Residing in New York City, a locale infamous for comically small apartments, non-existent closet space, and dormitory-style kitchenettes, I find myself navigating the challenges of a place where real estate comes at a premium. Like many others in this bustling metropolis, I've had to get quite creative with how I utilize my limited space.
Every square inch is precious to me, so when it comes to creating the illusion of space, I'm eager to explore any small apartment ideas. Seeking expert advice to address the challenges of furnishing in the face of limited space, I reached out to professionals not only for my benefit but also for anyone grappling with the same issue.
This isn't just a New York City problem – whether you're attempting to maximize a small guest room or dealing with a square footage challenge elsewhere, the desire to create an illusion of more room is universal. Read on to discover the best-kept secrets of interior designers for optimizing even the tiniest of spaces.
How to maximize limited space
Livingetc knows design.
Interior designer S.A. "Sam" Jernigan asserts that color is a crucial element where breaking the rules can yield significant benefits. She suggests considering dramatic hues for the walls or ceiling, but advises against heavy contrast, as our eye is always seeking contrast and "stops" when that's found: "In a more diminutive room, washing over architectural elements that might typically be painted in a contrast (e.g., trim) color can instead be painted in the same hue as what's adjacent or behind them - thus creating a clean, unbroken sightline, which then serves to visually expand the space.”
While maintaining a singular color palette achieves this, Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, a NY-based interior design studio, favors a lighter one for its ability to brighten the room and create the illusion of a more expansive space.
These elongated curtain panels create the illusion of a taller room. Ideal for white or cream-colored interiors, they add a touch of sophistication. Choose black for darker rooms and enjoy the transformative effect.
According to Sam, low contrast is the key to maximizing small spaces. This tis one of the best rugs, with its subtle design, provides compelling visual interest without overwhelming.
Challie Stillman, VP of Creative at NY-based design store Resource Furniture, suggests opting for multifunctional furniture to open up a room and make it feel larger. For example, in bedrooms where the bed occupies most of the square footage, folding it away when not in use maximizes the available space.
Professional home organizer Laura Price adds that an ottoman sofa is another excellent example of multifunctional furniture, providing extra storage built into the sofa, perfect for storing blankets or bedding, achieving two purposes with one piece.
Meet your perfect home office and guest room solution with this chic Murphy bed. Compact and modern in its storage cabinet form, it effortlessly transforms to accommodate a full or queen-sized bed.
You'd never believe that this glam corduroy sofa doubles as a sleeping space. Seating two comfortably as a couch, it effortlessly converts into a twin-sized bed for overnight guests. Raved about for its comfort, it seamlessly combines style and functionality.
Enhance your bedroom or entryway with this boucle upholstered bench, providing a stylish solution to conceal throws, toys, or knick-knacks. The soft-to-touch boucle upholstery adds texture, making it a sophisticated and practical addition to your space.
Mirrors are the go-to optical illusion for designers aiming to enhance our perception of space. Sam advises against using small-scale mirrors in smaller spaces, recommending larger mirrors as a "verse optical illusion" that fools the eye into perceiving a space as more expansive than it is. The frame matters, too. Instead of choosing a greater number of subdued mirrors, Sam suggests opting for a couple of larger mirrors with a more substantial appearance. The placement of mirrors is equally crucial, with designers favoring unexpected locations, such as behind large furniture pieces or in room corners.
Embrace rustic charm with this grand mirror surrounded by solid teak wood. A lovely focal point for any space, this mirror brings warmth and character, making a bold statement in solid teak.
Overcome space constraints with this oversized Pinterest-worthy floor mirror. Its massive presence exponentially increases the perceived space in your room.
Reduce Visual Clutter
Laura emphasizes that one of the easiest ways to maximize small living spaces is by reducing visual clutter. The organizational expert elaborates, “having excess items on surfaces, unnecessary furniture, or even too many plants all contribute to visual clutter, which makes the room feel smaller and can make us more stressed. For areas of the room that feel overcrowded, try taking a few items away; you’ll be surprised at what a difference it can make.” For those wondering where to store extra items, concealed cabinets, as recommended by Artem, or stackable storage boxes are fantastic options, particularly suitable for cupboards with tall shelving.
These stackable seagrass storage baskets are so appealing that they don't need to be hidden. Their neutral, earthy charm complements various spaces, providing a stylish solution for organized storage that effortlessly merges with your decor.
Achieve ample storage without visual clutter with this raised credenza from CB2. Its elevated design creates the illusion of a more airy space, combining functionality with a sleek and modern aesthetic.
Don't leave without exploring these small apartment living room ideas.
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Formerly covering fashion at L’Officiel USA, style maven Julia Demer brings her love of design to Livingetc’s world of interiors. As the title’s Style Editor, Julia's work reflects a sharp eye for detail and an innate passion for aesthetics. Her journey began with a strong foundation in design, honing her craft at renowned establishments like The Row and even establishing her own eponymous fashion brand. Julia’s design background is evident in the way she thoughtfully curates shopping edits, always maintaining a focus on emerging trends while preserving timeless sensibilities. For Julia, fashion and interiors go hand in hand, reflecting her lifelong commitment to perfecting the art of style.
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