Decades ago, sitcoms used to show young and beautiful people just starting their careers living in the ‘big city’ with large spacious apartments that were able to comfortably fit entire parties of people inside of it (I’m looking at you Friends). And maybe I’m the only one, but I really used to believe that’s how life was going to be for me when I got out on my own. Boy, that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. In reality, those ‘big city’ apartments are far smaller than I ever imagined.
Recognizing how many people are making homes in tiny apartments in the city, I thought it’d be a good idea to impart some of the knowledge I gained while living in my tiny space. You know, some helpful ways to make your space more spacious than it would be otherwise.
Here’s what I came up with.
We are three-dimensional creatures, that means we live in a world with width, depth, and… you guessed it… hight. Yet we still always seem to put everything at eye-level. Instead, utilize the wall space you have, place some decorative shelving up there.
Floating shelves are one of the hottest home decor pieces right now, and they’re just as practical as they are beautiful. Take advantage of that to keep your apartment chic, all while being efficient with the space you have.
Once upon a time, Murphy beds were one of the best ways to make use of what little space somebody had. They were a great invention, that is until they became tropes for slapstick routines that seemingly overnight made anyone with a Murphy bed the butt of a joke. I think the Cosby Show even had a bit about that.
Thankfully, Murphy beds are making a comeback. Only this time, they’re chic, stylish and best of all, multi-functional. Today’s Murphy beds can transform from the place you sleep to the place you work in a matter of seconds.
Part of living in tiny spaces is having little to no separation between rooms. And if you work at home, this can be a huge detriment to production. Room dividers can be a great way to provide privacy why doubling as great decor for your home. My favorite are those Japanese style panel dividers.
No matter how large or small your apartment is, there is one thing that you can count on, it will have windows. Use that to your advantage. Sunlight illuminates the entirety of your apartment, getting rid of dark shadowy corners that tend to draw attention to how small the room actually is. Open up those blinds, and let the outside in. The hit of serotonin (the happy hormone) that you’ll get from the sunlight will do more than brighten up your apartment too.
Sometimes it’s not as much about creating more space than is about giving the illusion of there being more space; a mirror is a great way to do just that. Well placed mirrors don’t just make the room look larger, they also reflect the natural light that shines in from the windows.
Not only that, but mirrors are, themselves, decorative and provide an excellent centerpiece for wall art to go with. Plus, you get to see yourself, and who can’t get behind that.
In apartments with multiple rooms, it’s okay to go with intricate designs and color combinations. In tiny spaces, you should keep colors to a minimum; it’s one of those less is more scenarios. Stick to about two colors, then design the entire living space to accommodate that color scheme.
Throw in some wall art, throws, amazing bed sheets and accent pillows, and you’ve got a beautiful living space that you’ll be proud to call home.
One of my favorite things about living in a tiny apartment (I like to look at the silver lining) is that it forces me to pay attention to economy of space. When you have a lot of space, you end up having a lot of crap with half your stuff being something you neither need or want. But you got to fill space somehow, so you keep it anyways.
Maybe I’m just being the eternal optimist here; but living in a tiny space somehow feels liberating. There’s no clutter, and I’ve still got the apartment of my dreams. It’s just not as big as I thought it would be.
Sebastian Morales is Founder and CEO of Good & Bed. Prior to Starting Good & Bed, Sebastian was an investment banker based in New York City.