Planning out the layout for your lifestyle (Eating, working, sleeping)
One of the first things you want to do when walking around your new apartment is to get some ideas on where you want to do things. Think about your life at home, your lifestyle, and what would make you the happiest. Do you want a home gym? Do you want a big sofa to lounge around and give guests plenty of room to sit? Do you have a daily yoga practice, or are you an active VR gamer who needs plenty of space? Do you use the bedroom for sleeping, or do you like to relax in an easy chair and read? The list goes on and on, so think about your daily life and configure your home layout to suit your needs.
Before making any large purchases, spend some time getting used to your new home and its layout. Imagine yourself in different situations and how things would work out best in the long run. Give yourself time to settle in before making any big purchases.
In the kitchen, it’s essential to consider how much cooking you do. While you won’t be able to change the existing counter space, you can add more with kitchen islands. These come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and can help expand your usable space. They also have shelves and drawers beneath them, perfect for storing pots and pans, you can also use baskets to keep things out of sight.
If you have cabinets with dead space, you can add pull-out trays, lazy Susan’s, and other organizational tools to help maximize the usable space. You can add tension rods under the sink to hang your cleaning supplies from, or in cabinets to act as vertical dividers for upright cookie sheets.
There are many styles of drawer organizers that go a long way in keeping things clutter-free. From silverware trays to spice racks, with everything in its place, you won’t need to comb through a disorganized mess.
On your refrigerator, a magnet is your best friend. This is a great way to add additional storage to your kitchen, from clips that hold menus, to bins for notepads, there are many different products available. Some of the most popular are small jars that hold tea and spices and magnetic paper towel holders.
When it comes to dining, you want to ensure that there is enough seating for entertaining. Where would the best place be to put the dining table? Round dining tables contribute to the flow and are an excellent choice for smaller dining areas, as they won’t have sharp corners obstructing the path. Rectangular dining tables work well in a larger room or in open floor plans to distinguish the separation between spaces better.
The living room is often the most used room in the house. This is where you will relax, entertain, and unwind, so consider incorporating multiple types of furniture. For example, having a sofa, a love seat, or a reading chair will give you and your guests multiple seating options. Having everyone sitting on one couch is fine for watching a movie but impedes the flow of conversation when you can’t face each other.
To create an impromptu guest room, consider a sleeper sofa. Traditionally heavy and hard to move, designers have developed comfortable and light weight alternatives that are perfect for moving into a high-rise apartment. Turn your living room into a multi-purpose space by unfolding that cozy sofa into a sleeping set-up for a guest.
Your bedroom will be primarily used for sleeping and should be optimized for restful slumber. In the best-case scenario, the headboard should be against a wall without a window and with the door in sight. If this is possible in your room, then this should be your starting point. If not, find the most comfortable compromise that you can
If you do not have a closet, consider investing in a wardrobe. These tall, sleek cabinets hold plenty of clothes while also keeping a low profile, making them excellent for small bedrooms. If you have a dresser, try to keep the top organized. Since your bedroom is for relaxing, you want to keep things as clutter-free as possible.
If your bedroom is used as a multi-function space, consider how the room will be divided. You can create distinctions by having a rug under the bed while leaving the other side with the original flooring.
Choosing Furniture that is the correct size for your space
Having the right-sized furniture will maintain the balance of a room and equalize the visual aesthetic. The first step is to measure each room and draw out a floor plan. Having these measurements in front of you in an easy-to-read layout will make furniture buying much more manageable.
Once you have determined your layout, you can figure out the best furniture dimensions. It’s always best to choose the largest furniture pieces first and then work off their color, design, and style.
Whether you go with a round or rectangular table, you want to maintain at least 48” of space from the table to the wall. This will leave plenty of room to comfortably move around without chairs bumping into the walls. The size of your table and the number of chairs will be determined by how much space you have and want to give to the dining area. This is commonly the room that sees the least activity, so plan accordingly.
How large a sofa you should get will depend on the size of the room, but if you are someone who likes to lounge, then going bigger is usually better. The standard-fit is 18” of space on either side of the sofa and for it not to occupy the entire length of a wall. A couch that is 2/3rds the wall length is a good general measurement. It’s important to remember that you will want side tables for lamps, drinks, and snacks, so leave space on each end to accommodate this.
Your coffee table needs to give enough space around it for walking, without feeling too small, too tall, or too short. To find the perfect height, measure your sofa. Your coffee table should be 1-2 inches shorter than the sofa seat cushions and, like the sofa, follows a 2/3rds rule when measured against the length of your sofa.
The focal point of your bedroom should be your beautiful bed. A queen should be the minimum for most bedrooms, and if you have the space (or share the bed with a sprawler), you won’t regret a king. For smaller apartments, a murphy bed that you can fold up will give you more space to use during the day for other activities.
When choosing nightstands, allow for a few inches of space around them. The top of your nightstand should be level with the top of your mattress or a few inches taller. Any shorter than the mattress and you risk knocking things off in your sleep.
Your personal preference will determine your bed height, but there is more to it than just aesthetic. An excellent way to measure the best bed size is to go to a mattress store and sit on the edge of a bed. If your feet are flat on the floor and your knees are straight with your hips, then this is a good height for you.
For aesthetics, a lower bed will make your room look more spacious and modern, though you will miss out on storage beneath the bed. On the other hand, a taller bed has a more classic appeal and certain advantages. Getting out of bed in the morning will be easier; you can store things beneath it, and there is also the cleanliness factor; it is much easier to vacuum around a bed that is not resting on the ground.
How to Maximize Your Vertical Wall Space
While the furniture you choose will contribute significantly to the aesthetic of your new apartment, what you hang on the walls could be considered the finishing touches. How you manage your wall space can dramatically improve your storage capabilities if you live in a smaller apartment.
Shelving and Bookcases
One of the most common uses of vertical space is to install shelving. Whether you go with single shelves or a floor-to-ceiling bookcase, this is a practical way to increase your storage. Shelves are great for holding books, candles, knickknacks, and photos. The shallower the shelf, the less space it will take up, so keep this in mind for areas with heavy traffic.
Tall bookcases can do all this and more by incorporating baskets that hold (and hide) many other items. You can use these to store shoes, electronics, records, and whatever else you want to be tucked away. Make sure to attach all furniture to the wall if you have small children, to prevent these from toppling over and causing an injury.
Adding a shelf to your bedroom closet above the coat rack will give you additional space to store items. To keep things organized, label baskets for storage, this way, you won’t need to pull them down every time to see what they contain.
If you lack an entryway closet, wall hooks will be your new best friend. Not only will these hold your coats, but you can also use them for keys, purses, umbrellas, and more. Hooks come in all styles, shapes, designs, and colors, and can add a personal touch along with their practical application. There are many novelty hooks, like those that are monogrammed or shaped like animals, which can double as décor.
A cleverly placed hook on the back of the door can hold a broom, dustpan, even a stepladder. And if you have a bicycle that must stay in your home, consider installing a heavy-duty hook and hanging your bike in an out-of-the-way corner.
In the kitchen, hooks can hold all sorts of things, from oven mitts to pots and pans. Using hooks in this way also has the added feature of creating an eye-catching display. For example, gather a collection of colorful coffee mugs or copper-bottomed pans, and hang these on hooks along a wall. They will be easier to get than digging through a cabinet and double as charming wall art.
Hooks for Plants
Installing ceiling hooks in the corner of a room creates the perfect place to hang a lively green plant. Nothing contributes to the welcoming vibe of a home the way that a thriving plant will. Hanging a trailing plant in the corner will add a pop of color and improve your interior air quality, win-win!
Art, Art, and More Art
Hanging art is the most direct and impactful way to claim vertical space and showcase your personality. One option is to follow color schemes and themes, selecting art in specific shades and styles for each room. For example, displaying relaxing scenes and shades of blue and green in the bedroom and bathroom while highlighting hues of red and orange in dining (colors known to excite and stimulate, perfect for digestion!). In the hallway, you can display personal photos that bring you joy, creating a photomural as you venture from one room to the next.
When hanging art, you typically want the center of the piece to be at eye level. If you have tall ceilings, considering stacking one piece atop another, doing so will cause the eyes to gravitate upwards and make the room seem more significant. At the same time, have fun with your artwork! It doesn’t always have to be symmetrical, and you can use artwork to create a visual flow that directs the eyes where you want them.
Choosing Pieces that are dual-purpose
To save space, select furniture pieces which offer more than one purpose. A side table that also doubles as a small bookcase. A credenza that you can store your video games and records in. A bedframe that comes with pull-out storage drawers beneath it. Dual-purpose furniture will help you conserve space and maximize your home's potential.
Decorating Tips to make the space feel bigger (Mirrors, less clutter)
To make a room feel bigger, mirrors will be your best friend. A well-placed wall mirror will reflect natural light around a room and double the perception of livable space. The common mistake is using a mirror that is too small. In the case of increasing visual space, bigger is better. To cut down on the bulkiness, choose a thinner frame when going with a larger mirror. The goal here is to throw more natural light and give the perception of a bigger room. The mirror does not always have to be a focal point to achieve this. A frameless mirror sitting on a fireplace mantle or over a headboard will do its job while letting the viewer take in all the other aspects of the room.
Like artwork, the sweet spot for hanging a mirror is at eye level. To keep it from feeling cramped, you want to maintain at least a 2” space between any wall hangings and the ceiling. When hanging a mirror, consider placing a light source near it. A floor lamp is an excellent option, as it conveys a style all on its own and, when coupled with a mirror, will throw multitudes more light around a room.