Sure, there are some standard best practices when it comes to decorating a stylish living room that works no matter the size and space, but there are a few extra caveats that make decorating an apartment living room extra unique. City apartment dwellings give “small” a whole new meaning, and they also tend to require more problem-solving if the building has certain restrictions. So if you live in an apartment and you find yourself here looking for design ideas, tips, and advice from the pros, you’re in good hands! We’re spotlighting 15 examples of living rooms in apartments from some of our favorite designers to help you maximize your own.
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Be Strategic With Artwork
This Chicago apartment living room by interior designer Devin Kirk is a masterclass in well-proportioned pairings. The marbled sectional fits nicely in the corner while the round ottoman slash coffee table brings a softer, less boxy look. And instead of adding a side table or console, which might look too large here, Kirk opted for a low stool. The eye-catching gallery wall is another great touch (and hanging it over the decorative millwork visually expands the room).
Break the Room Into Zones
David Frazier made his small NYC apartment living room feel formal and polished, despite the limited space. He divided the main room into two distinct zones, one for lounging and visiting, and one for dining and working. The large pendant light and antique pieces personalize the more generic bones of the building.
Work Around Building Rules
A super light shade of pink applied in a plaster-like finish makes a statement in this small New York City living room designed by Celerie Kemble. The faux finish channels the texture of wallpaper, which she wasn’t allowed to use, per the building’s rules. This was a great solution.
If you have an extra coat closet in your living room but don’t need the extra storage, convert it into a bar. This will help you make it feel more prepared for entertaining and also adds depth and dimension, especially when painted a contrasting color, as seen in this one by Robert McKinley.
Match the Sofa to the Walls
Devin Kirk painted the walls Bird’s Egg by Benjamin Moore to flatter the sofa, a sectional from Jayson Home revamped in a Robert Allen Schiele fabric (which also hangs on the curtains). A jute rug brings texture and dimension without filling the small space with too much color.
Designer Sarah Solis carved out a home office within the living room by installing a floating desk in the corner. The other part of the room is dedicated to lounging and visiting.
This small and sexy living room designed by Zia Priven was painted in Farrow Ball’s Stiffkey blue. The stacked coffee tables are slim and low-profile, which balances out the plush carpeting and voluptuous sectional.
For a small city apartment, Lisle McKenna employed soft, colorful shapes but didn’t shy away from fun contrasting prints. She also opted for a settee by the timing dining table so that it could function as extra seating for guests or be a comfortable place to dine and catch up on emails.
If you live in a city apartment, you probably crave nature every now and then. So why not bring it into your living room for a dose of greenery every day? Designer Elizabeth Cooper placed a lush citrus tree in the corner for an extra pop of life and color and then staggered topiaries on the windowsill.
Enclosed storage is a godsend in a small living room apartment. In this one designed by Brooklyn-based firm Shapeless Studio, stacked of coffee table books animate the room without making it feel cluttered. Everything else is tucked behind closed cabinet doors.
This simple living room designed by Robert McKinley Studio incorporates tons of texture, from the rug to the shades and the sofa. These casual materials make it feel breezy while still being fresh and stylish, and though all the furniture is smaller than your average living room stuff, it looks right at home here.
Use every chance you get to add character and homey vibes to your apartment living room. In this case, Heidi Caillier created a cozy window seat in the corner.
Don’t let awkward ceiling slopes turn you off from an otherwise perfect apartment. With the right approach, you can make it work! Take this living room designed by Leane Ford Interiors for example. The neutral tones and modern shapes make it feel extra cozy.
Stay True to Your Style
“I love the juxtaposition between the traditional space and the modern staircase,” says Eliza Crater of Sister Parish Design. The rich kelly green accent wall and decorative floral curtains help bring some fullness and warmth to otherwise all-white surfaces in her apartment living room.
Use Sophisticated Neutrals
A quirky indoor tree is s fun surprise in this polished and cosmopolitan living room designed by Shawn Henderson. And, instead of a classic white or warm off-white paint color, he opted for a cooler gray neutral. It’s the perfect fit for a pied-a-terre.
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