Living in a place with small rooms—whether it’s a cramped studio apartment, tiny house, or century-old manor with a closed floor plan—presents a decorating challenge. But you don’t need to sacrifice good design when things are extra tight.

Peruse these clever small apartment decorating ideas that make small rooms seem more spacious. You may just find what you need to transform your home from cramped to comfy.

Add an Entryway Bench

hallway with patterned rug and wooden bench

Small apartments are notorious for having awkward entryway areas or none at all. Adding a narrow bench provides a spot to slip on shoes. Place a few baskets underneath for storing footwear or accessories, and hang hooks above for jackets. Finish your small apartment decor by laying down a rug or runner for a welcoming, cozy environment.


Use Removable Wallpaper

bedroom with antique chest table and tropical decor

If you’re renting your apartment, you might be unable to paint your walls. Turn to removable wallpaper for personalized apartment decor while avoiding damage to walls. There are so many fun patterns and prints to choose from when it comes to temporary wallpaper. Try a statement print with a graphic design, or opt for a minimalist pattern, like delicate florals, for a subtle update.


Loft Your Bed

kohlhepp house bedroom white loft

Capitalize on space in a small apartment by lofting your bed. This frees up a ton of floor space for storage. Add a ladder and place a desk or small dining table underneath to create a workspace or lounge area for guests. This small apartment idea is especially helpful for studios, where it’s necessary to carve out separate zones in a single room.

Embrace Neutral Artwork

neutral art white walls living room

“Embracing light and neutral colors is a design secret that can transform a cramped space into an open oasis,” says Andrea Wells, co-founder of Casa de Sana. She suggests soft whites, calming beiges, and gentle grays that will reflect natural light, creating an airy ambiance. “By sticking to this palette not only for the walls, ceilings, and floors, but also artwork and decorative touches you’ll instantly open up the room and make it feel more spacious,” she says. “Neutrals allow visual breathing room, making every corner feel inviting and expansive.”


Reconfigure Your Bedroom

custom headboard paper lantern lighting in bedroom

“If you don’t have room for a bed and nightstands combine headboard and floating nightstands to utilize space and free up the floor to make the room feel more spacious,” says TALD designer Tami Wassong, of Tami Wassong Interiors. “Bed lighting can also be on the wall to free up the top of the nightstand.”


Use Light Paint Colors

Living Room Decorating Ideas, Architecture, neutral room with ceiling medallion

Use light colors on the walls and floor because softer hues make a small apartment feel bigger and brighter. The reflective nature of light colors gives space an open, airy feel and maximizes the effect of natural light. Conversely, dark colors absorb light, making a room look smaller.

Display Art Damage-Free

living room with gallery shelves and l shaped couch

Want to add artwork to your apartment decor but avoid adding too many holes into your walls? Instead of hanging each piece, hang floating shelves and set the art on top. This way, you can layer different pieces and prints while reducing the number of holes in your wall. Or look for adhesive strips as a renter-friendly solution for hanging art.


Employ Storage Containers

small black and white kitchen with open shelves

Sometimes storing ingredients on your kitchen counter is inevitable, especially if your apartment is tight on (or absent of) built-ins. Small storage containers, baskets, and bins can help keep your counters orderly. Shop for containers at thrift stores for a cost-effective option and personalized kitchen.

Hang a Mirror

Round black-rimmed mirror above black cabinet and houseplants in living room

When you place a mirror opposite a window, it bounces natural light around the room, making the space feel airier. The bigger the mirror, the better. At night, a mirror doubles the soft, warm glow given off by the room’s lighting fixtures, making this one of the most effective space-enhancing, small-room tricks.


Consider a Murphy Bed

Reid Rolls

For rooms with multiple functions, explore all-in-one furniture pieces, says Sarah Tract of Sarah Tract Interiors . “For a guest bedroom that doubles as a home office, a Murphy bed and desk unit fits the bill,” she says. “When the bed is down, the room feels cozy and inviting, and when tucked away and of sight, it becomes all business. Not only is this a necessary space saver, but it can help create separation from work, enhancing work/life balance.”

Keep Shelves Clean

Living room with two shelves

The last thing you want in a small apartment is clutter. And that can be difficult, especially if your small space lacks closet storage. But before you overstuff your bookshelves, consider keeping them streamlined and minimal so they don’t overwhelm your small space.


Add Unexpected Seating

Living room with bench seat and floor pillow

A small living room can make entertaining difficult, especially if you can’t fit a large couch. Consider floor seating instead to add extra seating for your guests when they come over, but can easily be tucked away when not in use.

Choose Double Use Furniture

Living room with a leather ottoman

In a small space, you can’t afford to have pieces that serve only one function. Your couch? It’s your Netflix spot and your desk. Your ottoman? A coffee table and a place to rest your feet. Opt for pieces that can serve double duty so you get the most out of every inch.

Pick Rich Materials

Living room with black ottoman

Rich, natural materials can add a lot of depth to any space, but they are particularly effective in a smaller living space. Deep, soft leathers or accents with materials such as burlap can add a lot of texture to a quaint space.


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