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How do you boost a small apartment’s space appeal?

By Andrew Bell

While the classic Australian dream is to own a detached home with a partner and two and a half children, times have been changing. While house prices rise, many people turn to apartments and units as a new home or investment, as they are on the whole more affordable. However, the tradeoff is often a backyard and general space. 

According to 2011 Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 74.7 per cent of residential real estate in Surfers Paradise came in the form of units, flats and apartments. This is well above the average percentage for Queensland, which is 11.7. With such an abundance of apartments in the area, it stands to reason that many property owners and investors will be in this market.

Given the tradeoff in size, it pays to know how to make the most of a small space, to attract tenants or simply give yourself a more comfortable living situation. So how do make the most of a smaller apartment? 

Make use of multi-use items

A lot of the time, people tend to skimp on larger pieces of furniture in a small living area, because they are afraid it will dominate the space, leaving no room for any other activities. However, there's still a lot you can do with a big sofa! For example, a fold-out bed from a couch can turn a living area into a guest room when people come to stay, as well as provide a larger space for comfortable relaxation. 

At the same time, get smaller items that can serve several functions. Think about an ottoman that can double as a coffee table, or items with shelves tucked away for easy book and magazine storage. 

Keep your colours in line

When you're designing the interiors of an apartment, keeping everything in a similar colour palette doesn't just give you a sleek, modern look – it can help make the space seem bigger. Matching furniture to the walls gives a slight camouflage effect, meaning it does not stand out and take over a room too much.

Sleek and size-friendly, it's a technique that can give your apartment instant appeal to anyone. 

Get lifted

When you have your own apartment, it's tempting to deck it out with large, luxurious pieces of furniture that allow you to showcase your wares. But when space is limited, it's better to keep it small and go vertical. In the kitchen, raised shelves that go as high as you can reach are ideal for maximising the kitchenware you can have without spamming the space with clutter.

Likewise, in the bedroom you are better off with narrow, tall pieces. If you have high ceilings, perhaps a footstool would be a good addition, allowing you access to a further half-metre of space. Like Al Pacino said in Any Given Sunday, "the inches we need are everywhere around us". You just need to find them and work out the best way to make them into storage.

Go minimal

Of course, sometimes the simplest solution is the best one. Rather than getting fancy items to let you store lots of items in your small apartment, getting rid of your possessions could be the right solution for you. The spring clean is always a cathartic experience, but it doesn't have to wait until September! Getting amongst your possessions and working out what to sell or give away to charities is a great activity, and you'll come out the other side with more space than you realised. 

Apartments come in different shapes and sizes, so survey your space carefully and determine which strategies work best for you. 

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