Downsizing from a two-bedroom loft in one part of Singapore to a 450 square foot apartment in another doesn’t necessarily mean downsizing on living. Just because you’ve moved houses to a cozier, and smaller apartment doesn’t equate to having to throw away most of your furniture and belongings.
Homeowners tend to believe that they’ll have to either keep most of their items in storage or get rid of it entirely if they want to keep their apartment spacious. While that is one way to go about the situation, it isn’t the only way.
The trick is to optimize every corner of your apartment and making every area as functional as possible. The biggest issue people have with trying to make everything fit into a smaller space is clutter. The goal, therefore, is twofold: Keep all of your items instead of throwing them away, and keep your living space from looking like a mess.
Design Tips to Optimize Space
Assess The Floor Plan and Dedicate Space Accordingly
Source: Renopedia, 13th Design Studio
An empty apartment is a lot like a blank canvas; the ways in which you can decorate are endless. Homeowners tend to get creative in designing and decorating their living space. Small apartment owners, on the other hand, take creativity up a few notches.
The first thing you’ll need to do is assess the floor plan of the entire apartment. In a smaller living space, you can’t expect to have a kitchen and a dining room, or a bedroom and a guest room. There are some apartments that are scaled down even further than that.
However, you shouldn’t limit yourself from having a dining set just because you don’t have a dining room. Instead, you need to get creative with the space that you have and execute your aesthetic accordingly.
For example, instead of a larger dining room set, go with a smaller round one. Most small apartments don’t have kitchen islands which makes a smaller table serve a dual purpose – an island and a dining set.
You could also place it strategically by the window to give it a comforting vibe, or by the radiator to use it for added seating. With a radiator cover, one small table, and two chairs at best you have yourself an entire dining room set cum kitchen island.
Use Colors to Your Advantage
Color schemes and patterns go a lot further than just being aesthetically pleasing to look at. They actually serve multiple purposes including optimizing living spaces. Colors tend to trick us into believing there’s more space than there actually is.
Take this for an example, a room with a dark wallpaper or with darker tones will look smaller than it actually is. There are several reasons for this, primarily the fact that darker colors aren’t as reflective as lighter ones.
On the other hand, lighter colors such as pastels or neutrals are reflective and they allow light to bounce around. This creates the illusion of more space even if there really isn’t any.
Another way you could incorporate color to optimize your space is by separating adjoining living spaces with different colors. For example, if you want the living room to be made distinct from the dining room, you can paint one room a neutral white and the other a pastel green.
This breaks away from the monotony of having one color all over the apartment plus gives the illusion of more space.
Mirrors and Reflective Corners
Source: Renopedia, Distinctidentity
Designing 101 dictates that to make a living space look larger than it actually is you’ll need to incorporate reflective items into your apartment. The first item that comes to mind is obviously a mirror.
Mirrors places strategically against a light source allow light to bounce around in the room and makes it appear more breathable. If the light source is through a window or any other natural source, the space is opened up even further.
Similarly, incorporating reflective corners such as tiles in the kitchen or in the bathroom can also serve the same purpose as a mirror. It opens up space by seeming brighter.
Dual Purpose Furniture
Source: Pexels, Kesnya Chernya
This one’s a no-brainer. If you want functionality, you’ll need to go for furniture that serves more purposes than one. For example, an ottoman that can be used as a table, a couch that can be used as a bed, or a vanity that can be used as a desk.
Dual purpose furniture is a necessity for smaller apartments and for people who need to declutter. Alternatively, you could incorporate items that serve storage and functional purposes. For example, wall desks and attached light sources.
Have Things Mounted
Item in the Photo: Seanachan Industrial Swing Arm Wall Lamp
A smaller apartment can look messier in half the time it would take a larger apartment to appear messy. Clutter can inherently make your living space shrink – whether you’re living in an apartment or in a mansion.
Having things mounted increases living space and optimizes walkways. The last thing you’d want is to be tripping over furniture in your own home. You can mount scones instead of buying standing lamps, wall racks, and hooks.
For a wide range of wall scones, check out our catalogue.
Use Larger Furnishings
This one might sound counter-intuitive. You have a small apartment as is, why would you incorporate larger furnishings into it? The answer’s simple: larger furnishings give the illusion of larger spaces if placed strategically.
For example, if you have a large bed in a small bedroom, but just one sole bed then the space would appear spacious. It’s all about placement and optimizing what is needed and what isn’t.
Likewise, with a larger bed, you can’t dish out on larger bedside tables or the space will appear limited. Instead, you might need to buy floating tables to maintain the illusion of space.
A smaller apartment doesn’t mean you’ll have to have a garage sale or get rid of your belongings. Down-sizing on living space does not equate to down-sizing on living needs. A small apartment holds a lot more potential than it’s given credit for. You just need to get creative with it.