Every single thing in a small apartment should play a special role in making it functional, stylish and homely. Selecting the wrong furniture and cramming it full of too many accessories can have the effect of making your apartment look even smaller than it already does.
To help you avoid making serious mistakes and in turn create the home of your dreams, we put together this list of ten things you should never put in a small apartment. You can create a harmonious and stylish interior just by following these simple rules.
Taboo number 1: Installing a large chandelier
A large chandelier certainly makes for a striking piece of furniture. It might create a great and glamorous atmosphere and make your apartment look absolutely charming. However, it’s a bad choice for a tiny apartment, because it quite simply takes over the whole room. It’s much better in this case to create a complex pattern of light using additional ceiling-fitted lamps placed around the perimeter of the room, together with any natural light sources. This helps to visually expand the size of the living space and changes your perception of its shape.
Taboo number 2: Using dark colours
Do not use dark colours which visually absorb the light in a room — your tiny apartment will look ’heavy’ and uncomfortable. It’s much better to choose light colours: for instance, install laminate flooring imitating bleached oak; paint the walls a milky colour; buy some light beige furniture for the apartment. Accessories always help to make the interior brighter: for example, cushions, lemon-coloured curtains or a carpet with a red and white geometric pattern.
Taboo number 3: A multi-level ceiling
Although multi-level ceilings can look great and feel right for a large, roomy apartment, they’re not a good option for a small one: they look awkward and make your home seem overloaded and cramped. In contrast, a smooth and light ceiling on one level is a perfect decision. It can be a plastered surface or a suspended structure. In the former case you will get elegant simplicity, while in the latter you will get a great amount of well-directed light.
Taboo number 4: Massive furniture
Without any doubt, a traditional English-style sofa or a massive antique chest of drawers can look really luxurious brighten a place up, but such design choices turn into drawbacks in a small apartment. Instead, choose modern and light things, like chairs made of transparent plastic in the kitchen or a glass coffee table in the living room.
Also, take a look at convertible, space-saving furniture. A fold-out bed in the children’s room gives extra space for your kids to play during the day, whilst a table can be spread out for a social occasion or folded up when you’ve got work to do.
Taboo number 5: Partitions
If you live in a small apartment, just forget about partitions: they look far better in a large studio apartment or a spacious country cottage. The problem is that partitions will ’cut’ the room into non-functional little ’cages’. Instead, think creatively. Need some space for yourself? Set a low podium near the window, place a desk there and an armchair — and voila! Your working/chill-out zone is ready! Need to divide up the children’s room for two siblings? Decorate one part of the room with a different wallpaper or shade of paint than the other. Need a separate dining area in the kitchen? Use photo wallpaper or brickwork on that designated part of the wall.
Taboo number 6: Massive doors
Dark doors highlight the borders of a small room and ’break’ it up visually. Light-coloured door panels are way more practical and aesthetically pleasing. Glass door might be a good idea as well. They will make your apartment seem elegant and charming. Take a look at sliding doors, which are very compact. The best choice is to avoid doors at all and make decorative arches instead.
Taboo number 7: Large paintings and lots of patterns
A large picture on the wall is a grandiose and sometimes highly worthwhile design choice. However, you should use it very carefully in a small apartment: it also visually reduces the size of the room. Another common mistake is to have a great variety of patterns. Even if you want to arrange the living room in Shabby-chic style, do not choose wallpaper, cushions and furniture with floral print. Choose textiles with a delicate pattern. Paint the walls in a monochrome colour and buy a light-coloured sofa. Highlight only one wall with a large picture (the one near the bed or the desk).
Taboo number 8: Using more than three colours
You should be extremely careful when choosing the main colour scale for a small apartment. There must only be three colours, no more! Avoid too many contrasts — they hurt the eyes. Neutral colours with additional shades are the best option for a small apartment.
Taboo number 9: Too many accessories
Sometimes it is hard to achieve a stylish, minimalistic interior in a small apartment. But you should at least try not to overload the room with accessories. Choose just a few bright, eye-catching items. The best option: decorative elements which perform both an aesthetic and a functional role. Put a vase with unusual elongated shape in the living room, and a mirror with a big frame in the hall.
Taboo number 10: Massive drapes
Curtains made of French jacquard or velvet which gleam brightly in the light do not suit small apartments. Heavy drapes create the appearance of an extra wall, but your goal should be to expand the space available to you and to achieve a certain lightness to the interior of your home. Instead, decorate the windows with tulle or light-coloured curtains — the apartment will seem lighter and brighter, which will help visually expand the sense of space in the room.