Nicely decorated apartment with lots of greenery and textures

How to Decorate a Small Apartment to Make It Feel More Spacious

Written by Greystar
Edited by Greystar
For Residents June 19, 2024

Living in a small apartment, such as a studio or a 500 sq-foot one-bedroom, is often the preferred choice in terms of affordability. This trend is mirrored by the popularity of minimalist design choices and even “van life”, where maximizing limited space is essential to both livability and sanity. But how do you make these cozy spaces feel a little roomier?

Maximizing space is crucial for creating the illusion that your small apartment is more spacious than it appears. In this article, we will offer design tips and decorating tricks to help those living in smaller apartments maximize the available space and fit all their living essentials with room to spare. 

To help you make the most of your space, no matter the size, here are a few tips to get started: 

For deeper decor insights, read on to learn more!



Opt for light, neutral colors

Choosing light, neutral colors such as white, beige, or pastel shades can significantly enhance the feeling of spaciousness. Lighter colors reflect more light, making rooms feel larger and more open. Opt for neutral tones to maintain a cohesive look; think cream walls, white oak furniture, and beige bedding. You can still add personality and vibrancy to your space through accessories like throw pillows and wall art, which introduce pops of color without cluttering your color palette. 


Neutral couch with throw pillows and lamp in the background



Make smart furniture choices

  • Multifunctional Pieces. Investing in multifunctional furniture is a game-changer for small spaces. Pieces like sofa beds,               storage ottomans, shelves, and extendable dining tables can serve multiple purposes, reducing the need for extra furniture and       freeing up valuable space. Every large piece of furniture should have two functions. 

  • Size Considerations. Select furniture that fits the scale of your apartment. Avoid bulky pieces that take up precious space             and make it feel cramped. Instead, choose slim, streamlined designs that are proportionate to your living space. You could even
         consider floating furniture, such as wall-mounted desks and shelves. These pieces free up floor space and give the room a more       open look and feel.


White wall with floating shelves holding decor and plant



Natural light is your friend

Keep window treatments light and airy. For example, sheer curtains let in more natural light and aren’t so visually dense. Dark, heavy drapes can block out light and make a room feel dungeon-like. By allowing maximum light in, you create a brighter, more open atmosphere.


Open window with sheer curtains and plant on the edge




In small apartments, defining “zones” for different day-to-day activities can help make the space feel more functional. Instead of answering emails at the kitchen counter next to last night’s dirty dishes, create a designated “office” in a select corner with just a desk, chair, and small table lamp. As opposed to eating dinner on the couch, set up a few bar stools at the kitchen island and designate this space as your dining area.


home office with minimal decor and neutral colors



Mirrors and Reflective Surfaces

Strategically placing mirrors to reflect light can create the illusion of depth. Incorporate reflective surfaces like glass or metallic finishes in your decor to enhance the sense of space. Clear furniture made from materials like glass or acrylic is another great option for creating an illusion of openness. As they don't visually block space, these transparent pieces can make your apartment feel less crowded.


Table in a home with minimal decor and a mirror above



Cut the Clutter

When it comes to maximizing space, messiness is your worst enemy. Here are a few ways to make your apartment look clean, tidy, and organized:

  • Storage Solutions. Utilize vertical storage options like shelves and tall cabinets to free up floor space. Implement hidden             solutions inside ottomans or behind doors to keep items out of sight but easily accessible. The space under your furniture also         has great storage potential. Beds with built-in drawers, sofas with hidden compartments, and storage boxes under coffee tables       can provide extra storage without taking up additional space.

  • Minimalism. The minimalist aesthetic is not only on-trend, but very practical for small spaces. Embrace minimalism by keeping       only essential items and regularly decluttering. Clear surfaces to prevent your space from looking too busy. Store what you can         in drawers and keep your living area neat and organized. The more empty space on counters and surfaces, the better. 


Wooden bed with striped blanket and storage underneath



Make Strategic Decoration Choices

  •  Vertical Emphasis. Draw the eye upward with tall bookshelves, art pieces hanging plants, or floor-to-ceiling curtains. This              technique not only uses vertical space efficiently but also makes the ceiling appear higher, contributing to the feeling of                    spaciousness.

  • Artwork and Decor. Choose a few large pieces of artwork instead of many small ones to avoid visual clutter. Wall-mounted         decor saves floor space and keeps your walls from looking too busy, giving them plenty of breathing room.


Apartment living room with wall decor and throw pillows on a grey couch



Apartments That Feel Like Home
Making your space feel like yours is essential in any apartment, but it’s especially important that smaller spaces are as livable as they are cozy. By following these tips, you can transform even the smallest studio apartment into a home that feels spacious and comfortable. 
At Greystar, we believe that apartments aren’t just places to live, but homes for  you to love. For help finding your dream home, visit

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