The housing situation in New York can be described in two words: spatially challenged. According to a survey, the city has over 3.49 million residences, with 70% of them having two bedrooms or less. In reality, studio flats account for more than 8% of all homes in New York. It’s a concrete jungle where individuals pay millions of dollars for tiny areas with views, and even more, if those spaces have views.
Decorating small spaces is definitely a huge challenge. Not a lot of people can relate to this better than New Yorkers.
New York is one of the most densely populated, not to mention the most expensive, areas in the world. It’s rather safe to say that every square foot of space comes at a premium when you’re living in the concrete jungle.
It’s one thing decorating an apartment, it’s another decorating an NYC apartment. In hindsight, it requires one-of-a-kind sophistication and professional car racer-like precision to come up with a livable and acceptable interior layout.
With that, we’ve interviewed our peers and asked them for some tips on how to efficiently decorate a small New York apartment. Here are some of their replies:
From David Shell, founder, and CEO of TradesmenCosts
One of the biggest problems that NYC apartment owners have is storage. Thus, being creative in how to store your belongings is important.
Build Them Up
If unable to build shelves out, people can always look up. Floating shelves will be explored and added next year. They’ll be close to the ceiling and will run your room’s perimeter.
Adding Entryway Storage
It’ll add storage without consuming much space. Homeowners can easily imitate it by adding hooks and open shelves to enjoy a drop zone that can hold almost anything.
Purchasing furniture that can serve two purposes greatly helps. Ottomans can be used as chairs while being able to store your blankets or towels. A bed with drawers underneath where you can place your clothes, shoes, or bed sheets will also be helpful.
From Tal Shelef, realtor and co-founder of Condo Wizard
It’s advisable to optimize the use of mirrors. Not only do they visually expand your space, but they also brighten up a room and offer a clean and sleek look for your space. Acrylic furniture is also one way to go, as they offer a nice airy feel, making any room in your house feel much bigger and lighter.
From Richard Waters, founder and managing director of ROW
Here are some tips to make your NYC apartment feel like home:
Keep it Light and Bright
Small spaces will feel smaller if you fill them with darker gradient colors, so choosing brighter (ideally white) colors for your apartment will make it feel spacious and liberating.
Utilize Multi-Functioning Furniture
Using your chairs and bed as backup storage will help keep things from filling up your room unnecessarily.
Take Advantage of Your Vertical Space
Why do we limit ourselves down here when we have an option to store it up there (overhead cabinets/organizers)?
Position Mirrors and Windows
Carefully positioning mirrors and designing your windows will take away the suffocating feeling we usually have in a tight space.
At the end of it all, what truly matters is that you’re comfortable and happy with your own space.
From Brandon Brown, CEO of GRIN
New York apartments tend to be on the smaller side, so it’s important to figure out what’s most important to you when searching for interior design solutions. Finding items that have more than one purpose is a great way to increase your overall space. For example, a nightstand or side table that doubles as a tray for eating on the couch, or in bed.
Another great investment is a moveable kitchen island. It’s the perfect way to enhance your kitchen, without committing to something permanent. In terms of making the space itself feel bigger and look nice, mirrors are the way to go. Big mirrors can make any space feel larger, and they make for great decorative pieces too. All in all, your apartment is your go-to, personal space, so make sure not to lose sight of important personal touches.
From Daniel Javor, CEO of Next Luxury
Making the most of the available space tends to be at the forefront for many people living in NYC. Since you can’t change where the walls are, it’s all about how you decorate.
Start by scaling your furniture to the size of your apartment. At the same time, look for furniture that can give you more storage space. Look for a long and low sofa. That’ll make the living space feel bigger. Try placing your bed on risers or fully lofting it. Then you’ll have more storage or livable space underneath.
Look for ways you can visually break the space up without blocking your line of sight. You can do this by arranging rugs on the floor. Each rug will define the separate spaces. They also have the bonus of giving your apartment warmth and sound insulation. Hang a curtain rod from your ceiling and hang ceiling-to-floor curtains. You can move them out of the way when not needed and close them when you need some privacy.
A popular decor trend that’s also good for your health is to add plants. They add natural color by bringing nature indoors. You don’t even have to have a green thumb. Try an aloe, snake, spider, or rubber plant. They’re virtually impossible to kill.
If you want to add a touch of luxury to your space, hang window treatments from the ceiling. It doesn’t matter what the window’s height is. Hang them as high as possible and buy curtains that reach the floor. That’ll make your ceilings look taller and be reminiscent of luxury NYC apartments.