How to Decorate a Small Apartment: 6 Space Saving Ideas

Tim Parry


With the value of real estate rising exponentially now more than ever, it comes as no surprise that more and more people are going for smaller apartment units. Detached, staccato houses are no longer the norm, especially for those who prefer to be in the middle of all the hustle and bustle in the city.

You wouldn't run into these issues if you went with a Toronto Pre-construction condo or check out apartments for rent in Canada. If you're not looking to rent, we recommend an up-and-coming area in BC and browse house for sale in Port Coquitlam.

But while smaller homes seem to be easier to decorate, it isn’t always the case especially when you have more belongings than you realize, and you find there is nowhere to store them all. If you’re not too big on the Marie Kondo habit, your best bet would be to find multifunctional items for your place. Lucky for you, we’ve put together 6 simple yet effective space-saving ideas for modern small apartments.

Maximizing floor space by elevating the bed in modern small apartments

Floor area is your most valuable resource when you live in a tiny room. It is, therefore, essential to maximize the limited space as much as possible. One great way to find more use for your floor space is by elevating the bed. Sure, beds consume so much space in the house but it’s also difficult not having one and being content with sleeping on the couch. So, what’s a practical homeowner to do? Lift the bed to make room for more storage underneath.

A platform bed with storage would be perfect in keeping your beddings, blankets, pillowcases, towels, curtains, and other bulkier items well organized. Simply put them in separate boxes and line them up underneath your bed and you wouldn’t have to worry about them piling up in a corner and becoming a huge eyesore. Or you can find a bed that comes with a shelf where you can place your books. This saves you from having to use a separate cabinet or bookcase that would only take up space which you can use for other furniture.

If you don’t mind climbing a ladder each time you go to sleep, you might also want to consider getting a loft bed for your apartment. This takes elevation to another level (literally) and guarantees more space beneath the bed. By keeping the bed high, you can make room for a small cabinet, desk, or a cozy work area you probably wouldn’t space for if you have your bed on the floor. 

Decorating small spaces on a budget by hanging your items

When decorating small spaces on a budget, the first thing you probably want to do is to avoid buying too many pieces of furniture for the house. Not only do they tend to be pricey, but they can also be extremely bulky. And that’s okay because they are not the only things that could help keep your place spic and span.

One thing often overlooked by people is that hanging your items can tidy up your place just as much as lining them up on the floor or storing them in boxes do. There are numerous areas where you can install hanging organizers such as your walls, doors, inside your closets, and even in the kitchen. You just need to know what to look for and where to place them.

For example, this hanging organizer can be placed behind a door or on the wall of your apartment. It comes with four large pockets that can fit items you grab all the time such as socks, tissue paper, cleaning materials, and other necessities. It also has a clear window that allows you to see what’s inside each pouch, saving you from wasting time looking for stuff around the house.

You can also install hooks and additional metal rods inside your closet so you can hang your bags and make better use of the bottom space for clothes. Or use a hanging file folder for important documents and store them inside your closet instead of buying a separate filing cabinet. In the kitchen or bathroom, hang toiletries and utensils on the wall and instantly clear up space by the sink.

Making use of multifunctional furniture for a smart approach on small apartment interior design

So, you’ve decided to get furniture for your place and now have no idea how to make all 10 items on your list fit while also leaving enough room for you to walk around the house? You’re not alone. Part of optimizing space for tiny apartments also includes the use of multipurpose furniture. Remember that sofa bed you’ve always wanted to have for your future dream home? Well, now’s the time to get one.

Sofa beds are among the most popular multifunctional home items, which you can use as a seating space in the day and convert into a bed at night. It’s also a cost-effective way to get two pieces of furniture for the price of one.

Another multipurpose furniture you can get is this classic looking storage trunk that doubles as a coffee or cocktail table. Anyone living in a tiny apartment would know how precious floor space is and that additional storage is one aspect you should always consider when buying furniture. This trunk-slash-table does just that and since it is made of engineered wood, you don’t have to worry about it rotting or getting deformed over time.

Optimizing space for tiny apartments by mounting your workspace on the wall

If your work does not require you to use a lot of devices except for a laptop, a couple of gadgets, and a few writing materials, you can do away with a large desk that would only consume valuable real estate at home. Instead, you can mount your work desk on the wall and save space and money in the process. Sounds like a great deal, right?

Having a wall-mounted desk like this is very ideal when living in a small apartment. It has enough room for your laptop, plus side compartments and removable shelves for other stationery and books you might need for work. Mount it at your desired height or just by the foot of your bed so you won’t have to get a separate computer chair and just work straight from there.

Aside from your workspace, you can also consider mounting other furniture on the wall like a collapsible ironing board or a dining table that can be folded when not in use. Or grab a few folding chairs for the dining area, which you can easily set aside after meals.

Following the curtain divider trick to separate rooms with ease

Living in a tiny apartment usually means having only one room and not having enough space to accommodate walls and dividers. And when you’re the type who prefers having some sort of separation for each section of the house, curtains could be your best friend.

You see, these long strips of fabric are not only for blocking the sunlight and decorating your windows. With a simple help from metal rods, they can also function as space-saving dividers as well as door substitutes.

Hang a curtain between your living room and bedroom to separate both areas from one another. If you need some shut eye and don’t want to be bothered by noise or the light from the television, simply pull out the curtains. Then pull it back to the sides if you want to watch your favorite programs from bed. This trick also works for separating the dining area from the kitchen or creating two smaller bedrooms out of a bigger one.

So, no matter the size of your apartment - you could end up with both a living room and a bedroom! For tips on how to stylishly decorate your livingroom - we wrote an entire seperate article on this here!

Creatively arranging furniture is the answer to your ‘how to furnish small apartment inspiration’ dilemma

Lastly, small apartment interior design is not only about purchasing decorative items for your unit. A more practical approach to decorating your place, saving space, and limiting costs all at the same time is being smart in the way you arrange furniture.

First and foremost, take stock of what’s already available at your disposal so you don’t end up buying something only to realize you already have one that serves the same function. That would be a complete waste of your time and hard-earned money.

After identifying which stuff goes to which area of the house, devise ways to arrange them in the most unconventional way possible. This means not being limited by each item’s original function but repurposing them. A good example of creative furniture arrangement would be to put something like this 6-drawer double dresser  right beside your bed, giving it a dual-purpose as a nightstand.

Another idea is to use a wooden ladder as a rack for linens or towels and place it against a wall or behind a door. It gives your apartment a modern, minimalist vibe without taking up so much space. You can also place your bookshelf between two sections of the apartment and use it as a divider or get a few ottomans for extra seating and storage space minus the bulk.

Making your apartment cozy and livable doesn’t mean you have to buy the same things you can find in a mansion. It’s all about finding pieces that complement your taste and making them suit your lifestyle. A small living space can be fully functional even without all the conventional home furniture.

Just keep all these tips in mind and you’ll never find yourself typing “how to furnish a small apartment inspiration” on Google ever again.

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Tim Parry