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Tips to Make a Small Apartment Feel Larger

Couple in an apartment putting together furniture


As a result of the 2020 pandemic, we’ve all been spending more time at home these days. And if home is a tiny, cramped apartment in downtown Chicago, you’re probably feeling a bit claustrophobic right about now. Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about your square footage, but there are design tricks you can use to make your apartment appear bigger than it actually is.

Expert Design Tips for a Small Chicago Apartment

With these expert design tips, and a little effort, your apartment will feel bigger, brighter and more spacious.

Use Color Wisely

Dark colors absorb light, while whites and pastels reflect light, making rooms feel bigger and brighter. This goes for not just the paint colors on your walls, but your furniture and décor, too. In fact, choosing different shades of the same color scheme for your walls, furniture and rug will create a sense of visual unity that fools your brain into perceiving the space as more open.

Another trick is to paint the trim a lighter color than the walls to create an optical illusion of depth. Stripes can play games with your eyes, too. Vertical stripes visually lengthen a room, while horizontal stripes widen a narrow space.

Choose the Right Furniture

If your apartment feels overcrowded, your furniture may be the culprit. Rather than a bed with a big bulky headboard or an overstuffed couch, more contemporary pieces with simple, clean lines will make your apartment feel more open and spacious. To make your ceiling seems higher, and rooms therefore larger, choose furniture that is short and low to the ground.

You can also pare down the amount of furniture in your apartment by choosing items that serve multiple purposes, such as a bedframe with built-in drawers so you can forego the extra dresser, and ottomans, end tables and coffee tables that have hidden storage. Translucent furniture is also great for creating the illusion of space. Replace your office desk and chair with clear alternatives and you’ll feel like they aren’t even there.

Keep Décor Off the Floor

The more visible floor space, the larger an apartment feels, so keep clutter off the floor. Instead of a bookshelf, mount shelves to the walls. If you have a flat screen TV, consider mounting it to the wall, as well.

When hanging items on the walls, use the rule of thirds. Art and wall decorations should be hung closer to the lower third, and shelving and storage should be closer to the upper third to draw your eye upward. This creates a heightening effect.

Lighten Up

The more light, the better in a small apartment. Use sheer window treatments that provide privacy, but still allow in natural light, and keep the blinds open during the day. At night, use multiple light sources to spread light around the room.

Mirrors are another great way to add light to your apartment. Like white and pastel paint, mirrors reflect light, making the room feel larger. If your bedroom is small, floor-to-ceiling mirrored closet doors will instantly open the space.

Still Think You Need a Bigger Apartment?

We get it, sometimes, bigger really is better. If you’re ready to move out of your apartment and into one with extra bedrooms or more square footage, we have literally thousands of apartments to choose from in Oak Park, Chicago, River Forest and Forest Park. You can search available apartments online, or call our leasing office at (833) 896-9936.

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35 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302

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