Tips for Decorating a Small Apartment in Philly

Your apartment might be in the busiest part of Center City, but you’re paying for that convenience with square footage. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can still decorate to make your house really your home.

Your tiny studio or one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia doesn’t have a lot of extra space, but you still want it to reflect your tastes and personality in some ways. Decorating a small apartment doesn’t have to be challenging. Instead of thinking yourself limited in terms of what you can bring in, think of choosing to display only the things that matter most to you.

Choose Carefully

The first rule of thumb to follow when decorating a small apartment is to choose what you are going to display with care. If you’re moving into your first place, carefully choosing your decorative items can be easier than if you’re downsizing and need to pick and choose from a lifetime’s collection of art and decorative objects.

One way to cull your collection is to hold or look at each item, and taking a cue from Marie Kondo, ask yourself if it “sparks joy.” Can you imagine yourself looking at the item every day and feeling happy about its presence in your apartment? Or are you just hanging on to it because you’ve had it for so long or someone gave it to you long ago?

Stage a Bookcase Room Divider

Once you’ve got a small collection of decorative objects, it’s time to decide how to arrange them. If your apartment has an open layout, a large bookcase with open shelves can do double duty as a room divider and display case. Arrange items on the shelves in odd-numbered groupings. Pay attention to the size and height of objects when you group them, too. For example, a tall vase of flowers will look good next to a shorter figurine and a tea light, while three items of the same height will look dull next to each other.

Use Curtains to Your Advantage

A pair of properly hung curtains can really improve the look of your space. If you have windows that you want to make look even larger, try hanging floor-length curtains slightly above and to the sides of the window frame. That way, none of the actual window is cut off by the curtains and you end up making the space look a bit taller and a bit wider.

Don’t Feel You Have to Be Neutral

Although white walls can make a space feel bigger, don’t feel that you are limited to a neutral color palette when decorating a smaller apartment. A few bright and bold touches can make your studio or one-bedroom feel unique. For example, you can cover one wall with a boldly patterned wallpaper, or pick a brightly colored couch and cover it with a collection of patterned and printed pillows.

The trick is to stick with one bold decorative feature in a smaller space. The bold wall or seating becomes the focal point of the room, but since it’s the only item demanding attention in the space, it doesn’t make the apartment feel smaller or claustrophobic.

Living in a smaller apartment in the heart of Philadelphia doesn’t mean you have to be limited in your design and decorating choices. Instead, you can look at it as an opportunity to pick the items and styles that you love the most.


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