5 decorating tips from a pro that will make your small apartment feel bigger

5 decorating tips from a pro that will make your small apartment feel bigger
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Back in the early 2000s, I lived in a studio apartment in Uptown. The rent was great, and Uptown was adding new restaurants almost weekly. It was a fun time and place, but I couldn’t sustain it. That’s because it was nearly impossible for me to live in what was essentially a hotel room. Yes, it was that small.

Looking at the apartment boom around the city, I wonder how others are faring. With rents well into the $1,500 range, these apartments have it all: stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, amenities out the wazoo and great views.

But the renters are still living in a really small space.

How can one thrive in a small space without feeling as cramped as I did in my small studio 15 years ago? I reached out to Charlotte interior designer Margaret Fisher for thoughts on thinking outside the (500-square-foot) box to make form follow function.



(1) Follow the light

“Take advantage of natural light where you can but add artificial light to brighten dark corners. If you don’t have room for large side tables you can use wall or ceiling mounted light fixtures. A mirror is also a good tool for reflecting light where you don’t have a window.”

apartment dining table

(2) Find your (multiple) purpose

“Purchase furniture that will be cohesive in any part of the dwelling and can serve multiple purposes.  Apartment sofas can transform into sleeper beds for overnight guests. A chair in a corner of a bedroom or by a desk can be pulled out for extra seating around a dining table. Coffee tables can have storage for blankets or board games.”

apartment interior design

(3) Go big 

“Use floor coverings that fit the room. The larger the rug the larger the room will feel. Carpets are also great tools for adding texture and warmth to a space.”

apartment bedroom

(4) Go top shelf

“Every square foot should be considered useable space, but in a way that does not create clutter. A nook in a wall or unused closet can become bookshelves with a built in or drop down desk for a workspace. Whether in the kitchen, under stairs or in your bedroom.”


(5) Look up

“Draw the eye up, especially if you have low ceilings. If you have cabinets or are adding built in shelving, take it to the ceiling. Vertical space is just as important as horizontal space. Long curtain panels are great (mounted just below the ceiling) for layering texture and pattern and creating a softness.”

curtains-to the ceiling

Photos via Ashton South End, Elif Altinbasak via Flickr, Houzz, VRBO and Solis Square Apartments.

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