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Design Recipes: Make small apartment seem bigger

Cathy Hobbs
Tribune News Service

When it comes to apartment-style living, maximizing space is often key. Depending on the size of your urban environment, furniture placement can especially be a challenge. From furniture size to colors and even materials, here are some tips you can follow to create an oasis.


■Use light or neutral colors. Light colors will automatically help open up a space.

■Create a floor plan. This should be done before one ever heads out to shop.

■Choose furniture of the appropriate size and scale. Selections that are sleek, paired down and minimal tend to work well in urban environments.

■Blend cool and warm colors. Soothing grays and warm taupes can work really well together.

■Start off with a few key pieces and then shop and add as you go. It’s OK to not purchase everything at once.


■Overstuff a room. Editing can be helpful in creating an appealing space.

■Dismiss the power of creating zones. For example, creating a living, dining and sleep zone may be helpful in maximizing your space.

■Forget the opportunity to design vertically. From partitions to bookshelves, these items can help display beautiful items and help define a space.

■Forget to mix materials. In general, opaque surfaces visually take up space, while transparent surfaces do the opposite.

■Purchase the set. In smaller spaces, buying sets that include multiple furniture pieces tends to be too much furniture. Often less is more.

Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert. Contact her at <> or visit her website at <>.