modern apartment

8 Tips For Decorating An Apartment

You don’t need to let a small space—or a small budget—hold you back from turning your home into a beautifully designed haven. Decorating is all about following some simple design principles and making choices that reflect you. “If a space is well-designed, it feels like a great dress or suit on your body—it flows,” says Gail Green, founder and principal of Gail Green Interiors in New York City and author of An Insider’s Guide to Interior Design for Small Spaces.

Here’s how to give your apartment that great fit—without spending a lot of money.

1. Make A Budget

The first step in setting a budget is to think big picture, says Green. Is your apartment a temporary space, or do you intend to stay there for years? If the latter, it may make sense to invest more up front. Also, consider spending money on a one-hour consultation with a designer or architect; a pro can quickly give you a list of ideas that will meet your budget. It will also likely get you a better end result, even if you think you have a good eye. “Good taste has nothing to do with good design,” says Green.

GEICO can help with renters insurance.

2. Embrace Paint

A hand with a paint roller covered in teal blue paint, painting over a white wallPainting is the most visually effective thing you can do when you have a limited budget, says Green. Paint adds personality and can even make the space feel bigger. Make the walls and ceiling the same light color; the ceiling will blend with the rest of the room, making the space feel more open and airy. And don’t skimp on materials. A higher-quality paint offers better coverage and can keep you from having to apply multiple coats, which can save you money (and time, if you’re doing the job yourself).

3. Scale Your Furniture

Avoid bulky or oversize furniture in a small apartment, says Green, as it will eat up your space. Also, stay away from furniture with skirts; visible legs keep the space more open by giving the impression of air floating under and over the furniture.

4. Get Creative With Furnishings

Small mobile cube ottomans are very versatile, says Libby Langdon, an interior designer and president of New York City-based Libby Langdon Interiors. Use them to prop up your feet or for extra seating, or add a tray on top to make a small side table. You could also push a few together with a tray to create a big serving space. In the bedroom, she says, you can save money on a headboard by creating one visually. Use painter’s tape to create an outline of a headboard shape, and then paint the rest of the wall. When you peel the tape off, the unpainted lines suggest a headboard in whatever shape you’ve chosen. She also recommends painting used furniture as a way of inexpensively refurbishing it.

5. Copy A Layout

“A good layout can visually quadruple the size of a space,” says Langdon, though she admits that this is one of toughest things about decorating a small space. So don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Langdon recommends researching sample layouts in books or magazines, or visiting a furniture store to check out their apartment layouts.

6. Go Big With Rugs

Small rugs chop up a space, says Langdon, making it seem smaller. “A larger rug gives a more expansive feel to a room,” she says. Choose a rug that covers most of the floor, stopping 6 or 7 inches from the wall. Save money by having a rug store cut a remnant carpet to fit your room and then binding it.

7. Light The Corners

home decorLighting is paramount,” says Langdon. Use a mix of table and floor lamps to make sure you illuminate all four corners of a room. “If there’s an area left dark, it closes the room in visually and makes it seem like that square footage isn’t there,” she says. Use as tall a table lamp as possible; this adds scale and height, makes the room feel bigger and provides a better spread of light.

8. Make The Walls Pop

Never let a wall sit empty, says Langdon, especially in the living room. If you can’t afford one large piece of art, group several inexpensive frames together, and then fill them with images that speak to you—maybe pictures from a trip, inspirational quotes or images you love from Instagram. “Artwork announces your personal style,” says Langdon.

Bonus: Wall-Mounted Plant Instructions

wall-mounted plantsMake some living art for your space! This DIY from Nifty comes together for less than $15 and adds some much-needed greenery to any space.



a mountable plant
sheet moss
wood board (reclaimed/recycled if you can!)
thin wire
sawtooth picture hanger
several nails

craft materialsInstructions

1. Nail hanger on back of wood you will be using

2. Figure out placement of plant on the board, then add nails in the same shape of the plant base, about ½ inch wider.

3. After creating a circle of nails, remove excess dirt from plant (keeping roots intact) and place on board.

4. Using moss and wire, secure the plant on the board.

5. Hang and enjoy!

Now that your place looks awesome, help protect it with renters insurance through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Get a free, fast quote now.

Read more: How To Protect Your Apartment From Burglaries

By Julie Anne Russell

GEICO can help protect your home.

    Leave a comment

  1. Terry Wilson says,

    These are great tips. In this photo, it appears to be a high ceiling loft. I like how the red brings a ‘False ceiling’ effect to balance to room with the black and white. The fire place and mantle are awesome and a lower area to focus away from a lofty ceiling , sometimes unattractive. I personally would add more splotches of color but like brighter colors. I see where these could be added, however with works of art on the walls. Thank you.

  2. Lynne Erpelding says,

    I am an Interior designer and I really enjoyed your tips…I’m working on a small space now and I learned something….Lighting…Thank you

  3. Ellen Egel says,

    The room in the picture looks open and airy. I like the black and white basic theme with pops of color. It really is a beautiful space and offers some great ideas. My main room isn’t as large as the room shown but it definitely has some ideas I can use.

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  5. Alison M Sirak says,

    I don’t know where you guys are seeing a fireplace. Also there is a tree in the corner and a mirror on the floor. And a tv.

    • Mildred Riley says,

      I am looking at a mantel so I just assumed that is a fireplace and that mirror is small. Large mirrors makes a room appear larger.

      This is what I would do. Go large or stay small.

      P.S. that plant is small. I said a tall tree plant. Thank you.

      So since u r speaking about my ideas, remember this is my idea…where are yours….please stay positive and stop criticizing others. Ideas, ideas, ideas…remember


    Thank you. Amazing tips. I like the idea of adding my favorite quotes in the wall.

    • Nelly says,

      They mistook the TV for a fireplace; obviously.
      I think some of the ideals are pretty good , like a big rug, lighting, small scale furniture and nice frames ❣️??

    • Nelly says,

      Daniel, if you’re Not Happy Where you are – You Need To Find a New Place where you will be happy .
      Life is too short to settle and Not be happy❣️
      I Wish You Luck???

  7. Mildred Riley Lewis says,

    P.S. I would also add a flat screen TV or a large sz pretty mirror above the fireplace…just saying?

  8. Mildred Riley says,

    Looks really good but I would add a large bamboo, ficus, or Japanese Fruticosa Tree to the right corner next to the fire place, to fill that space. Try it….?

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