You’re all set to move into your new apartment: the lease is signed, the moving truck is rented, and you have your old place packed up. You show up to get moved in to the new digs, and you realize that with all of your stuff, it feels a bit cramped in here. You not only need to decorate, but you need to do it with your new constraints in mind. So, how do you get the most out of your space while still making it feel like home?

Storage

Start by going through your things and weeding out specific objects that you don’t really need or like anymore. There are a lot of strategies for cleaning out your stuff, so find the one that’s comfortable and makes the most sense for you logistically and budget-wise. Once you’ve decided on what you’re going to keep and what you’re donating or disposing of, use each square foot of your new place efficiently.

Find furniture that can double as storage, such as coffee tables or benches with extra space within them. This will not only help to keep things out of sight and mind, but also organized. The less things you have, the easier it is to keep track of them.

how to decorate your apartment

Color scheme

Color is incredibly important to a cohesive look, but it can also change our perception of a room. Use a neutral, light color scale to make a room look bigger and feel brighter. Keep in mind your trim as well as ceiling colors when deciding what palette to choose, as you want everything to blend well while still bringing character to the room. Your furniture will also influence the room’s look and feel, so keep that in mind.

Furniture

It can be easy to just dump your furniture into a room and think that’s how it needs to stay. But remember that the layout can affect how large or small a room feels, and that when foot traffic is impeded, it can make things feel choked or cramped. The sheer size of a piece of furniture can have a negative impact if you’re not careful. Purchase or keep furniture that is to scale with the dimensions of the room. Just as you wouldn’t put a grand piano in a not-so-grand living room, you shouldn’t put a sectional in a space meant for a loveseat.

Wall space

While you don’t want to decorate every inch of your place (because white space is important to a clean, effortless look), you should take advantage of the walls available to you. Group art in similar color groups to achieve a streamlined effect that pulls in the viewer, or show off your favorite personal pictures through canvas printing. It’s an affordable way to display your memories without needing to take up space on tables, and is less damaging to the walls, as you can usually hang canvas with stick-on options.

Keep it clean

The easiest way to keep a home looking larger than it actually is, is to keep it clean and decluttered. The less you have out, the more your eyes can stay focused on long lines through rooms and hallways. Clutter is bad for your health, and can actually raise your chances of divorce and limit how far you can go at work. So be sure that the items you keep out of storage serve a purpose and work with your decor, so that they blend better.

Moving into a new place can be overwhelming and a lot of hard work, especially if you’re working with a smaller area than what you’re used to. But with a bit of planning and a lot of self-awareness of your surroundings, you can make even the smallest amount of square-footage feel like home.