I moved into my first non-dorm apartment about nine months ago. I moved into a 400-square-foot studio apartment with my best friend. A few months later we added a cat, so needless to say our little home can get crowded! I love a comfortable and happy place to come home to, so taking full of advantage of our small space was a huge priority for me. I'm happy to say we found some great solutions, and I am especially happy I can share them with you today! Here are 10 tips for decorating small, rented spaces.1. Give everyday items a home. This tip is number 1, because it's vital for staying sane in a small place. Our front entryway has a long table where we keep three metal baskets. One is where I keep my purse, random bits of mail, or random items of mine. My roommate has her own, and the third is for scarves, hats, and whatever else makes it way in there. When we come in the door we distribute our belongs into the baskets, hang up our jacket, and put our shoes in a row by the front door. This system keeps our apartment from being overrun by these items!
2. Go vertical. Taking advantage of all your space is key, and that includes going up! Since our place is so small, we went with bunk beds. We keep the bedding simple and try to resist hanging items from the bed. You can also choose tall pieces of furniture and other high wall hooks to store items.3. Use a coordinating rug to create interest in the center of the room. Since we don't have a lot of options to leave wall spaces empty, our wall space is pretty packed. To keep the center of the room from looking too sparse and boring, we added a small and coordinating rug! I love the dimension it adds. This is also a great option if you are stuck with ho-hum carpet and cannot change it since you are renting.4. Use your stuff to decorate. You have great stuff, and you have a lot of stuff. So use that stuff to decorate! I stacked our books on the floor next to our chair, instead of adding a bulky bookcase. If you have great jewelry, an interesting collection or a basketful of cute cameras, double up your organization with a decorative edge.5. Paint your furniture. Painting the walls in our place isn't an option, but going bold with bright furniture is! I chose a bright, salmon pink to liven up a thrift store desk. Don't be afraid to choose a bold color that you love, because you can always repaint the item in a few years (or upgrade to a new item!) to suit a new space or your evolving taste.6. Use curtains to cover up unsightliness. If you have any exposed shelving, this tip is perfect for you! I created a little curtain with a vintage pillowcase, some buttons, and an inexpensive mini-curtain rod. We hide our ugly kitchen gadgets behind here. Plus it adds some color!7. Use mirrors to add depth. Mirrors are an excellent tool for elongating and brightening up spaces. The yellow mirror above my desk makes the art wall more dynamic and opens up the space.
8. Stay organized and hide it. This is absolutely vital for keeping your space tidy and pretty. I store all my organized art supplies in bins underneath the bunk bed. I can pull the bins out when I need them, and the little pieces are out of sight for the rest of the time!9. Keep wall art looking airy and light by hanging with binder clips. Frames can be a heavy (and expensive!) accessory for artwork. I chose to hang my Deb Carlos print with inexpensive binder clips and nails. I also used small binder clips to hang up an embroidered piece of fabric. Find hanging solutions that don't clutter your space and that fit your budget.
10. Go with lightweight tables and chairs. This makes entertaining guests a lot easier! Lightweight chairs are easy to move and add to, plus they keep our kitchen vignette from being too cluttered. Being able to rearrange for more people quickly and easily is key in a small space.
If you would like more of these tips in my full apartment tour, click here! xo. Kara