6 Ways to Make a Small Apartment Seem Spacious to a Prospective Tenant

By Alicia Geigel on April 26, 2024

As a landlord, when you have a small apartment unit, it can be difficult to appeal to tenants who need or want something a bit bigger. While it is virtually impossible to physically extend the dimensions of your apartment unit, there are a few different things you can do, from decorative choices or paint colors, that can make your unit feel much bigger than its square footage on paper.

If you’re a landlord looking for tips to open up a cramped apartment unit, check out these six tips!

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1. Decorate with Mirrors: Mirrors aren’t just a nice decorative piece that is used for checking your hair or makeup. In addition to their function as a reflective piece for cosmetic or aesthetic purposes, mirrors are also great for making a room or apartment feel and look much bigger than it actually is. When decorating your unit, put up a mirror, whatever size of your choice, in front of a window. Doing this will reflect natural light from the outside, making the general living space look bigger while also reflecting the sunshine to add brightness to your unit. Tenants will definitely notice this stylistic touch and be drawn to the openness of the apartment. Because let’s face it, who doesn’t love a good illusion and being happy? Thanks, mirrors!

2. Hang Wall Shelves: Standard shelves, though perfectly functional and nice looking, do unfortunately take up a lot of space in an apartment. Prospective tenants will likely utilize a bookshelf of some sort when they move in, whether it’s for holding trinkets and decorative items, books, video games, DVDs, etc. So why not make storing their items easier (and make your unit look more spacious) by hanging wall shelves? Wall shelves are an excellent item to have in general, but especially in smaller spaces, as they open up floor space and utilize the wall to store items. Wall shelves come in a variety of colors, styles, shapes, and more, so lean into the aesthetic of your apartment unit to appeal to tenants.

3. Utilize Multi-Use Furniture: Like wall shelves, multi-use furniture works wonders in small spaces, as these handy pieces typically function as two or more pieces in one convenient furniture piece. For example, a coffee table that opens up and doubles as storage for board games, books, etc., or an ottoman that doubles as storage for pillows and blankets, are great multi-use furniture items that any tenant would appreciate. If you are going the route of furnishing your property unit, consider multi-use furniture for places like the living room area, kitchen, bedroom, and more to utilize space as much as you can.

4. Experiment with Light Paint Colors: It is no surprise that dark colors dim and weigh down a space, no matter how big or small it may be. To make the most out of your small apartment unit, stay away from darker and bold colors, and instead experiment with lighter ones. “A lighter, more neutral palette will most certainly reinforce an open spacious feeling,” Danielle Fennoy of Revamp Interior Design tells Martha Stewart. “Create connectivity by keeping the color palette continuous throughout the space, instead of breaking up the flow with different hues in each zone.” Warm tones and hues will do wonders in a small space, so while it may be a bit boring, choose a bright white or eggshell for your wall colors. Add warm accents (think browns, light yellows, oranges, etc.) to your unit when decorating, like pillows, blankets, lamp shades, artwork, etc., to give it an airy, open feeling.

5. Highlight Wall Space: When you have a small property unit, vertical space is your best friend. High ceilings, tall walls, and large windows can all give the illusion that the place is much bigger than it is, and one great way to open up your apartment unit is to set up a gallery wall on a central, focal wall in the apartment. Consider getting a few pieces of artwork that match the aesthetic or theme of your apartment unit, and position them together on a wall to highlight its vertical space.

6. Position Furniture Off the Wall and Choose Furniture Wisely: Though it is an obvious tip, one of the best ways you can make a space feel bigger and brighter is to allow as much light as possible to come into your home. This means keeping your windows free and clear of obstructions, which mainly applies to big pieces of furniture, such as couches, accent chairs, bookshelves, etc. While it may be difficult to figure out the positioning of furniture, leaving your unit windows unobstructed is another smart way to open up the space. Additionally, when choosing furniture, namely living room furniture like chairs, couches, and tables, opt for pieces that have legs and not ones that sit directly on the floor, as this can make the space feel smaller and more restrictive.

From painting walls to hanging floating shelves, these tips will help give your apartment unit a more open, light appearance- something that prospective tenants will be fighting over!

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