One person's small apartment might be another's palace, but it's safe to say that if you can turn around on the spot and see your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living area in one glance, chances are you're living in a really small apartment. But even a larger apartment can easily feel small when there are lots of people living under the one roof.
So how can we cater to the special needs of compact living without sacrificing style and function? Well, the perennial advice of keep it simple, bare and generally light in colour still holds true. But at the same time, the trend for small and simple living is taking off and designers are responding to the demands for compact living solutions with verve. For instance, flexible furniture solutions are taking off in a serious way, and designs for utilising those tiny nooks and crannies in the home are more imaginative than ever before.
For 7 ideas on how to furnish your small apartment, read on!
Everyone wants to avoid stumbling around furniture in a small hallway, but this often means that people leave these valuable areas completely empty. While it's never a good idea impede on any traffic zones, there are some ways to work around this and create extra storage space.
Simple hooks on a wall will provide hanging space without impeding on the floor space and a high shelf could be installed to provide space for storage. If there is room for furniture, consider something multifunctional. This white wooden bench by The Cotswold Company doubles as a bench for sitting on, while the wicker baskets underneath provide storage.
The golden rule of furnishing a small apartment is to make the furniture fit the apartment, because it certainly won't work the other way around!
Designers often say that it's best to use a light colour scheme and use minimal furniture to expand the sense of space in a small living room. But the problem with this approach is that it may lead to a living room lacking in warmth.
A common solution is to paint the walls white and warm up the room with splashes of colour. See here how effectively a single chaise longue has been used instead of a full longue suite that would crowd the room. The walls are white, but the bright splashes of colour in the artworks and cushions contribute towards a cosy ambience.
A peaceful bedroom is a place to retreat from the demands of the outside world. So what to do when your small apartment is so small that you don't even have a separate bedroom? The answer is, create a sleeping zone.
A simple, wooden platform like this elevates the bed and separates it from the rest of the room. The colour scheme is bright and the white bedding and pale wooden platform blend into one another to create a sense of spaciousness.
This fabulous pop out kitchen by Studio Andree Weisser has slide out benches and drawers really take compact living to a new level. But if you don't need to take such a drastic approach, there's plenty more that can be done. Kitchen bench space is usually the first thing that gets lost in a small kitchen. So why not install some fold out benches. A simple hinge and prop will enable you to quickly fold it out when needed.
The humble closet is often one of the most under-utilised storage areas. While there is usually plenty of hanging space for dresses and long garments, this often extends right down to the floor and creates one big storage area. It's far better to divide the space by building in smaller compartments. See here how the high shelf has been used to store bed linen, while the hanging space has been shortened and the lower space is been divided into not one, but two levels of shoe space.
A practical bathroom means practical storage solutions. In this bathroom we can see how the bathroom cupboards are finished in a pale, wooden finish that blends into the light colour scheme. They provide lots of storage that means that there is no visual clutter to close down our sense of space.
While the general rule is to use small furniture in a small apartment, the reverse is often true for bathroom mirrors. See how this mirror extends across the width of this tiny bathroom wall to create a sense of spaciousness. Panel lights underneath the edge of the mirror also expand the sense of light and brightness in the room.
Compact living often means having a balcony with a view of the neighbours! To create privacy, consider placing high pot plants around the perimeter of the balcony as seen here. For even more privacy, build up one side of the balcony with wooden cladding. If this kind of permanent structure isn't possible, a lightweight bamboo woven panel can easily be installed for a light, summery feel.
For more clever living solutions, have a look at Ways you can utilise the space under your stairs.