(Almost) everything I own is now contained in 477 square feet of space.
That’s not a lot.
It’s even less when you realize I have about 300 books shoved into that space. The problem? I love to decorate. I mean, I love interior design. I love art and if I want to be comfortable in my space, it better give out some damn good vibes.
I had to work with the space for a while until it finally felt like my own. Here are some ideas you can use to decorate your teeny, tiny space.
1. Go up.
Walls, walls, walls! Have you seen how many gallery wall ideas there are on Pinterest? Yeah. Thousands. Maybe millions. I got lucky – I live on the third floor which means I have extra-high ceilings. While I would never suggest you cover your walls (talk about overwhelming) they are your best asset when decorating.
Make sure you check your lease regulations. (I also got lucky because I can use nails. If you can’t, Command Strips and ticky-tack work wonders.) You don’t even have to use frames! Most of my wall art consists of pieces I’ve made and ticky-tacked to the walls.
If you’re not artistically inclined, Hobby Lobby has lots of cute, contemporary wall art you can buy. Use the RetailMeNot app to get 40 percent off!
2. Go under.
Having storage out and about is the easiest way to make your apartment look more like a dorm than a home. Find places to hide that stuff – under your bed is probably the best place, or up on that shelf in the closet. Use bins to keep stuff out of sight, but avoid plastic if at all possible (see number six).
3. Go small.
Teeny tiny decorations are the best. I just bought four, small, ceramic buddhas from TJ Maxx. Buy pretty candles (cute and functional) or small plants like succulents. These small things will bring lots of life to your apartment without cluttering it up or taking up a ton of space.
You can also use these things as backdrops; I have a Lana Del Rey vinyl, some books and a candle sitting at the back of a shelf I use for incense and keeping the things I need every time I go out the door. Make functional spaces pretty with tiny things.
4. Go flat.
This goes hand-in-hand with the backdrop idea above. Wall decorations are flat, but so are rugs! I just bought a rug (also from TJ Maxx) for less than 40 dollars to go under my coffee table and it brightened up the living area significantly. Blankets and throws are a great, flat, way to decorate, too! I also have a tapestry from Urban Outfitters that I love, covering the entire wall behind my bed.
5. Go simple.
When living in such a small space, it’s important to keep it simple. Take pleasure in the white space. Look up some minimal design ideas on Pinterest. Learn how to decorate with what you have and as you go. Buying ten items at once is the best way to clutter up your apartment. Only buy what really, really stands out to you and make sure you have a space for it. The smaller your apartment, the easier it is for it to look overwhelming and cluttered.
6. Go upscale.
You have an apartment. You’re either out of college or almost out of college. Do you want your apartment to look like a dorm? Most likely not. What makes an apartment look like a dorm? Plastic. Plastic bins, plastic furniture, plastic storage.
When I moved into my apartment I promised myself I wouldn’t buy any plastic anything, and gave most of my plastic bins away, except the ones I could shove under my bed. Unless it’s a really cute Ikea chair, I would suggest you go for the next phase in furniture.
My apartment came furnished, but I had to buy one two-drawer cabinet. Instead of plastic, I found a dark brown, wood (plywood) piece. It looks much better, even though it has to sit on my floor. You’re in your twenties. It’s time to get rid of that dorm furniture and treat yourself and your apartment like adults.
Ultimately, design is up to you. Find a style that suits you and keep an eye out for items that fit that design. These are basic rules, but the details are really what makes an apartment you.