio apartment from Neva Interior Design.Continue to 6 of 30 below.
06 of 30
Add a Pair of Love Seats
In this apartment living room from Joshua Smith Inc., a pair of love seats subs in for a large sectional sofa, providing enough seating while working with the existing layout of the room.Continue to 7 of 30 below.
07 of 30
Paint the Entryway
A defined entry makes this less than 400-square-foot Parisian apartment from Neva Interior Design feel larger than it is, painted in a warm mustard yellow that gives it a welcoming feel and creates a sense of dimension when viewed from the main room.Continue to 8 of 30 below.
08 of 30
Add Rustic Touches
Rustic touches like a metal and wood sliding barn door and a chunky wood dining table add warmth to this Hoboken, N.J. apartment from AHG Interiors with its waterfront views of the Hudson River.Continue to 9 of 30 below.
09 of 30
Camouflage the TV
In this sleek NYC apartment from Tina Ramchandani Creative, a dark wood accent wall with a seamlessly built-in niche for a large flat screen helps to camouflage the TV when it's not in use.Continue to 10 of 30 below.
10 of 30
If your apartment kitchen lacks counter space but has enough floor space, consider adding a small kitchen island, ideally on wheels, that is lightweight enough to be easy to move around. It can serve multiple functions in a small apartment kitchen, from adding extra prep space to providing a place to eat casual meals. This island in a Brooklyn loft kitchen from Becca Interiors is painted sage green for a soft, neutral dose of color.Continue to 11 of 30 below.
11 of 30
Opt for a Wet Room
If you just bought your first studio apartment and are renovating a tiny bathroom, consider installing a space-saving, streamlined wet room, like this small Scandinavian apartment bathroom from Fantastic Frank.Continue to 12 of 30 below.
12 of 30
Double Space with Mirrors
Decorating with mirrors is an easy way to make any space feel larger and more luminous. In this West Village, NYC apartment from Tina Ramchandani Creative, a pair of tall mirrors on either side of the bed reflect and bounce around available light and increase perspectives, doubling views and making the room feel larger than it is.Continue to 13 of 30 below.
13 of 30
Suspend the WC
In a small bathroom, a simple choice like installing a modern suspended toilet with hidden plumbing inside the wall makes the space feel airier while making it easier to clean, like this bright and cheerful Paris apartment bathroom from Neva Interior Design.Continue to 14 of 30 below.
14 of 30
This Scandinavian railroad-style apartment from Fantastic Frank is elegantly simple, with a black-and-white palette, clean lines, and industrial-style metal and glass partitions that visually define space without sacrificing light.Continue to 15 of 30 below.
15 of 30
Hang Floor-to-Ceiling Drapes
Floor-to-ceiling drapes in this apartment make the ceilings feel taller and the space feel grander. Plus, drapes can be paired with solar shades or sheer curtains that will let light in while blocking an unsightly view or depriving nosy neighbors of spying on your every move.Continue to 16 of 30 below.
16 of 30
Style Your Bar Cart
A well styled bar cart can serve as a festive focal point in a small apartment living room. In this boho style living room from K Shan Design, a vintage rattan bar cart is styled with retro drinkware, black-and-white photography, and plants, a ready made entertainment station that doubles as decor.Continue to 17 of 30 below.
17 of 30
Add Statement Lighting
Swapping out a boring or dated overhead light is an easy way to elevate your apartment decor. In this galley-style NYC kitchen from Sissy + Marley Interior Design, a delicate pendant light anchors the dining table and floats in front of the window, making a statement without blocking natural light or views.Continue to 18 of 30 below.
18 of 30
Add Multifunctional Storage
If you own your apartment, consider adding a multifunctional custom storage wall that can house all your clothes, shoes, accessories, clutter, and a disappearing wall desk, like this chic mini studio from Paris-based Caroline Andreoni Interior Design.Continue to 19 of 30 below.
19 of 30
Skip the Sink Vanity
While a sink vanity can add storage and counter space that some people find indispensable in the bathroom, not everyone needs a ton of bathroom storage. In this small bathroom from Becca Interiors, a vintage-style wall-mounted sink adds character while a mirrored medicine cabinet houses essentials.Continue to 20 of 30 below.
20 of 30
Add a Peel-and-Stick Tile Backsplash
Sometimes the most depressing thing about a rental apartment kitchen is having to stare at a dated backsplash that you didn't choose and don't like. If your budget or your lease prohibits you from making cosmetic changes like swapping out the backsplash tiles, consider giving your kitchen a mini refresh by using DIY removable peel-and-stick tile.
A new backsplash created with peel-and-stick tile can add color and pattern to your kitchen—and it can be easily removed before leaving so you don't risk your security deposit.Continue to 21 of 30 below.
21 of 30
Create a Casual Bedroom
Fantastic Frank used an industrial-style glass and black metal partition to create a casual, open bedroom in this studio apartment that doesn't block light or views to preserve an open feel.Continue to 22 of 30 below.
22 of 30
Brighten a Windowless Bathroom
Many apartment bathrooms lack natural light. To compensate, consider adding a backlit mirror over the sink that will add ambient light while producing a flattering reflection, like this NYC apartment bathroom from Tina Ramchandani Creative.Continue to 23 of 30 below.
23 of 30
Create an Eat-In Kitchen
Add a small table and chairs to your apartment kitchen to create a cozy place for meals or meal prep, like this light-flooded space from Fantastic Frank.Continue to 24 of 30 below.
24 of 30
Add Pops of Color
A bubblegum pink wall here and a giant neon yellow pencil light sculpture there gives this otherwise neutral-toned apartment from Fantastic Frank a dose of personality and spirit.Continue to 25 of 30 below.
25 of 30
Optimize Bathroom Storage
If your apartment bathroom is short on storage, look for opportunities to add shelving, like the recessed window in this bright modern bathroom designed by Emily Bowser for Emily Henderson Design.Continue to 26 of 30 below.
26 of 30
Add a Banquette
In an apartment with a larger open plan kitchen, adding a banquette along one wall can make the space feel more inviting, like this NYC apartment from Tina Ramchandani Creative.Continue to 27 of 30 below.
27 of 30
Carry Metallic Accents Throughout
Metallic accents will add shine and light to a small space. This apartment kitchen from Desiree Burns Interiors is open to the living room, with metallic accents that are carried throughout the space for a cohesive look.Continue to 28 of 30 below.
28 of 30
Accent with Bold Color
A bold blue painting adds a mesmerizing dose of color in this neutral-toned apartment living room from Joshua Smith Inc.Continue to 29 of 30 below.
29 of 30
Hang Removable Wallpaper
Removable wallpaper is an easy and budget-friendly way to bring some attitude to a neutral kitchen, like this space from K Shan Design that is full of color, pattern, and a touch of bling.Continue to 30 of 30 below.
30 of 30
Define Space with Furniture
A small sectional with arms defines the sitting area in this apartment living room from Joshua Smith Inc. to create a cozy feeling while preserving flow.
How do I decorate my apartment so it looks trendy?
Trends come and go, but style is forever. Chasing the latest trend means you will have to redecorate before you know it, so focus on choosing quality furniture and tasteful decor that will stand the test of time. Then you can rotate in affordable, on trend accessories that will make it feel fresh and current.
How do I decorate my apartment on a budget?
Decorate your apartment on a budget by making smart choices about where you source your decor and how much of it you use. Challenge yourself to buy vintage or secondhand pieces at local thrift stores and flea markets or your favorite online marketplaces. Keeping an eye on your budget and consumption will help the planet by keeping sustainability in mind when making choices about what to bring into your home.
How do I decorate my small apartment?
The first rule of decorating a small apartment is to treat it with as much respect and care as you would a larger space. Pay special attention to proportion and scale so that big pieces like beds, dining tables, and seating like couches fit your small space without overwhelming it. Choose a neutral palette to make the space feel light and airy and accent with color or metallics. Decorate with mirrors to help the space feel bigger and brighter, and never underestimate the feel-good power of adding plants.