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Apartment Design Strategies to Increase Your Living Experience

From the living room to the bedroom, if you’re limited on square footage, we’ve got big ideas to make the most of your small space!

Small spaces can be fun. It’s cozy and homely and certainly easier to maintain. What is great about a small space is that it is also easier to decorate especially when you’re on a budget.

Having lived in a few teeny tiny apartments myself, I hope to share a few cheap tricks and tips you should include to totally transform a small apartment.

 Apartment Design Strategies to Increase Your Living Experience Infographic
Apartment Design Strategies to Increase Your Living Experience

Why Live in an Apartment?

Let’s start by looking at the many reasons to live in an apartment. Whether you are downscaling, a first-time renter, or looking for an affordable community with security, apartments are becoming more appealing to individual tenants and small families.

The only potential drawback about an apartment is how small some of these units can be. You may love the kitchen but have to sacrifice the space in the living room, or perhaps you have a spacious dining area, but the bedrooms feel like the walls are closing in. No matter how your apartment is designed, there are ways you can work with each room to achieve a practical and attractive finish.

Why You Should Decorate Your Apartment?

Decorating an apartment doesn’t have to be lavish or expensive. It doesn’t have to be a page out of a magazine or follow a seasonal design trend. All it has to be is a practical and satisfying space where you feel safe and relaxed.

Decorating doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t even have to be time-consuming.

How to Start Decorating an Apartment?

You can change areas of your apartment as you feel like it and as you can afford it. Start with each room.

Think about what you don’t like and what you would like to change. Is the bedroom too cluttered? Do you lack storage in the bathroom? Does your living room feel dull and boring? By taking a closer look at what you want to change you can start thinking about what you would like to include. Maybe you want to bring more light and color into the room, or you need to get more organized? Luckily, there are ways to address each of these requirements with the right approach, mindset, and creativity.

Let me share some tips to help you get motivated and start decorating your apartment!

Choose a Room

Looking at your whole apartment and the thing you don’t enjoy can leave you feeling overwhelmed and miserable! Don’t turn a molehill into a mountain as the saying goes! Look at one room and decide what you need to do to turn that room into a good space.

I usually start with the bedroom because it is a place where I relax and rejuvenate for the start of the new week. The bedroom is also an intimate space where only you hangout. If it is disorganized, cluttered, and just a space that lacks personality, it becomes hard to feel motivated or just relax in the room.

Now when I talk about changing a room I don’t mean renovate. I don’t mean knock out walls or add fixtures because a lot of these things you can’t do in a rental apartment, house, or condo. What you can do is introduce inexpensive accessories that you enjoy and reflect your personality.

What to Change in Your First Room?

Whether the bathroom, bedroom, or kitchen, think of ways you can make the area more practical. Small doesn’t mean that a room can’t be practical.

Practical means that the room is functional. You can reach what you need to reach, you find things easily, and you can move around in the space without it being restricted by clutter and unnecessary “things.” A low-maintenance room that is airy, light, and bright is a sure way to lift your spirits.

Choose a Color

Now, I know you can’t paint the walls of an apartment you’re renting but what you can do is choose a color to spice up your interior. Most apartments have neutral colors on the wall. White, beige, grey, and cream are the regular shades you will find on apartment walls. These neutrals make it easy to choose a bright color to enhance the space.

How to Introduce Color to an Apartment?

Have You Tried Scatter Cushions?
Have you tried Scatter Cushions?

Scatter Cushions

I adore scatter cushions in a home because it is the easiest and the most affordable way to introduce color. Scatters are also available in a variety of striking textures and patterns.

For the bedroom, fluffy and faux fur pillows are great for the winter months. Because the living area receives more traffic than a bedroom, it is best to choose materials that are durable and washable. Cotton is a good choice and is the least expensive.

Be sure to look out for removable covers so you can quickly wash a stain or dirt without having to soak the dense inner.

DIY Scatter Cushions

If you have a bit of time and you enjoy a simple craft, you could also decorate your own scatter cushions. To do this, you can visit any craft store in-person or online and get a few buttons, flower décor, or crystals depending on the look and feel. Buttons are neutral and more masculine while adding flower embellishments creates a soft, feminine touch.

Cushions Can Improve Any Room
Cushions Can Improve Any Room

Use the Space Under the Stairs

Many homes and condos have staircases. Depending on the design of the property, you may find an empty cavity underneath the stairs. This can be used for storage. If you don’t want it to become an eyesore, consider an affordable screen to create privacy. You can also place goods in boxes, stack them below the stairs, and use the screen to keep them hidden away. Don’t forget to label the boxes so you keep tabs on what is in storage.

Organize the Countertops

Whether a small or large room, when you walk into a kitchen and the countertops are cluttered with stuff, the entire room immediately feels cramped and disorganized.

No one wants to clean and repack the counters every day. You can buy small plastic storage bins. You put fruit, cutlery, and even cleaning stuff in the bins. For food such as rice and pasta, storage containers neatly placed on the counter will increase cupboard space.

Organize Your Countertops
Organize Your Countertops

Trim the Windows

If your apartment doesn’t have a permanent blind or window treatment, you can add your very own curtains, blinds, or drapes.

The Pleated Curtain

The pleated curtain is one of the most popular styles of window treatment. It adds a soft and modern look to any room.

Try The Pleated Curtain
Try The Pleated Curtain

The Blockout Curtain

If your apartment receives direct sunlight, a blockout curtain can help! It consists of a thick material meant to prevent the sunlight from streaming in. Not only can it contribute to a cooler environment, but it also minimizes the UV rays from damaging furniture.

Try The Blockout Curtain
Try The Blockout Curtain


Blinds are the simplest and easiest to maintain window treatments. You can find blinds in plastic, bamboo, and wood finishes. Only if your landlord permits or the fixtures are already attached to the wall can you hang a blind.

Give Changing the Style of Blinds a Try.
Give Changing the Style of Blinds a Try.

Making Use of a Small Space Means Creating a Room That Reflects Who You Are

Add the things You Love

When design inspiration is lacking, think about what you enjoy looking at and surrounding yourself with. Is it bright colors, artwork, family pictures, or minimalist living? When you know what to look for, it becomes easier to gradually add the bits and pieces that will leave you feeling like a proud homeowner.

Apartment decorating and making good use of space should also be done over time. Rushing simply puts pressure on your choices and leaves you spending unnecessary money. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Choose the Right Style of Furniture

Making good use of a small space means the right furniture. If an apartment already has built-in cupboards you simply need to find out whether it is big enough to store your clothing and shoes.

When you need extra storage space, you can use ottomans, shoe racks, clothing racks, and flat-pack furniture. These items offer the storage you need without taking up too much space. It also doesn’t require permanent fixtures which can go a long way to protecting your security deposit.

Create a Budget

When you budget, you can better plan what you need for your apartment or your rental home. You have a specific sum to work with so look at your most pressing needs. Do you need to add curtains, a rug, or a few new furniture pieces? Remember, while you may not be able to drill into the walls to add shelves etc. you can accessorize in your own time. Focus on the needs first and the wants later.

Maintaining Your Rental

The easiest way to make use of space is with maintenance. Organize your home and keep your hand on the clutter. Whether a modern space or outdated apartment, simply having a system in which your belongings have a place, your countertops are clear, and your cupboards organized, you can enjoy every room and feel relaxed in your environment.

I speak from personal experience when I’ve gone to a cupboard to find one item and had to unpack the entire cabinet because it was so cluttered! I didn’t plan for the time spent reorganizing my things which added to a stressful and rather annoying event!

Keeping Your Rental Clean Will Definitely Make Your Experience Better.
Keeping Your Rental Clean Will Definitely Make Your Experience Better.

How to Get Organized

Look at the items, food, or clothing you use frequently. Keep these goods within reach. If you have a preferred mug for your coffee each morning, it is better to place it in the front row of cups, mugs, and plates. Items that are not used at all should be stored.

Make the Most of Your Balcony

If you have an apartment balcony, it is a great area to get decorating and to make the most of the space. A popular way to decorate balconies is with trimmings during the holidays. Many renters enjoy sharing in the spirit of the holidays with a wide range of affordable decorating ideas. Whether you make your own decorations or purchase décor at a store, let’s look at the ways you can make the most of your balcony space.

Your Balcony Could be Your Own Private Oasis
Your Balcony Could be Your Own Private Oasis

Table and Chairs

Depending on the size of the balcony, you can add a small table and chairs set. It doesn’t have to be large or elaborate but rather a simple seating area where you can relax and unwind.

Potted Plants

Add a few plants in containers for some greenery. If you do use plants to decorate, add pots of different sizes. This creates depth and visual interest.

Along with plants and tables, you can include storage containers to place goods that don’t have to remain in the house. Ensure the containers are waterproof and protect against harsh sunlight.

With a little bit of thought into what you need first, then what is attractive, you can create a home that is functional and appealing.

Plants Can Even Improve Your Health
Plants Can Even Improve Your Health

What Does It Means to Make Good Use of Space?

Making good use of space doesn’t mean going over the top. It also doesn’t mean that you have to use every inch of the room. It is about looking at areas that need improving and considering what you need to live practically. Is it more space? Is it less clutter? Do you need assistance getting organized?

With so many popular styles of furniture and containers, you can get smart with accessories to maximize space.

When you can live practically and breathe easily in your home, you know that you are making the best possible use of space no matter the season, the week, or the day.

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