“Big things come in small packages”

Although it’s just a cliche, it rings true for small condo spaces (and houses too). The natural reaction when looking at a smaller space is to think that it’s too small. It’s not second nature to tell ourselves that we can give it a larger appearance simply by the way we arrange things. And that turns some people away from great condo units.

So today we’ll explore some apartment design ideas that can make a small space look and feel larger than it is. Because when it comes to design and space, much of it is about creating an illusion.

Maximizing the Space In a Small Condo

Why would anyone bother trying to make a small space look big, some of you ask. Why not just look for a bigger place?

The reasons vary buy a tighter budget, limited availability of bigger units and a prime location can limit a person to a smaller apartment. Regardless of the reason, it’s sometimes just more practical to make the most of a less roomy apartment.

With that said, you don’t need extreme methods or to sacrifice all of your furnishings to do so. You just need a bit of knowledge about interior design.

The Basic Tenets Of Creating More Space

Here’s an angle to consider – big rooms that seem small. Why does that happen? Those occupying the space or decorated it simply did not know how to arrange its contents properly, perhaps filling the room with every item possible. The result is a claustrophobic room that you’d rather not even be in. Again, in this case, it’s not that the space is too small, it’s just that there’s too much in it.

Going back to the issues of a small room, similar principles linger here. Putting objects in the wrong place or simply stuffing an already small room will only make things worse.

Fortunately, there are three interior design concepts which can dramatically change the perceived space of a room: scale, light and movement.

  • Scale – The placement of objects in relation to one another and the proportions of the room.
  • Light – The impression of how much light, whether it’s natural or artificial, can enter the room (more light=bigger looking room).
  • Movement – The illusion of there being plenty of room to walk around, move objects up and about the room and a general sense of not having much in your way.

With these principles now defined, here’s how you can put them to use when maximizing a small space. Remodelista has given a fantastic breakdown of how to achieve these effects, and we’ve added some of them below.

Small Apartment Design Tip #1 – Control Your Scale

  • Leave some space between furniture and the boundaries of your room. That means leaving some space between larger furniture items and walls (with the exception of a bed).
  • Rethink your furniture and fixture choices. Bulky sofas, for example, tend to make rooms look stuffier than they are. Sleeker furniture provides just as much space as bulky ones, but look narrow and compact, broadening the look of a room overall.
  • Also, focus on keeping your floor as free as possible. Balance your items to occupy floor space, shelves, walls and closets. A floor that’s free of clutter gives rooms the illusion of having more space.

Small Apartment Design #2 – Let the Light Shine

  • Use more mirrors. They reflect more light, and more light in a room gives it a greater sense of space. Also, mirrors create the perception of more space to human eyes, hence the reason why a mirror can give your room more depth.
  • Get rid of “weighty” objects including drapes, rugs and thick furniture. Without going heavy into science, rugs just give the sense of limited space. Bulky furniture blocks the flow of light, so it’s better to get more streamlined furniture – ideally low and with long legs. Finally, with drapes, it’s your call. Personal choice and privacy might make a drapeless room a no-no. However, if you’re willing to go drapeless, you will naturally attract more light into the room and the lack of curtains will just take up less space anyway.
  • Choose lighter colours, namely white. White (and other light colours) naturally reflect more light, and they make boundaries seem less obvious which creates the illusion of more space. Also, lighter colours can emphasize architectural stylistics that naturally make rooms look bigger.

Small Apartment Design Tip #3 – Add a Little Movement

  • Again, keep your furniture lean and mean. As mentioned before, sleek and trimmed furniture takes up less space, and that gives people the sense that it’s easier to move through the room.
  • Make use of vertical and horizontal arrangement depending on the style of your room. Vertical arrangement (mainly with shelves and hanging fixtures) provides a sense of movement simply because fewer objects take up ground space. Horizontal arrangement can also create a sense of movement by placing lean and light furniture in an orderly, even sequential fashion. This directs the eye to travel in a pattern rather than get lost in a scene of clutter.
  • Allow for a visible pathway. You will have to fiddle around with this one, but you should arrange your furniture in a such a way that there is a dedicated space for people to get in and out of the room. Think of this space as an imaginary hallway.

Benefits of Maximizing a Small Apartment Design

Earlier on, we gave you a few reasons why some might want to make a small space look big, instead of going for a large unit in the first place. It may be due to financial reasons or preference. Either choice is justifiable, but making a small space bigger has benefits for all crowds.

  • Saves money in the long term
  • Motivates you to use your creative muscles
  • Teaches you about economy of space
  • Prevents first-time condo buyers from feeling deprived
  • Allows you to enjoy the perks of condo living without the added chores that come with living in a big space 

Getting More From Less

If you’re currently faced with a small apartment design, don’t fret. The solution isn’t to long for the days when you can buy a new one, but rather, to learn how to make that small space look bigger. With the tips listed in this post, it’s a task you can accomplish with a bit of planning and effort.

The beauty of maximizing a smaller space to look larger is that you can make it look more grand without having more to clean and maintain. And with less time and energy spent cleaning up a bigger unit, you can sit back and enjoy the beautiful space you’ve arranged!