Bold and Bright Apartment Design – Big Ideas for Small Spaces

When it comes to interior design in small spaces, I’m here to help you think outside the box, even if you feel like you’re living in one!  After 5 seasons of filming the HGTV Show, Small Space, Big Style I amassed so many small space design tips that I actually wrote a book about it, Libby Langdon’s Small Space Solutions!  I’m here to tell you that living with less doesn’t have to mean living without luxury, sometimes living with less is the ULTIMATE luxury!  If you have a small apartment but want to make some bold design choices, read on, I’ve got a ton of tips to help you love your apartment no matter the square footage!

Keep it Moving

Multifunctional furniture capitalizes on your available square footage and lets a room serve more than one purpose. Small, easy to move ottomans can serve as one large cocktail ottoman if pulled together, they can also be pulled up to a dining table as seating or a spot to set a tray and double as a side table.  A folding console table can be pulled around in front of sofa seating, opened, and create a makeshift dining area for several people. Curved barrel back swivel chairs don’t take up too much space and allow for ease of movement when passing by.

Make a Statement:

In a compact living environment, every piece of furniture deserves to make a statement. Choose bold and eye-catching pieces that blend seamlessly with your overall design vision. A vibrant sofa in a striking shade, a patterned armchair that demands attention, or an avant-garde coffee table that becomes the centerpiece of your living room – these are the elements that add personality and panache to your small space.  Even a small space like a foyer can make a big impression. Fun wallpaper can spice up a space if you isolate it to one wall. You can use big artwork or a large mirror, people think it’s a small foyer so use small things on the wall but it’s actually just the opposite! Use large, oversized wall décor to add visual interest and scale which makes the small space seem larger.

Rich Colors Rule:

In a small space people feel that they have to leave their walls white, but that doesn’t add square footage and just leaves a room feeling bland and uninspired.  Painting one wall a bold rich color and painting the other walls a light color can actually make the one dark wall feel like it’s receding, making your room look larger.  Another key is to contrast with furniture, using lighter fabrics to pop in front of the dark wall or darker fabrics to contrast against a light wall. Get artwork up on the wall to help break up the color and add dimension and depth. Don’t be afraid to infuse your small apartment with hues that show your personality and announce your own personal style!

Dining by Design:

A dining banquette works great for a small dining area, it doesn’t have to be a built-in, a freestanding piece of furniture works because light and air pass below the seat keeping it feeling open and less clunky. A banquette settee or sofette can be pushed up against a wall and you don’t have to allow for the space to pull a chair out so that adds about three extra feet of dining space.  Using a dining table that has a center pedestal base makes it easy to slide in and out of the banquette and a glass tabletop helps establish the open feel. Be sure to hang drapes all the way up to the ceiling, visually it draws your eye upward making the ceiling seem higher and your room feel bigger.

Layers of Light:

One of the most important design elements is having enough lighting!   If there is a dark corner that isn’t lit it’s as if that square footage isn’t there and it closes in your space.  Make sure all 4 corners of the room are lit, with a combo of table lamps, floor lamps, recessed ceiling fixtures and chandeliers.  When light is traveling all throughout the space it seems much brighter and bigger.  You can also amplify the sense of space in a small apartment with mirrors! Mirrors can become your most valuable tool in visually expanding a room, especially when they are hung on a wall directly opposite a window. Strategically placed mirrors have the power to reflect natural light during the day and artificial light at night, creating an illusion of a larger and more open area. You can explore unconventional mirror shapes and styles to infuse a stylish touch of eclectic elegance into your home.

Maximize Storage with Style:

The secret to conquering small spaces lies in clever storage solutions that marry functionality with a great design aesthetic. I encourage you to think beyond traditional storage options like plastic bins and explore chic materials like natural woven jute baskets, fabric covered boxes or even plexi box designs. Incorporating floating shelves gets you using your walls and all that great vertical space for storage.  It’s the perfect way to capitalize on the space you have, and you can showcase everything from cherished mementos to stylish baskets that hide clutter in plain sight. There are so many ways to find stylish storage solutions that not only maximize space but also add a dynamic design element to your apartment.

When it comes to creating a bold and bright apartment design, square footage is just a detail, the size of the space does not have to define your small space design. Your creativity, imagination, and daring choices can transform your small space into a cool canvas of self-expression and a beautifully designed spot you will love coming home to. So, jump in and embrace vibrant, bold use of color, incorporate cool, curated furniture pieces, add a luxurious lighting scheme, and utilize the magic of mirrors. You show your small apartment that you are in charge, and YOU’VE GOT THIS!

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