5 Decorating Mistakes That are Making Your Apartment Look Smaller


5 Decorating Mistakes That are Making Your Apartment Look Smaller

Lisa Wright · Nov 22, 2022
Common decorating mistakes and clutter make a young woman's small apartment feel even smaller.

While recent trends have many apartment dwellers downsizing into smaller units, there are still those among us who will always yearn for more space. Whether it’s bigger closets, more kitchen counter space, or even just an extra little corner to set up a home office, many us dream of adding a few extra square feet to our current apartment.

Upgrading to a larger apartment or renting a storage unit for excess clutter are the most obvious solutions, but unfortunately they’re not very affordable in today’s economy. So how do those of us with smaller pocketbooks create more space without breaking the bank? The answer is simple: rather than creating actual space, you simply create the illusion of more space. But in order to make your apartment look bigger, you first have to recognize what might be making it look smaller.

Below are some common decorating mistakes that may be making your apartment feel smaller than it really is, and some handy tips for transforming it into a spacious sanctuary.

Poor Lighting

Solution: Increase Natural Light

When cozy vibes start to feel claustrophobic, it may be time to reevaluate your lighting choices, as darker, dimmer spaces tend to look smaller than well-lit ones. Natural light is best for opening a unit up, but not everyone has the luxury of larger windows. Invest in some new fixtures or rearrange your current set-up to brighten up your home and make it look a lot bigger. Opt for lighter curtains on the windows you do have, as they tend to let in more natural light.

Bad Feng Shui

Bulky furniture pieces in close proximity one one another make this small apartment look and feel even smaller.

Solution: Strategic Furniture Placement

Believe it or not, making your apartment look bigger often comes down to rearranging your furniture. If you own a lot of large, bulky items, you’ll want to make sure they’re spaced out to create the illusion of more space. Similarly, if your home relies too heavily on a darker color scheme, consider brightening it up with cleaner lines and pieces with more a more modern aesthetic. Include pieces with more neutral hues to break up the blockiness of heavier, more colorful furniture.

Crowded Kitchen Counters

Solution: Store Appliances Out of Sight

Are your appliances competing for extra real estate on your kitchen counter? You’re not alone. Many renters have a tough time trying to find the space to keep everything within arm’s reach. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to create the illusion of more space in your kitchen through selective storing. Everyday appliances like toasters and coffee makers can stay on the counter, while “special occasion” items like the crockpot and waffle maker can be stored away in a pantry or cabinet when they’re not being used.

Too Much Clutter

Small, cluttered apartment living space.

Solution: Reduce, Recycle, and Repurpose

Most people are guilty of having some degree of clutter buildup in their homes, whether it’s those stacks of mail you leave by the door or piles of dirty clothes you leave lying around. Not only is clutter visually unsightly, it could also be making your apartment look a lot smaller. Luckily, this decorating mistake is extremely easy to fix with a little cleaning and organizing.

Time is a precious commodity for most people — but if the clutter in your apartment has reached critical levels, you’ll want to pick a free day you can dedicate entirely to clearing space. Focus on one room at a time and decide what you want to keep, what you want to toss, and what might be better suited to a donation center.

One of the best ways to tackle clutter and create the illusion of a bigger apartment is to adopt day-to-day routines that can help you stay on top on cleanliness. Make it a point to always put something away when you go from room to room. Put those dishes away right after you wash them instead of leaving them out. Throw that junk mail in recycling. Simple habits like these can help eliminate clutter and make your apartment look and feel bigger.

Too Much Stuff, Too Little Space

Solution: Hidden and Multipurpose Storage

It may seem obvious, but your apartment does tend to look smaller when it’s crowded with more stuff, whether its furniture, appliances, accessories, or knick-knacks. While downsizing is always a valid option, there are still some things we need to hang onto. iI’s how we store those things that makes the difference. Opt for multipurpose furniture, storage options that are hidden in plain sight, and using wall space versus floor space — all simple solutions that can help your apartment look and feel bigger.

Creating the illusion of more space in a small apartment may seem like a tall order, but it’s far from impossible. By avoiding these common decorating mistakes, any renter can spruce up their square footage situation — no moving necessary.

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