The Perfect Property

Ten Budget-Friendly Ways To Make A Small Apartment Look Bigger

by Zachary Thompson

If you're thinking of renting a small apartment, maybe even a studio, you're probably trying to figure out ways to create more space in the unit. In addition to actually making more physical space, you also want to know how to give the visual illusion of more space. Read on to learn how to design an apartment home that looks more serene and tranquil for you and more inviting to visitors through its appearance of greater size.


You may have heard that using mirrors is a great way to make your place look bigger, but if you're like many apartment dwellers, it may be hard to haul large mirrors to your home, and the giant-size ones are way out of your budget. Instead, purchase multiple smaller, inexpensive mirrors from a dollar, thrift, or discount store, frame them uniformly (you can even build your own frames), and hang them in a grouping on one wall.

Faux View

Want to give the illusion of more windows in your apartment? Try creating a faux view. You can use a wall-size photo mural, mural wallpaper, or paint a trompe l'oeil scene on one wall. Frame it with curtains or shutters to give the full effect of a real window.

Raised Furniture

To give further illusion of space, get your bulkiest pieces of furniture off the floor. Look for sofas, stereo cabinets, and hutches with legs, or add legs to your existing pieces. Consider a hanging chair instead of a traditional armchair. Being able to see the floor under your furniture will give a sense of the space being much larger.

Tall Shelves

If you're a book lover, you probably have a few bookshelves or like apartments with built-in shelves. Shelves that go all the way to the ceiling draw the eye upward and therefore make your apartment look taller. You can accomplish this by placing two shelves on top of each other (with wall anchors for safety) or by topping already tall built-ins with moldings that reach to the ceiling.

Clean Kitchen Surfaces

The kitchen is one of the trickiest places to eliminate countertop clutter that makes your place feel closed in. To open it up visually, try to get as much stuff as possible into drawers by double layering them with baskets or dividers. Place a freestanding wire rack over your sink to house items that would be normally spread across the counter on either side of it.

Light Palette

You probably know that a light color palette usually makes most homes look bigger. Go one step further by using the same color for both your walls and trim (use a satin finish on the walls and a glossy or semi-glossy paint on the trim). Use your accessories for color instead of your large surfaces.

Bathroom Tricks

Don't despair over a tiny bathroom. A pedestal sink, glass shower doors, or a shower curtain hung from the floor to the ceiling can all make your throne room look more palatial.

Clever Office Space

If you have a home office, desk, or craft space, this can be a cluttered area that makes your apartment look smaller than it is. Try paring down your wardrobe or belongings enough to free up a closet, and convert it to an office. When not in use, you can shut the door and streamline the room.

Efficient Doors

Door swing area can take up a lot of precious real estate in a small apartment. If you think you might be renting for the long term, consider spending the money to convert a few conventional swing doors to pocket doors, or simply remove the doors altogether, to gain more space. You can use curtains instead if you still want the privacy.


Rugs add warmth and style to any apartment, but they have to be the right size to give visual space to your home. Just like with paint, lighter colors will add spaciousness, and using large rugs anchored under major pieces of furniture will extend the eye's view.

Don't let small square footage keep you from taking an apartment in a great location. Use the tips above, and you can have your apartment cake and eat it too! For help finding a great apartment, contact a company like Gerber Management Services.