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  • Writer's pictureJulie Sousa

6 Hacks That Will Make Your Small Apartment Feel Like a Mini Mansion

Updated: Oct 21, 2020

Simple and Easy (Yet Often Overlooked) Tips to Help You Maximize Your Living Space


Is your living space feeling EXTRA small lately? Don't worry, you're not alone (and quite literally for some of us). Unfortunately, none of the tips I'm about to give you include magically making your roommates or significant other vanish in thin air, but I can assure you, they will definitely make your living space feel a hell of a lot bigger than it currently does.

1. Curtains 101

Simple, yet so many are unaware of it. I learned this about a year after living here. I remember reading about it, and bolting straight to shop for new curtains (and thank God I did).

I don’t have to sell you on this, it sells itself – just take a look at this before and after pic of how I hung my curtains.

Convinced? You better be. If not, then I blame the photos. Sure, one could argue that the angles are different in both pics, and that the couch in the before picture was obviously too big for the space, but trust me when I tell you – it did make a huge difference when I hung it up correctly, even with a chunky couch.

Anyways, with this hack, the point is to go from floor-to-ceiling with your curtains (it'll elongate your room). Be sure to install your curtain rods as close to the ceiling (or crown molding) as possible – maybe 1-2” from either (whichever one you have).

Of course, if you have exceptionally high ceilings, that might not work for you, so just be sure to go far above your window trim. If this is you and you’re unsure, feel free to send me a DM with photos – I’m happy to help.

Another important consideration is width, ESPECIALLY in a small space. You don’t want to block any natural light, so extend your curtain rods far beyond the window trim. When your curtains are open, the inner edges should sit right at the trim.

Lastly, on the length of your actual curtains... the bottom hem should kiss the floor. You’re not waiting for a flood, so don’t go too short, and you don’t want them to flood at the bottom either (a whole look to be discussed at a later date).

2. Rug size matters

Take a look at my before picture from the curtain tip (lol). That rug is clearly too small (although I did buy it intentionally to last me through puppy training). A rug too small will make a space look cramped; and funny enough, one too big will also (have I made this easy for you yet?). Shopping for rugs is like Goldilocks – there’s a size that’s JUST right. At the very least, ensure all of the front legs of your furniture are on the rug. Below is an infographic I found to be super helpful.

3. Choose light paint colors

This is a tough one. While light colors will make the space seem bigger, if you have a small apartment, light walls can mean more maintenance.

If you think whites are going to be too high maintenance for you in terms of cleaning, opt for a very light grey or a light off-white. (My before picture just keeps hitting homeruns with exactly what not to do, feel free to scroll up to take another look at the dark olive green I became a victim of).

4. House of Mirrors

Create depth within a space by using mirrors. Angle them to bounce natural or artificial light, to create a brighter ambiance. Have you ever been in or seen a funhouse? The purpose of them is to create an illusion of something much larger. “Our brains perceive this reflection as the light directly from the source”, and thus creates the illusion of depth. Basically, magic.

5. Legs for days

When I say legs, I am referring to an open base. The openness allows air and light to flow through, creating the sense that the space is larger than it is.

Avoid matching all of your bases though, I mean, unless you’re going for that 70’s look like this one above.

In my living room (photo below), I incorporated the abstract coffee table to differentiate it from the couch’s legs (hate the sound of that, "couch's legs"). The contrast helps it flow together nicely, without it being overly matchy.

6. Declutter / Get Organized

This one can be overwhelming, but I recently found ways to declutter in a way that I also enjoy it. If you’re someone like me who enjoys decorating, then continue to invest time into it. After all, you need to stage your decor perfectly, right? This means there won’t be room for clutter. When the finished product is aesthetically pleasing, it makes the arduous task a lot more rewarding

If you don’t like decorating though, or are just not in the mood to tackle the clutter, then start by taking 5 minutes of each day. Think simple and small tasks. Even devoting as little as 5 minutes can really help create that space that you're looking for.

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