Apartment life takes some getting used to, especially if you grew up in a large house with sprawling grounds that allowed you to stretch your wings at a moment’s notice. While most apartments for renting aren’t quite as spacious as a house, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the space you have and make it your home.
Nix the hordes of items you simply don’t need any more. Weeding through your belongings and selecting your favorites allows you to make a fresh start and brings the relief of not dealing with boxes and bundles of old college text books and keepsakes that have long outlasted their purpose. Remember your belongings are there to serve you, not the other way around.
Select a theme for your apartment. Whether you prefer whimsical artwork and unique furniture that expresses your artistic side or feel right at home with primitives to honor days gone by doesn’t matter. The goal is to decide on a theme that unifies the entire apartment. Believe it or not, an apartment with one central theme – be it color or design – looks larger and feels more spacious that one with a mish mash of designs.
Paint the walls in light colors. Although you may dream of bright walls in deep reds or shades of brown, when it comes to creating the illusion of space, light colors are the key. Think pretty pastels or shades of blue, green, yellow and cream, say The Nest, as these colors brighten the room making it look larger and more spacious.
Use organizers throughout the apartment. Think hanging baskets, decorative shelving and over-the-door storage to get those everyday items off the counter and at the right height for easy use. Not only will you have everything readily available, you’ll save space too, making your apartment seem more spacious. Check out some of our great Back to School Organization Ideas to keep kids on track.
Use Mirrors to create the illusion of space. Mirrors placed so they reflect the outside, open up a room and create the illusion of space. If your view from your apartment is less than desirable, try hanging houseplants near mirrors to reflect a bit of nature back into the home. When combined with plants, mirrors can add a breath of fresh air to otherwise tight corners.
Smaller-scale furniture saves space. Sometimes apartment living means scaling down the size of household furnishing. Although I’m not suggesting you resort to miniature furniture that looks like it’s designed for children, replacing that massive coffee table with something a bit smaller adds room to the living area, without sacrificing comfort. Think a table for two tucked into an alcove, or bar stools pulled up to the breakfast bar instead of a full size table in the kitchen. Small coffee tables or end tables create an airy lightness to the room.
Wage war on clutter. Clutter robs you of precious space for living. According to The Everyday Minimalist, getting rid of clutter eliminates 40% of the housework in an average home, so any way you look at it, de-cluttering your apartment makes good sense. It creates the illusion of a spacious living area while creating less work for you and gives you room for the things you enjoy, too
Use space wisely. Every apartment has unused space behind doors, under and over cabinets and under the beds. Take advantage of these natural storage areas for getting seldom-used items out of the way and making room for living.
Whether you are new to apartment life or are just thinking about renting, don’t let worries about lack of room overwhelm you. By following a few simple tips, you can create the illusion of space in a small apartment while creating a relaxing environment that reflects your sense of style.
Nannette Richford is a writer from rural Maine. When not writing, she can be found working in her garden where she has grown flowers, herbs and vegetables for over 25 years. Richford has extensive writing experience in gardening and landscape and has been published in influential online industry publications, including the San Francisco Chronicle(SF Gate), Garden Guides and Yahoo! Shine. She also publishes her own website Maine Garden Ideas. Connect with Nannette on Google+ and Twitter.
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