The Best Way to Make a Tiny Apartment Seem Larger, According to a Very Wise Realtor

updated Dec 2, 2020
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Credit: Franke Chung

When I moved into my tiny Boston apartment, I crammed way too much furniture into my small space. While it was cozy, it never felt breezy to walk around in. Some desk corner or protruding chair was always in the way. Eventually I, like so many renters, realized I simply have too many bulky pieces—and that’s the root of the problem when it comes to making a tiny apartment look even smaller. 

Believe it or not, there is one surefire way to make a small apartment appear larger. According to Tania Isacoff Friedland, a broker at Warburg Realty, that fix is using furniture proportional to the room.  

“If you use really big pieces in a small room, it’s going to feel overcrowded, so using the right proportion to the room will make the room feel spacious,” she says. 

Having open space allows you to walk freely around a room and even see out a window without a hunk of furniture in the way. (The luxury!) So, what are the factors to consider when selecting and furnishing a small space? For starters, look up. Ceiling height is massively important when it comes to how big the room feels, Isacoff Friedland says. 

“A room with super high ceilings is going to feel more voluminous and like a larger space even if the dimensions of the room are exactly the same as a room that has lower ceiling,” she says.

So, before hauling furniture in, you should take measurements, as one size most definitely does not fit all. “Taking measurements is important because when you’re buying furniture, you don’t want to buy things that are too big or too small,” Isacoff Friedland says.

While the key takeaway is not to overcrowd your teeny apartment, you also don’t want to make it look too empty in the process. 

“There’s a lot of focus on not buying furniture that’s too big for the room,” Isacoff Friedland says. “But if you’re working with a small space and if the room feels empty, it’s going to draw more attention to how small the room is.”

There are several ways to remedy an empty space without overcrowding it. To start, don’t fear a loveseat. Trading out a much-too-large sectional in your living room for something smaller can open doors. As Isacoff Friedland says, smaller dimensions doesn’t mean it’s less comfortable

“If you’re working with a bedroom that’s small, instead of using a queen size bed, use a full size bed,” she says. “Then you have space to have a little chair in the corner or have a dresser. Having things that are a little bit more on the petite side, are enough to fill the space so that it feels full and comfortable.”

According to Isacoff Friedland, the key ingredients to making furniture right for the room are shape and proportions. “The combination of those things are going to make the space feel more airy,” she says. For example, a coffee table with softened curves can help make walking around more open. 

If you’re eyeing a traditional, round-armed sofa online that you know deep down can’t fit in your cozy, shoe box of a living room, tuck it away on your Pinterest board. It’s best to save it for a home with more square footage. The time will come, but for now, that loveseat is looking for a place to call home.