Apartment ideas – 10 ways to decorate for impact

Apartment ideas – 10 ways to decorate for impact

Decorating an apartment needs to be done with more forethought than you would apply to a whole house. For one, apartment ideas need to include world-class storage that's incredibly stylish, since they are unlikely to be hidden away; color schemes might need to be space-enhancing and will need to work room-to-room as well as across the whole apartment; and, of course, you'll need to ensure that every room's purpose is carefully defined.

It sounds challenging, and it is. However, with expert interior design advice it's very doable. We have gathered decorating ideas from a range of industry professionals so your apartment's design is second-to-none.

From tricks with lighting to clever ways with storage and display, these apartment ideas will kickstart your remodel.

Fitted storage ideas are the best way to make the most of every inch of space, but if you lease your apartment, you may need to look for a more flexible option that you can take with you when you relocate. Take a leaf out of Neptune's book when creating a piece that looks bespoke or fitted, but isn't.

‘We designed Chawton with small spaces and apartment living in mind. It’s an incredibly flexible piece as it’s made up of individual sections that you can combine to make a storage piece as large or as petite as you need. 

'Tall and skinny, floor to ceiling, just a sideboard, even graduated to fit under the slope of a ceiling – the possibilities are endless. And, as each section is built as a piece of furniture in its own right, you can easily split them apart to form separate storage pieces should your needs change in the future,' says Henry Tovey, lead furniture designer at Neptune.

Open-plan living room ideas are tempting in apartments, but you will need to employ some tricks to ensure the space feels zoned, purposeful and cozy, but also streamlined and uncluttered. No mean feat, but Sarah Vanrenen and Louisa Greville Williams, directors at Vanrenen GW Designs, offer this know-how about the sublime space above: 

'The client wanted the apartment to be cozy and pretty implementing our signature use of color and pattern. By taking out the walls in the main living space we created a really lovely seamless interior that flows from one area to the other. 

'We also cleverly hid the television in the bookcase, to the left of the fireplace. There are doors with fake books on the front that conceal it very neatly.'

While you might subtly vary paint tones or patterns room-by-room, add one flooring type throughout to your list of apartment ideas.

'Apartments work best from an interior design point of view when they flow visually. Choosing the same flooring will help this no end especially if you have an open plan layout. Keep walls light in color, a lovely off white will keep give the space an airy feel and if you team it with wooden floorboards that will add warmth,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor, Period Living.

That said, adding large area rugs beneath furniture to unite the color schemes and help define the different spaces will be a useful extra design tool to have up your sleeve.

We talked above about zoning spaces within apartments, particularly ones with larger, open-plan spaces. One way to do this is with color, another is with furniture. Above, you can see how the living space is divided from the kitchen with a sofa, backed by a console table. 

'Making a home feel comfortable is always a priority when designing a space, as is creating something that feels unique to each individual. Incorporating a mix of pattern, print and texture creates a space that feels layered and nuanced, allowing key pieces and features of the room to come to foreground. 

'This can be particularly effective when curating different areas within one large open-plan living space,' says Katie Lion, senior interior designer at Kitesgrove.  

'Textures are key to making any space work and in an apartment you can use them to add depth. Remember that you need to use smooth textures too for contrast – like this sectional couch which looks fabulous against the exposed brick walls, add in the tactile velvet pillows and use of wood and the space is full of character and style,' says Jennifer Ebert, digital editor, Homes & Gardens 

'As apartments can be on the smaller side, your furniture shape can play a big part in how your space flows; for example, a round dining table is going to be a lot friendlier and more space-efficient than a square or rectangular one. 

'This Lindye Galloway designed dining room shows how to make it work successfully – the table and the curvy chairs sat on a circular coir rug give a much softer feel. The glass pendant follows that trend too,' says Lucy Searle, global editor in chief, Homes & Gardens.

'Similar to how dark walls can transform a small room or a patterned wallpaper can bring interest to otherwise dull space, a patterned carpet is an inspired way to make a feature in an apartment, adding interest and character. However it is important to choose the right patterned carpet depending on the size of the space,' says Jodie Hatton, design manager at Brintons.

Here, graphic lines have the same effect as checked tiles on floors, tricking the eye into seeing the space as longer and wider than it really is.

'Make the most of high ceilings and beautiful architectural detailing by painting it all in one shade. It's contemporary and takes a period property to the next style level, and match your drapes to it too! The jet black office furniture with gold trim adds a retro edge and as the designs are slimline it's not heavy on the eye,' says Melanie Griffiths, editor, Period Living.

Sometimes the best apartment ideas are subtle, which can mean painting walls a muted or soft neutral, and allowing the shapes, materials and textures of the furniture do the talking.

'You can’t go wrong with a neutral wall, as it complements other colors well and creates a crisp, versatile backdrop. For this dining room, Mylands’ warm off-white shade Clerkenwell™ No. 21 provides the neutrality of a bright white, which quietly offsets the soft grey of Hoxton Grey™ No.72 woodwork, providing an understated backdrop to showcase the beautiful antique and vintage furniture and artworks,' says Dominic Myland, Mylands’ CEO.

Often apartments can have small bathrooms; to combat limited space, keep it light, airy and clutter free, a simple toning down of the decor can be transformative.

'We have been advocating a “less is more” design approach for years and we think it's a movement that is becoming global. Today, we are moving away from ephemeral trends to focus on creating unique and timeless places; lasting spaces that reflect ourselves,' say interior designers Raphaël Le Berre and Thomas Vevaud from Le Berre Vevaud. 

The best way to style an apartment is to focus on the following:

There are many ways to make an apartment feel larger, but these are the most effective:

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