How to Decorate a 400-Square-Foot Apartment


A home that has a small living space presents both advantages and disadvantages for living and decorating. If you're well organized, a 400-square-foot apartment is easy to maintain and keep clean. When contemplating the decor for your small apartment, choose furnishings that serve a dual purpose to cut down on excess pieces. A simple, minimalist approach gives you less of a challenge when you're decorating a small space.

Create Zones

  • A small apartment calls for maximum functionality, especially in a 400-square-foot living space. In a one-room studio apartment, create individual zones or areas dedicated to specific functions, delineated by colorful area rugs or furniture. For example, define the entryway by adding a small console table and wallpaper behind it. Set a small couch or bench covered with colorful textured throws or pillows at the end of the bed, or opt for a Murphy bed that drops down at night when needed. This frees up floor space, making the apartment seem larger, while creating storage space on either side of the bed for clothes and linens.

Think Vertically

  • Instead of just using the floor space in your apartment, use the wall space to mount a flat panel television along with lighting elements on either side of the bed. Shelving attached to studs behind the wall opposite the bed provide a place to store books, your handmade pottery collection or favorite photos -- without impacting floor space. Add a small basket or two to the shelving to store keys or loose change. A few hooks opposite or near the front door allow you to hang coats and constantly used winter clothing and outerwear. A floor-length mirror increases the feeling of space while providing a place to check how you look before outings. Light, breezy curtains hung from ceiling level to the floor can make the room seem taller.

Compact Living

  • When two people are sharing the space in a small apartment, add a drop-down table near the kitchen area. The chairs can sit against the wall in front of the table when it's not in use, or be pulled out for guest seating. If you opted for a bed instead of a futon or trundle bed, raise it off the floor and cover it with a bed skirt to hide the extra storage space beneath it -- or choose a captain's bed with built-in storage drawers to eliminate the need for a dresser.

Eclectic and Clutter Free

  • If your decor tastes range to the eclectic, mix and match different styles with ease -- just don't overdo or over-clutter the space. Keep items you use regularly in organized but easy-to-reach locations. A small hanging rack in the kitchen area set over a small butcher block workspace offers a place for food prep and for hanging pots and pans out of the way, freeing up valuable kitchen real estate. Add artwork to make design statements.

Color Palette

  • One Kings Lane New York stylist Andrew Stewart recommends that you look no farther than your clothes closet for the palette with which to decorate your space. The colors you already like are right there. This makes it easy to choose the paint and decor color palette for your apartment. For example, one client he worked with had a closet full of dusty purples and metallic colors, which were easily translated to the room's decor. When choosing paint, stick to light colors to make the room seem larger, and use your chosen colors for accents and accessories.

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