20 Apartment Decor Ideas That Prove Small Spaces Can Have a Big Impact
Decorating an apartment can be tricky, but these ingenious products will make any apartment more stylish.
Many apartment dwellers struggle to decorate their homes due to budget constraints and landlord-imposed limitations. But the modern apartment needn’t be devoid of style or personality; in fact, there are countless apartment design ideas out there to make a rental space more stylish and functional. Many retailers have designed products specifically to combat the issues that many renters face. Read on for apartment decor inspiration and cool apartment ideas.
1. Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
When moving into a new apartment, renters are often stuck with blank walls painted in a dismal shade of landlord-special white. Luckily, recent innovations have allowed renters to get a whole lot more creative with their wall treatments. Peel-and-stick wallpaper is a perfect solution for adding a temporary pop of color and pattern to any room without the hassle of applying—or removing—regular wallpaper. This Tempaper x Genevieve Gorder print feels both timeless and modern and will add visual interest to any space.
2. Murphy Beds
Many apartments—especially in large metropolitan areas—tend to have limited square footage, and it can be tricky to find space for everything. Murphy beds often feature among space-saving apartment ideas because they’re an excellent solution for small spaces, folding up into the wall when they’re not in use. This model from Bestar doubles as a desk, enabling a room to do double duty as a home office and occasional guest room.
3. Nesting Tables
Entertaining in a small space can be difficult, so carefully choosing furniture is essential. Nesting tables provide an opportunity to have more surface space when needed but will tuck away compactly when they’re not being used. This two-pack of nesting tables from Target comes in three finishes, allowing shoppers to choose an option that matches their decor.
4. Floating Shelves
All apartment dwellers can take advantage of vertical space. Even if floor space is limited, wall space can still be used for both practical storage and to add personality through decor pieces. These floating shelves come in a pack of three and provide a great way to display houseplants, books, picture frames, and other decor pieces. They’re available in a wide variety of finishes to best suit the room’s decor style.
5. Sheer Curtains
Unlike standalone homes, apartments often lack privacy, with people in neighboring buildings able to see inside easily. While there are many types of window treatments available that provide privacy, most also block out sunlight and therefore aren’t the best option for daytime use. These sheer curtains, however, allow plenty of light in while still providing privacy, making them perfect for apartments in densely populated areas.
6. Convertible Desks
Working from home has become increasingly popular in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but not all apartments have a sufficient amount of space for residents to set up permanent home offices. By using a convertible desk like this one, however, it’s possible to fold down the desktop as needed and fold it up to save space when it’s not being used.
7. Peel-and-Stick Backsplash
Rental apartments often have outdated kitchens and bathrooms, and it can be difficult to spruce them up on a budget. One ingenious solution is peel-and-stick backsplash panels, which are easy to apply and allow users to completely change the look of their kitchens and bathrooms. These classic white subway tiles have a timeless look that will elevate any space.
8. Stylish Floor Lamps
Overhead lighting in many apartment complexes can be harsh and unflattering, and in many cases, renters aren’t able to change these fixtures. Instead, they should consider adding a floor lamp to spaces requiring more ambiance, like living rooms and bedrooms. This rattan model from Home Depot is perfectly on-trend and creates a muted lighting effect due to its shade.
9. Storage Ottomans
Apartment dwellers are always in search of smart storage solutions, and ottomans featuring internal storage are a terrific option for living rooms. The Alexandria Storage Ottoman by Christopher Knight Home measures 31 by 31 inches with a height of 18.6 inches, making it ideal for storing throw blankets, decorative pillows, or family photo albums.
10. Contact Paper Countertops
As with kitchen and bathroom backsplashes, countertops in these spaces can look dated in some apartments. Rather than live with out-of-date counters, apartment dwellers should consider undertaking a DIY project with printed contact paper. This style has a subtle motif that mimics natural marble and can be completely removed without leaving any sticky residue behind.
11. Gallery Walls
Adding personality to an apartment is easy enough with the right tools. A gallery wall kit like this one allows users to fill the frames with personal photos and meaningful artwork to make any space feel like home. The kit comes with seven frames in varying sizes, each featuring a simple black frame and classic white matting.
12. Rolling Kitchen Carts
In apartments that lack kitchen countertop space, adding a movable kitchen island or rolling kitchen cart can provide an additional workspace for food prep. The Laurel Foundry Modern Farmhouse Nagata Kitchen Cart is available in five colors and includes both open and closed storage space. The wheels lock into place and can be removed entirely for users who choose to keep it in one set space.
13. Narrow Shelving Units
Standard bookcases may be too large to fit in some small spaces, but a compact model like this one can be a great solution. Measuring just 12 inches deep with a minimalistic profile, it takes up a small amount of visual space. As an added bonus, this model is available in many different styles, so there are options to suit nearly any space. Three-shelf and six-shelf versions are also available.
14. Floor Mirrors
Many small apartment ideas involve tips for making a space feel larger, and adding mirrors to a room is one of the oldest tricks in the book. By opting for a large floor mirror, like this one from Etsy, any room will feel more open and spacious. This mirror has an on-trend curvy frame and is available in a wide range of colors to match shoppers’ apartment decor.
15. Additional Lighting
When considering how to decorate an apartment, one thing that many neglect is lighting. Many older buildings feature poorly lit hallways and stairwells, so adding lighting can have both aesthetic and practical benefits. These motion sensor lights can be permanently installed or used as portable night lights, and they feature motion sensor technology, powering on when motion is detected. They’re available in two wood finishes to best suit shoppers’ tastes.
16. Room Dividers
While many apartment living room ideas are meant to make a space feel more open, sometimes a large space needs to be divided in order to create two separate living areas. Room dividers are a great solution to this problem, and this one has a chic plum blossom design that will serve as a visually interesting addition to any space.
17. Picture Rail Molding
Since many apartments don’t allow renters to make holes in the walls to hang picture frames, many apartment decorating ideas involve workarounds that allow renters to display artwork. This ingenious product offers a chic solution, including brass hooks that affix to decorative moldings. The set comes with five hooks, and each one includes a 6.5-foot stainless steel cord.
18. Wall Decals
Decorating a nursery or child’s room in an apartment can be difficult if there are limitations on painting and hanging artwork. One great budget decor idea is using peel-and-stick wall decals to create a mural effect. This one from Amazon features a vintage sunflower design, and while it’s sticky enough to stay in place, it can also be removed with ease when it comes time to move or redecorate.
19. Unique Cabinet Knobs
Sometimes the smallest changes can make the biggest impact. While many renters may think they’re stuck with the hardware on their kitchen cabinets, it can easily be swapped out for something more fun or stylish. These cute knobs from Etsy feature herbs and spices in clear resin and will add personality to any kitchen. The knobs are sold individually, and shoppers can choose from a long list of spices to customize their choice.
20. Bar Carts
Apartment furniture typically needs to be compact, and this mid-century bar cart from Nathan James perfectly fits the bill. It’s available in three colorways and features a two-tier system, providing plenty of space to store liquor bottles and cocktail-making supplies. It’s set on rolling casters, so it can easily be moved around as needed.