In this article, we are listing tips and tricks for the interior of a small apartment with an interior designer Essi Nádor who appear also in the Finnish TV-series ‘Asuntokaupat sokkona’.
When planning the interior for a small apartment, people easily feel like compromises are needed with functionality, money, and style. One and two-bedroom apartments have a limited amount of square meters, so how do you make space for sleeping, eating, socializing with friends, maybe even do some work? For example, the more people living in, the more storage area is required. How to plan the interior and decoration of the small apartment in a way you could still have the combination of a bed and dining table for six people?
The interior of the small apartment – what kind of furniture to have?
‘Think about what are you mostly doing at home: what is the most important piece of furniture if you can not have it all? Rather than filling the apartment with a bed and couch, consider getting multi-purpose furniture.’
– Interior designer Essi Nádor
Small space sets its limits on how many pieces of furniture can be in the apartment. For example, it can be challenging to have a couch, bed, and dining table in a studio apartment. Queen and king-sized beds take a lot of space but can be used both for sleeping and relaxing. Then again, without a proper table, working can be more difficult and less ergonomic.
A couch might not be a necessity, but it does increase the risk of staying in the bed for the whole day. This impact also the quality of sleep. The day and night do not differentiate anymore from each other. A couch might also be a great asset when hosting someone overnight.
In other words, make a list of activities that are done in the space. If you spend a lot of time binge-watching TV-series, consider if a couch is needed or could you transform the bed into a couch with decorative pillows during the daytime.
If your everyday routines include regular dining by the table with a larger group of people, a sturdy dining table is essential. In smaller apartments, a kitchen is usually a one-wall kitchen, kitchenette, or kitchen island. The home appliances take their own share from the surface, so is the rest enough? Is the kitchen table just for eating or also for preparing the food?
Take the multi-functionality into account
’Choose smaller-sized pieces of furniture and furnishing that are not fixed with their size. An extendable dining table is a good example.’
– Essi Nádor
Loft beds, sleeper sofas, extendable dining tables…The list of multipurpose furniture is long. Even if the space is small, it does not mean the sleeping places are narrowed to one or two people – not to forget the possible friends who are staying overnight or children’s sleepovers.
A loft bed is either a fixed or temporary furnishing solution. From the market can be found very affordable loft beds if wanted. Under the loft bed can be placed a dining table, office desk, or relaxing reading nook. A loft bed does set its own limitations as it is not the best alternative for children or people with reduced mobility. Also, the change of sheets can be trickier.
A sleeper sofa can be used as a couch during the day and a bed for the night. Some sleeper sofas are extendable, creating sleeping space for several people. A convertible sofa bed offers the same characteristics. A less attractive characteristic is that the mattress of the convertible sofa bed is more difficult to change.
Murphy beds and wall-beds are considerable choices if you need more floor space during a day – without forgetting sleeping places. However, the attachment and installation of closet beds and wall-beds sets some limitations – depending on the material of the wall.
A folding table can add multi-functionality to your kitchen. For example, a table with the folding drop-leaves can be lifted during eating and easily folded down afterward. Folding tables can be either wall-attachable or with legs. Before purchasing a folding table, it is good to make sure does the kitchen wall manages to carry the weight of the table or do you need one with legs.
Interior of a small apartment: loose items
‘The use of space vs. storage: clever storage solutions. A good example is a bed frame that enables storage place below furniture.’
– Essi Nádor
Finding a place to store the loose items might be the most difficult challenge when it comes to having a small apartment. This is why it is good to look for the furnishing, which offers also a storage option within or below itself. If your shopping list includes a couch that can be used also for sleeping, try to find one that can also hold bedding when not in use.
If the room height is relatively high, you can consider getting either taller closets or decorative boxes on the top of the closets. This is a great way to minimize the loose items from plain sight.
For the children’s toys, it is good to have their own dedicated boxes. This helps children to learn to place the toys in their own place after use.
The style and color of furniture affects the atmosphere of the space
‘A small apartment will look more bright and spacious when you choose light colors.’
– Essi Nádor
Dark and heavy furniture makes space smaller, which is why they are not recommended to use in one or two-bedroom apartments. Light colors reflect on light – making the space more spacious.
Pay attention to the lighting
‘With the right lighting, you can impact on the atmosphere of the space – even in the smallest spaces.’
– Essi Nádor
Have you noticed that the lighting impacts both working (bright light) and relaxing (dim light)? When deciding on the lighting of the apartment, try to find a solution that is convertible along with the purpose and the amount of daylight.
Interior of a small apartment & Tablebed
If you are looking for multi-purpose furniture for your one or two-bedroom home, you definitely want to know about Tablebed. Tablebed is a sturdy dining table that can be transformed into a two-people bed within 10 seconds. Tablebed enables at least six places for dining, and the measurement of the bed is designed for two people (the size of the bed is 140 x 200 cm). The large dining table is perfect furniture both for dinner dates and free-time activities that demand a large surface, such as sewing.
If you are looking for a home office and guest bed -combination, Tablebed Single has over two meters office desk and adult-sized bed (85 x 200 cm).
In Airbnb- and other accommodation locations, extra sleeping places increase the profit per square meter noticeably. Furthermore, the extra sleeping places improve the multi-functionality of the apartment. In other words, Tablebed might pay itself pack relatively quickly.
Summary of the small apartment interior
- Make a list of what you do mostly at home: what is the most important characteristic and feature if there is no space for all?
- Choose pieces of furniture that are flexible with their size.
- Choose light colors when planning the interior and decoration of the small apartment.
- The use of space vs. storage = smart solutions for storage options.
- Good lighting plays a vital role when creating the wanted atmosphere.
Essi Nádor is the founder of Nádor + Nádor Oy and an experienced interior designer. Essi’s work can be seen, for example, in the TV-series ‘Asuntokaupat sokkona’. In addition to the TV show, she has designed smart space-using solutions both to the office and public spaces.