How to Decorate a Small Apartment: 5 Ideas to Make Your Place Feel Larger

If you’re interested in living in a city like San Diego, an apartment downtown has a lot to offer. You’ll be in a walkable community with access to some of the city’s best eateries. Living in the thick of it will likely mean working with less space than you would on the outskirts of town, though. That doesn’t have to be a negative, especially if you know how to decorate a small apartment to make it feel bigger than it is.

Check out these tips for apartment decor ideas for small spaces and make the most of your apartment, no matter the size.


Play With Vertical Space

Make an apartment feel bigger by getting the eye away from the floor and up toward the ceiling. Create ways to use vertical space, or play with the illusion of building more room vertically. Consider taller, open shelving, and place any art you’re interested in featuring above eye level. Hang plants if you’re able, adding focal points to a room without taking up floor space.

Incorporate patterns, like stripes, that draw the eye up, but avoid mixing multiple patterns that may be distracting rather than playful. Small apartment decor is about being clever with colors and motifs and using a tighter space to your advantage.

Hanging shelves

Lighten Things Up

Darker, moody colors may sound attractive, but they have the effect of closing a room off. Light colors tend to make rooms feel brighter and more open, offering up an illusion of space. Think monochromatic, neutral tones no matter what you’re planning for your smaller apartment. Consider natural colors when you’re picking out rugs, too, so that you’re not drawing the eye to the floor.

Keep in mind that not all apartments allow for fresh paint on the walls, so make sure that you’re able to as part of your lease agreements before starting any apartment projects. If you’re working with white walls, that’s not a bad thing. White keeps a room looking fresh and airy, and allows you to find more creative ways to brighten things up with pops of color in your materials, instead.

Brighten things up with strategic lighting, too. Think fixtures that bring eyes up and lamps that cover even darker corners of a room. Use natural lighting as much as you’re able to by placing furniture strategically. You don’t want to block any windows, for example, as that will make your small apartment feel smaller.

Light, airy decor ideas

Add the Illusion of Space

When thinking about how to decorate a small apartment, consider interior design tips that essentially fool the eye into seeing more space.

Mirrors are a classic trick for giving the illusion of space, even in a smaller apartment, so try to incorporate those reflective surfaces into your apartment interior design. Hanging mirrors opposite a window, for example, is an easy way to open up a tight room. Glass is another way to trick the eye into seeing more space. A coffee table with a glass top, for example, offers the illusion of less clutter and cleaner sightlines from that piece of furniture to the floor. 

Wall mirror facing a window

Get Creative With Storage

Small apartment ideas are about using the space you have efficiently. Be strategic with the furniture you’re filling your space with. Find pieces that double as storage, with hidden nooks for you to put things in until you’re ready to use them. Consider furniture that comes off the floor, like lofted beds, to allow additional storage space below. Use wall space for hooks or shelves if you’re able to hang things on your walls to get items off the floor and above eye level. 

Finding spots to tuck things away will help keep your smaller space looking tidy, as well, another tip that makes rooms not only look more organized and put together but larger.

Organized kitchen storage

Avoid Clutter

Along those lines, try to avoid cramming too much stuff into a small space. Keep easy paths from room to room, especially if you’re working with an open concept. Work with apartment floor plans, not against them. Furniture that worked in a larger space may look oversized now, so your small apartment living room ideas may need to include finding pieces that work with the area you have now.

Large art pieces may work in a smaller space, as long as you don’t have too many of them and clutter your walls. Stash things away that don’t need to be out all the time, and maintain a sense of organization in your apartment. Don’t forget about your outside spaces, either. Incorporate seating onto any outdoor patios that fit the square footage you’re working with, especially if those outdoor spaces are visible from the apartment’s interior.

Woman decluttering by hiding blankets in a basket

Interested in seeing what life could look like in a luxury apartment in San Diego? Schedule a visit at the Allegro Towers and start thinking about what you could do in your own space in the heart of San Diego’s vibrant downtown.

Contact us at Allegro Towers