It’s spring, and even though you live in a small apartment, you can still celebrate the season. Spring traditionally is a time for reorganization and following are some great ideas for small apartment improvement.
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Painting a wall, or all the walls, gives you an opportunity to brighten your apartment and add a fresh, new feeling to your décor. Your apartment management company may need to give you permission to paint, so check your lease. Some managers may allow you to paint if you agree to return the walls to their original color. Once again, read your lease.
If you have a good relationship with your landlord, he or she may be aware the unit needs painting and may even pay for all or part of the paint. Don’t get your heart set on neon orange for a wall color; you won’t live there forever, and the next tenant may not appreciate neon colors.
When you are ready to paint, try a very pale, spring green or light mint color. A soft green will enhance a feeling of serenity, as will most pastel shades. Greens evoke the season of spring and re-growth. Buy small test size jars of the colors you think you like. Take them home and paint 6”x6” test patches on the wall and then watch the colors for a few days. You will see how color changes throughout the day and what it looks like at night.
Once you narrow the choices down to one or two it will be easy to decide. Remember, paints often dry to a slightly different shade once applied to a wall, so be patient. Light colors on your walls provide a neutral backdrop for your furnishings and allow you to keep a soft palette throughout or to choose accents of more intense colors.
Linens and Window Coverings
Linens and window treatments are easily swapped out for spring. Remove your flannel bed linens and replace with soft, bamboo sheets in light and airy colors. Invest in a bamboo–or organic cotton–cover for your quilt, in a color that coordinates or matches your sheets, and you will have a bed reminiscent of a soft cloud. Add full length sheer curtain panels to your windows to create the feeling of a breeze on a warm spring day.
Spring is a good time to reassess the items you have on tables, shelves and counters. It is easy to accumulate stuff during the winter when shopping and gift giving provide a wealth of tchotchkes. If you have begun a collection of art pieces, like blown glass vases, give them a thorough cleaning and re-think their placement. Are they visible as stand-alone objects or do you have a lot of stuff cluttering the space? Create vignettes with three or five objects in order for you and your guests to appreciate the objects without visual clutter. You will find each piece intrinsically more interesting this way.
In a small apartment, accessories made of glass or pottery that have significant negative space design are superior choices because they don’t completely block sight lines. Place a variety of sizes and shapes into a vignette on a shelf, counter or table. Try to incorporate a fashionable bowl near your apartment’s entrance as a catch-all for keys, wallets and mail. Reducing clutter in a small apartment is a great way to keep the whole place visually appealing.
Although your studio apartment, like one of these, may feel too small to house you and a group of plants, please reconsider. Green plants provide numerous positive health benefits in an apartment–like cleansing the air, removing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. There’s no need to create a jungle, but a windowsill can become a tiny herb garden.
With very little money and space you can have a kitchen garden at your fingertips. Visit garden centers or nurseries for advice, or follow instructions on sites like Food52 or DIY. Small succulents are wonderful plants for novice gardeners as they require very little maintenance. Aloe vera is a perfect choice for a succulent in your home because not only is it an attractive piece of décor, but it is also a medicinal plant used for burns and rashes.
Refurbish Your Furniture
A project like re-furbishing furniture may seem too challenging but by following the steps on a wide variety of websites like Martha Stewart you can re-make any piece into something spectacular. For your living room you can buy or make new throw pillows for your couch and that may be all you need to spruce up the room. A table can be made new with a coat of paint and chairs are easily recovered in a fun, new fabric using only a measuring device, screwdriver, scissors and a staple gun.
Create a display of your cherished photographs by putting them all in the same color frames and grouping them on one wall. You will instantly have a gallery-like display. If photographs aren’t your favorite, try matting and framing pieces of wallpaper, or fabric, in deep frames and placing them in a tight three by three grouping on a wall. This is a fun project because the textiles can be changed out depending on the season.
Remember that when hanging artwork, you must consider what level the pieces will be viewed from most often. If the room is where you and your guests sit, hang your display a little above eye level from a sitting position. In a hallway, aim for the works to be centered vertically at eye level.
A small apartment can live large with a bit of work and organization. De-clutter, lighten the colors, hang art like the pros, and home will be the place you want it to be.