Hello, my dear friends. Have you heard the saying “There’s no place like home”? Sure you have. Well, I have to tell you that it’s 100% accurate. When you finally feel like home (wherever that is), it all make sense, it feels right and even though it might have its ups and downs, we will always feel happy and safe when we are home. I recently moved to a new apartment. It’s small which has been a challenge but It was about time that I finally got to turn a place into my home. For the next few months, I’ll be sharing my experience on my Small Apartment Decor journey.
Small Apartment Decor – The Before Home Tour
Today I’ll share with you the beginnings. I’ll show you the raw reality. You will see how we started from scratch here. If you have been around for a while you know I’ve been living a nomad life for the last 8 years and we finally (and hopefully) are settling in a new country. That means starting absolutely from zero. We came with 3 bags each and hearts filled with hopes and of course, fears too. Needless to say, we didn’t have furniture either so we’ve been slowly stocking up.
Small apartment decor is a huge challenge as it is, especially in Europe so if on top of that you have a tight and limited budget, it all goes to a whole new level. I’ve had to carefully organize the budget and buy some stuff on thrift stores, some second hand and some at IKEA using their credit program that has been a lifesaver. I’ll share my tips and tricks to cope with small spaces and still make it functional, pretty, cozy and comfy.
I’ve been living here for about a year and I could say we are about halfway there with the whole home decor. I furnished the apartment already with just the necessary pieces and now it’s time to decorate and make it homey and cozy. Now you probably understand why I have created and shared so many Roundups about Home decor. I desperately needed inspiration and guidance. The truth is, that most articles I can find on the internet show you gorgeous houses, things to die for. But the reality for me and probably for most people, especially living in small apartments are a whole different story. So what I do is dream a little with what I see and use those ideas I think might fit and accomplish what I have in mind.
Why is Small Apartment Decor a challenge?
Friends, Our apartment might not fit into tiny homes but God! It’s really small. I’m not kidding! This apartment is small. It’s less than 1000 ft2 fitting 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living/dining room and a kitchen with tiny laundry room. European architecture is a huge pain, they are so weird and in most cases, they don’t make any sense.
For example, one of the bedrooms is right at the entrance of the apartment. Also, the apartment is basically a hallway L-shaped and each area is like a room, completely separated. The living room is almost at the end of the apartment but the kitchen is near the entrance. See what I mean? Makes no sense at all.
Of course, once you get used to it and somehow you feel like it has the potential to be a home, you just go with the flow and learn to work with what you’ve got. That’s what I’ve been doing the past year since we moved to this apartment. Especially because since it’s not your property, it’s not worth it, to invest too much in the structure because most cases tenants won’t pay you anything when you leave.
That’s what makes it challenging the most, little space and it’s not yours to modify it. However, there are always ways to manage and create cozy and homey spaces but again that’s the challenge I’m facing. Thankfully, I found some really good tips for small apartment decor over at Elle Decor so I might be using some of those tips.
The one thing I had to understand and digest so I could live with our space is admitting and accepting the fact that I WILL NOT have it perfect but I CAN make it as perfect as it can be for me and my family. Hope this makes sense.
Home Tour: Where our Apartment decor began.
I’ll give you a tour and you will see our reality during the first days after we moved in. You will be able to have a realistic idea of the spaces with the proportions you will see between the pieces around.
I’ll describe each room in the same order they appear when you walk in the apartment.
It’s a small but considerable space that I thought was a total waste but now I’m thankful for that. There I’ll have my entryway table, the coat hanger or course, but I also plan to use part of it to create a storage space for all my craft supplies that I have nowhere to put them. I literally have my stuff spread all over the apartment in any empty space I could find.
Man! That sucks. Every time I want to make something I have to run around the house looking for my stuff which makes me waste a lot of time and ultimately makes me wonder about if I really want to make whatever I have in mind. With this space, even though it’s not ideal (it would be awesome to have a whole craft room for myself) but at least I know where ALL my stuff is, right?
This room is super small but not as small as the one that was assigned to my girl. Why? Because this bedroom is right at the entrance and I don’t want my girl to be on the other side of the apartment. This room doesn’t have much light which kills me, to say the least. For that reason, it was decided that it would be the guest room and my husband’s office. He only needs a desk and probably a couple shelves so it would be space enough for him. With the exception, of course, when guests come over, which has happened once in a whole year. Not so bad.
The Kitchen and Laundry Room
Besides bedrooms, this might be my biggest nightmare LOL. As you may notice on the photos, just a few cabinets (not really smartly built or designed), a huge window, a weird-angled door (to the laundry room) and the tiny space for the kitchen table.
The plan is using shelves to solve storage problem and hope for the best. I’ve been as creative as I am possible capable to make space be enough.
As I said the laundry room is tiny. We had to pile up washer and dryer machines. We put the water heater and it barely fit in the space. I’ll manage to make it work for sure.
Guest bathroom (Actually Em’s)
This is actually my girl’s bathroom. It has a decent size which is great but, as you can see, it has NO STORAGE at all so this will be a real challenge.
I already have seen a few cute and affordable furniture pieces that might be our solution for the bathrom.
At first, I thought it was a big space, then I realized I was going to have a hard time arranging things around so it wouldn’t feel all cluttered or messy.
Why? you ask?
Well, that space is supposed to be enough somehow to fit living room (a single sofa), the dining room (small table) and MY office space or at least my desk because the light here is AH-MAZING! I absolutely love how bright and gorgeous it looks during the day, especially at noons. I knew I had to come up with a good apartment decor strategy for small spaces and I think I’ve done a good job so far (updates to come soon).
As far as apartment decor goes, at this point you know, this is one my main focus after finishing the master bedroom. Mostly because it’s where I spend most of my time in and I take most of my photos and videos. so, I want it to be as perfect as it can be with its limitations and all. I fell in love with how pretty Sina from Happy Grey Lucky has decorated her living room, she seems to face more or less the same limited space (judging by the photos I could see) and she managed to keep it simple yet pretty. Of course, her style is more Scandinavian and I love more rustic but her tips are awesome.
I remember my husband telling me that this apartment was too small especially for me and my needs as blogger and crafter. He was absolutely right, but here is my side of the story. I had been looking for an apartment from the moment we moved into the previous apartment. it was not apartment decor material and I didn’t feel good there. I spent almost a year looking for apartments and none was good enough for me. Some way smaller, or too old, or way too furnished and looking like a vintage shop (not in a good way). When I saw this apartment it felt right. I saw the potential and embraced the challenge.
My Girl’s Bedroom
The smallest bedroom in the apartment. Remember when I told you European architecture was weird, well there you go. That piece of the room next to the window by the big box? That on th eother side is actually the laundry room, so they just TOOK that space from the bedroom to make it.
As much as I measured the room, there’s no way my girl will have space she actually needs in there. We have no playroom or family room so her toys, studies and herself have to fit in there. Another challenge I had to face but that one is mostly done and I’ll share her bedroom finished soon, I love how it turned out even though I could so have used that stolen-laundry space. Oh well!
We managed to make the most of the space we got and so far we love it and she loves it which is the most important opinion, am I right?
Here again, there is huge NO STORAGE space. It has a good decent size too but having a bathtub seems smaller. Also who still uses a bidet? Why on earth they would still install those things, they only waste space. In my case, it’s usually where we throw everything, dryer, not-dirty clothes, things that should be somewhere else… you get the picture. I wish that wasn’t there so I could use that space smarter.
I plan on using similar furniture than the ones for my girl’s bathroom but of course, matching the our bathroom’s colors. Hint for ya… probably those will be white! LOL
Last but not least. Yup, it’s the last room in the apartment tour. My happy place, where my heart is every night: our bedroom. This bedroom window faces the same side as the living room’s so it’s also super bright and warm. I absolutely love this space and it’s another place I love to take photos in.
As you can see it’s also a really small room. If you notice the bed, ahem, the mattress, you have the necessary space to walk around the bed and that’s it. Another huge challenge. Are you taking notes of how many challenges I’m facing here?
Yup! Also to be fair and honest, I’m loving it even though I sit and cry at times feeling like “I wanna have a larger apartment to have more space and a craft room and a pretty kitchen”.
Then I stop for a moment and remember: Hey! I am the one who will clean this whole place. And then I just realize my challenges are worth facing and overcoming.
So, friends, this is my apartment, soon to be HOME, well in progress already. It has improved since we moved in but I wanted to start this series with the very beginning to show you that anything is possible. Any space has a solution with a bit of creativity. It will not be the perfect apartment and it might not be a magazine-worthy apartment but I can assure you, it will be pretty, functional, cozy and most of all will be HOMEY!
Hope you want to stay tuned for the next posts. I’ll try to make an update once a week and look forward to hearing all your opinion, comments and suggestions. I’m no expert at home decor and even less at small apartment decor. This has been experimental and so gratifying so far.
If you are interested in some home decor or apartment decor ideas I’ve gathered, go check them out!