Clever Decorating Tips for Small Apartment Living

The best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has inspired many people to think critically about their belongings. The key to this system of decluttering in your apartment is to discard that which doesn’t bring joy. When you’ve spent a lifetime curating objects that make you smile, scaling that collection to a smaller living space is incredibly difficult. If you “think outside the shelves”, you can maximize the use of wall space to display and enjoy your things.

Turn shoeboxes into shadowboxes

Sweet Shadowbox

Create a sweet shadowbox to highlight items that are near and dear to your heart. Credit: Sophie’s treasures… by Faylyne on flickr creative commons

You may be hanging on to old family documents as keepsakes for your children or grandchildren, but that doesn’t mean they should be hidden in a box in the closet. Consider framing vintage birth certificates, passports, or letters. With some velvet and an inexpensive shadowbox, you can display class rings or wedding bands that have been passed down.

[ Related: Interior Design for Your Small Apartment ]

Keep Your Kitchen within Reach

A wall-mounted magnetic knife bar is a very useful and practical touch to any kitchen. Credit: Knives by Kyle Marsh on flickr creative commons

Many heavily-used kitchen items can be stored and displayed on walls to free up your cabinets and drawers. A wall-mounted magnetic knife bar near your cutting space puts your important tools handy. A mug tree or a simple set of hooks screwed into the bottom of a cabinet shelf makes for homey, practical decor. In fact, you may wish to stock up on hooks: Attaching your utensils to a wall or cabinet near the stove means you’ll never have to dig for a gravy ladle.

Think Murphy Beds

modern folding desk

Credit: Completely refinished mid-century modern folding desk by Paris on Ponce & Le Maison Rouge on flickr creative commons

Murphy Beds are increasing in popularity today for the same reason they were invented in the early 1900s: to make the most of smaller living spaces. While their price and size makes them a less than ideal choice for many people, taking inspiration from fold-away furniture can be a great way of creating more space. A desk that folds against the wall can create a dedicated nook for doing homework, writing, or using a laptop. A picture frame light is a great way to keep your spot illuminated without sacrificing floor space.

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Downsizing to a small apartment adds an element of challenge to setting up your home, but also provides fodder for creativity. Finding new strategies for arranging your belongings can be the most exciting part of unpacking and decorating.

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Rosarie Escalante

Rosarie Escalante divides her time between writing, thrifting, and flea marketing. Follow her at @rosariewrites.

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