Sunday, 10 July 2016

Seven tips for decorating a compact apartment

I was recently asked by Bupa Home Insurance for my thoughts on decorating and design for small apartments. It was actually a really useful exercise as it made me sit down and think about my approach to small spaces. I thought I’d share my thoughts in a very long over due blog post!

1. Start with an over all concept. Use Pinterest or Houzz to collect images that you like and that reflect your personal style. This will help you build a clear vision for the look you are hoping to achieve.

2. Select your floor, paint and joinery colours first. They will act as the back drop for everything else and form the foundation for your entire scheme. I always know when I have these pieces right, they read as one complete ‘story’ without anything feeling out of place or disjointed.

3. Well thought our storage is key! Think about how best you can hide away unsightly items, ensuring the space is both functional and beautiful.

A study nook, great for hiding away a computer when its not needed. Design by Annie Bowen, Gallop Lifestyle.

4. Think carefully about your furniture placement. Careful planning at the beginning helps you avoid any costly mistakes, like having a sofa that is too big or a table that won’t fit up the stairs to your apartment!

5. Try not to over crowd each room. I prefer to add pieces if they are needed once the key elements are in place rather than over ordering at the beginning.

Image: Rue Magazine. Photography by Tessa Neustadt. Interior Design by Homepolish Designer Haley Weidenbaum.

6. I tend to choose furniture with clean lines and a clear vision underneath. For example, being able to see the floor underneath a sofa makes a room feel more spacious than if the furniture hugs the floor. 

 A recent project, photo from my Instagram account (professional photography coming soon!). Interior design by Annie Bowen, Gallop Lifestyle.

7. Placing all the furniture up against the wall doesn’t always make a space feel bigger! So often I visit apartments that have all the tables, sofas, chairs etc pushed up against the walls or in a corner. Sometimes moving a piece away from the wall can make a space feel more user friendly, with a natural pathway rather than just a corridor to walk through.

Image from Chloe Planinsek Instagram.

I was delighted to be asked to contribute to the Bupa article, which focuses on creative storage solutions for apartment living. For further tips on how to maximise your small space from premier interior designers from all across Australia, visit the Bupa Home Insurance blog here.


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  2. Decorating needs to be kept to a very minimal especially at areas with a huge space constraint. The idea is to add a touch of personalisation but not to overdo it to prevent a sense of disorderliness. If you feel like adding a storage cabinet to give a personal touch, do not add too many items on it else the clutter will slowly settle in.