This is a guest post by Bettina Deda, Interior Designer and Author of Downsize with Style.

Apartment living becomes more and more popular. In Sydney alone, 35 per cent of all households are living in apartments according to a poll commissioned by The Urban Taskforce Australia in 2015. To cope with the projected population growth to over 53.5 million people in 2101 (released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics end of 2013), Australian cities will have to cater for many different demographic and cultural groups. The need for high-density housing options is increasing, and Australian cities are going through a major physical change.

The reasons why people choose to live in low maintenance apartments rather than big houses are various:

  • Simplifying their lifestyle,
  • Saving money on furnishings, appliances and energy,
  • Gaining more time for travelling and hobbies, or
  • Downsizing to start a new chapter of their life.

Small spaces require clever space management and room layouts. This blog suggests five strategies to create a happy apartment lifestyle.

1. Manipulate a space through colour

Colour is the most powerful tool when it comes to non-verbal communication. It is the design element that can change a space immediately. A different colour on the walls can completely change the atmosphere of your home. Colour brings individuality to a room, and it is one of the most useful tools to master when decorating

Visit a hardware store or paint shop to dive into the realm of colour. Pick colours that instantly speak to you. See if you can match your favourite colours to colours you found in nature. When choosing a colour for your home, it is important to think about the mood and atmosphere you would like to achieve in a space. Colour can stimulate us or evoke feelings of calmness and serenity.

Colours remind us of past events in our childhood or memorable holidays we spent with our family. If you have a predilection for colourful homes, invest in a colour consultation to find out more about your colour personality and to create your dream home.

What applies to paint colours is also valid for colours in decoration. An all white or neutral interior can be brought to life with the colours you choose for decorative items like rugs, cushions, throws, art, accessories and flowers.

2. Implement intelligent design

Good design will always add value to your apartment. Depending on your needs, look for intelligent design solutions for your home. A lot of homeowners have the propensity to do everything themselves – sparked through the many design shows on TV, which often paint an unrealistic image of how quick a renovation can be done. If you are dealing with limited space, I recommend consulting a designer to work out the best room layout and to optimise your storage. It might be the more expensive solution, but it will save you money in the long run. Design your dining area with stylish tables that come in different sizes, shapes and colours. Use an extension table as a flexible solution. Consider a floor-to-ceiling shelving unit to integrate your TV, display books and other treasures.

Consider wall-hung display and storage units. Everything mounted on the wall will make your floor space larger. Wall hung units are space savers in small living areas, bedrooms and bathrooms. Sideboards are elegant, functional and great for storage in any room. Hide your stuff in drawers and behind doors and create eye-catching vignettes with your favourite items on top.

Look for furniture companies specialising in apartment furniture. You will find lots of ideas for clever and versatile pieces you may not have thought of.

3. Source clever furniture

Furniture for small spaces needs to be stylish and practical. The trick is to find a versatile piece that can be used for different purposes. Look for furniture that can be used as a standalone piece, or in combination with other pieces for a different purpose. For example, upholstered cubes function as tables, footstools or additional seating. When arranged as a set of four in a larger square they also make a great coffee table by adding a tray on top. In no time, you can arrange your living area to your daily needs. Additionally, these cubes are stylish decorative pieces to play around with colours, textures and materials to coordinate with any interior

4. Focus on the floor

A very simple method to make a space look larger is using the same flooring throughout the whole apartment. Especially in open-plan living areas, a single finish from the entrance through the living and dining area will widen the space. This will additionally be enhanced by continuing the chosen finish to the outside entertainment area. There is a huge choice of floor tiles with indoor and outdoor versions available. Timber tiles are also very popular as they add the warmth of the timber look to a space and can be used in the kitchen as well.

5. Decorate like a pro

Mood boards help visualise your abstract ideas. In decorating your home, you can unleash your creativity! Even if you think you are not creative at all, give it a go and start being inspired by interior designers from all over the world. Follow design blogs and start reading interior design magazines. Capture and collect inspirational images and learn the versatile mood board technique to visualise your abstract ideas. For more decorating tips read Small Apartment Ideas.

For those of you, who are planning to downsize and don’t know where to start, my next workshop Downsizing 101 will be in Manly, on Saturday, the 29th of October 2016, 1-4pm.

For more information and bookings, visit the Downsize with Style website.