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By: Paula Morris Dungan
Many times choosing to live in the city is an exciting and sometimes necessary decision, but it also can be a daunting task to deal with the smaller living spaces both in design and practicality. In this article you will learn a few interior design tricks to optimize your space and give the appearance of having more square footage than you actually do. Whether it be for business or pleasure, most people who do move to the city immediately notice one of the main drawbacks which is lack of living space inside the apartments and these are a few ways of seemingly expanding yours.

1. Furniture Size

When selecting furniture for a city-sized apartment, keep in mind that large, bulky items will actually make an area appear smaller than it is. For example, if you have a small bedroom, you shouldn't choose a large dresser with an entertainment center with a queen sized bed. Instead, consider a full sized bed with a small bed-side table with a combination dresser/TV stand. For your living room, instead of a large oversized couch and entertainment center, consider a small couch and maybe a couple of well placed comfortable chairs with Kravet fabrics for guests with a petite television stand. One extra tip on furniture is the simple placement of it. In smaller spaces, always place furniture against the outer walls very symmetrically. This will give the appearance of pushing out the space.

2. Color

When selecting colors and patterns for your city apartment, there are a few key points to remember. First of all, darker colors tend to make a space seem smaller while lighter colors generally cause a space to appear larger. If your furniture is already a darker color, look for wall colors and accessories, such as a large, room sized accent rug in lighter, brighter colors. Also look for drapery fabrics that are in lighter colors and designs. P Kaufmann fabrics and Robert Allen fabrics have some good designs for this.

Another tip that can coincide with color is pattern. Busy patterns will make a room feel small, while more open or plain patterns or none at all, will make it seem larger.

3. Mirrors

A wonderful and often times inexpensive way to create the illusion of more space in a home is to use mirrors. Not only are they versatile in that they come in all shapes and sizes, but they are also a great way to express all decorating themes. Contemporary design would be greatly complimented with scattered, geometrical mirrors while country or rustic style would be matched well with a simple square or rectangle. For traditional themes, oval shaped larger mirrors over dressers or tables or on a wall opposite a door will help give the appearance of more space.

4. Lighting

A very important factor in any home is the lighting. Many times a city apartment will be dark due to lack of windows or because buildings are so close together therefore blocking out the sunlight. A nice way to increase the apparent size of your apartment is with appropriate, bright, warm lighting. If you don't already have ceiling lighting, well placed floor lamps with light bulbs ranging from 60-75 watts is a great way to light up your home and save space at the same time. With these simple and affordable tips, you will see a dramatic increase in the appearance of space in your city apartment or home.

City living can be fun and exciting, even if it is a bit cramped. However, with these tips you can make better use of the limited space and create the feel of more space than you actually have.

Paula Morris-Dungan attended Art Institute of Pittsburg for Residential Space Planning and Interior Design. She spends her spare time remodeling and designing the interior of her 80+ year old house. She is a full-time freelance writer who writes for blogs about various topics including paint, funiture upholstery and outdoor fabric (including Kravet fabrics, P Kaufmann fabrics, and Robert Allen fabrics), and interior design in general. For more details visit and

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