Downsizing 101: 7 Tips to Make Your Studio Apartment Feel More Spacious

Moving from a four-bedroom 2,500 square foot home to an affordable studio apartment in a big city like Chicago can be an interesting experience. After you have done your homework, culled your belongings and reduced your inventory of stuff to a manageable level, you have finally reached the point where you are ready to move in to your new place.

Of course, it’s going to look small, but we have seven great ways to give your studio apartment the illusion of space.

Paint the Walls White

By white, we mean bright white. Grayish or beige-leaning color selections can make your apartment look dingy and small. Buy high-quality paint and make sure it is a true white color.

Paint the Ceiling Dark

Yes, that’s what we said! Bright white walls combined with a rich and glossy blue or red ceiling will instantly provide an amazing feeling of depth. Try it, and you’ll never go back to white ceilings again.

Respect the Light

Light is your friend and darkness is your enemy. If you are lucky enough to have windows that let light in, don’t cover them up with heavy window treatments that block the natural light.

Also, do not place items in front of windows. Even if you cause a small portion of light to be compromised, your place can look smaller. Natural light sources rule so don’t mess with them.


LED lights — especially when paired with a smart lighting app — can dramatically make your studio apartment look bigger. Smart lighting apps can adjust both hue and intensity, and can also interface with what’s happening outdoors.

On a cloudy day, your app can automatically increase the amount of light that your LEDs are projecting; on a sunny day, your system will adapt and lower the amount of internal light. Either way, smart apps will help to give your apartment a more spacious feel.

Move Stuff Away from the Walls

Here’s another totally counter-intuitive idea. Many people think that the way to make a room look bigger is to jam everything against the walls, leaving as little space as possible. We disagree, because if you move dressers, beds, and end tables just three inches from the adjacent walls, a sense of airiness will be created.

Even though you have given up physical space, the flowing lines behind your furniture will give the illusion of additional square footage.

Remove/Change Up Items

Even though you have downsized your stuff, once you have moved in, you may find you need to take another look at things. Even though you have a flat screen TV, a newer model may be even thinner and take up less space. It may be worth the money to replace your current screen in order to make your place look more spacious.


You’ve undoubtedly been in a restaurant that looked a lot bigger than it actually was because of strategically placed mirrors. Take a tip from food service designers and try a floor to ceiling mirror. The difference will be dramatic.

Your mirror can double as a decor item as well, particularly if you choose one with a chic touch, like the Bentwood Mirror.

Downsizing is stressful, but don’t despair if your apartment looks cramped immediately after your move. Use the seven tips above and we guarantee you’ll be pleased with the results. Plus, you’ll avoid spending on costly home repairs!