How to Decorate a Small Apartment.


Living in Manhattan, one must get used to small space dwelling. I’ve lived here for nearly ten years now, and I’ve had some rather creative living situations. In my first two apartments, my roommate and I split the living room in half to form a second bedroom… using bookshelves. In one studio apartment, my bed was literally three feet away from the kitchen. I could actually reach over from my bed to get something out of the fridge. Special. Now, I live in a lofted studio and feel really lucky to have my bed up high and out of the way, so that the main floor/actual studio can all be used for living space. I forget how small it is until friends from out of town visit and tease me.

I’m no interior designer, but here are some of my favorite items… as well as five tips for decorating your own small space. Nordstrom has some really gorgeous home accents right now and their return policy + speedy shipping make online shopping a breeze.

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1. Stick to a light neutral color palette (think creams and tans) with one accent color. Creamy nudes + ivories will make the space look bigger, and a pop of color keeps things from getting boring. By default, my accent color is blue (thanks to my sister and her beautiful pillows!) but I really love how red or pink can pop against a neutral palette.

2. Add dimension to the room through texture as opposed to color. In a small space, a lot of color will be overpowering and make the room look even smaller. I layered my area rugs (layering a cowhide over my oriental rug) and draped sheepskins over my chairs + couch to add interest without overwhelming the space. If it’s all in the same color family, it won’t be busy or make the room look small.

3. Make this your mantra: Everything must be beautiful, functional, or both. And if it makes for extra storage then that’s just brilliant. If you truly abide by this, then it won’t matter if things get left out (like this chic coffee pot) Stash odds and ends in a pretty jar, and be ruthless in what you bring into your space.

4. Keep knick knacks to a minimum, but keep them luxe (and in the same color family.) A diffuser + ceramic bowl for your keys will elevate even the saddest looking entryway, and a fancy candle on your coffee table will make for a luxe treat to enjoy after a long day.

5. Poufs are your friend! They’re pretty, make for great seating, and double as extra seating in a pinch. I love this wool one… it will add warmth to a room in the coming (chillier!) months.

Created in partnership with Nordstrom.

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  1. I think these are good tips no matter where someone lives. I have a house and try to keep things neutral and clutter free. I try to only buy things that I love that serve a function and will last.

    8.5.15 Reply
  2. This is great! My apartment is tiny as well (just a littleeee bigger than the typical NYC one, since I live in NJ), so I have to be super careful with every little thing I buy to make sure it will fit.

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  3. Such cute picks, Grace!

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  4. Number 3 is a great tip! Helps reduce impulse purchases and clutter.

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  5. I want all of these! Bit first I need a place of my own to put them all.

    Shae @ Current Habits

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  6. Love the idea of a pouf! I just moved into a new apartment and my boyfriend and I are desperate for more seating options

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  7. I have a small apartment and keeping similar colors going throughout my place definitely helps! Simple décor yet pieces that pop!

    C’s Collection |

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  8. Fabulous post. Great tips and very inspirational. If you keep the pallet in one hue you can also opt for a bit of colour. It sounds controversial but works!

    8.6.15 Reply
  9. Thank for suggesting a color pallet. I was wondering what colors would be nice without making the room darker. My apartment relies on artificial light most of the time, even in the day, to lighten it up. I did lots of stuff and reorganized my lamps, I sold my old big overhead light for small lamps as they prove more effective in lighting rooms. This will really help me lighting it up.

    9.28.15 Reply
  10. Wow ten years, I’m sure when you move out to a bigger place, you will never have problems with furniture arrangement and decoration. I personally don’t know how to mix and match colors and decorating the interior of our house. Thanks for giving us the tips.

    1.5.16 Reply