On television sets, the cast of Friends can live in a large apartment in New York even while working middle-class jobs. Those of us who live in reality realize that space is a commodity, with the price per square inch rising higher and higher every day.
Perhaps that’s why we love television shows about people in large families living in matchbox-size homes and making it work: Because if they can do it, maybe we can, too. The reality of living in a small space can include clutter, disorder, and chaos.
Or, with the right gumption and forethought, it can be every bit as peaceful and comfortable as they make it out to be on TV. If you want to live in that comfortable zone, here are some decorating ideas that actually make sense in the real world.
Ask the Experts
You don’t take care of yourself when you’re sick without checking in with your doctor, so if you’re home is in disarray, it doesn’t make sense to try to handle it without getting some expert advice. Over on All the Stuff, expert home designers were asked about their tips and tricks for decorating a studio apartment. This is a great place to start if you really want to get a handle on decorating your small living space.
Purge the Clutter
Nothing makes a home feel less well-designed than clutter taking up the whole room. If you want your small space to look well-decorated, your first step should be to get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy. Small spaces can feel cramped and cluttered, so it’s critical to give yourself more room to work with by having less unnecessary junk in your home.
When used correctly, mirrors can have an enhancing effect on a room. For example, a large mirror placed on one side of the room can make the room look twice as large as it actually is. In a room with no windows, having a mirror with a window-pane frame can give off the illusion of extra light in the room, and if you put a plant in front of it, it can give off the illusion of extra greenery as well. This strategic placement of mirrors can liven up your living quarters drastically.
Decorate with Lights
Poor lighting is one of the worst qualities a home can have, making it feel dreary, dismal, and hard to live in. Meanwhile, when you live in a small home, it can be hard to find space for decorative pieces that really pull the room together. Kill two birds with one stone by choosing unique lighting fixtures that can second as decorative accent pieces in your room. This is a really clean, easy way to make your home look more intentionally designed.
Rely on Storage
It can not be emphasized enough that when you live in a small home, space is a commodity. Make the most of that commodity by ensuring that as much furniture as possible seconds as storage. Not only does this allow you to tuck any remaining clutter you have out of sight, but it also allows you to buy less furniture, which in turn takes up less room. For example, if you purchase a bed with built-in drawers underneath it, you eliminate the need for a dresser in your bedroom.
Another great option is to repurpose storage that’s already in the home. For example, maybe you have a large kitchen but aren’t much of a cook. In that case, you may be able to use some of your kitchen cabinets to store things you don’t have room for elsewhere in the house, like extra sheets or bath towels.
Choose What You Love
The final step to decorating a small space like a pro is to make it a space you want to be in. When you’re limiting yourself to only a few items, you should take the time to make sure you really love every item you’re purchasing. Spend extra time when picking out your furniture and decorations to ensure you’re in love with every item you bring into your home.
Decorating for a small space relies on moderation. Great decorating ideas rely not on picking the right theme or the perfect DIY project—though you certainly can do those things as well—but on choosing to limit what you bring into your space to the things you truly can’t live without. When you do that, you’ll open your home up, making it feel warmer and more inviting, and you’ll love being there more as a result.