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28 Apr - 04 May , 2012
Stylise Your Apartment
Stylise Your ApartmentSteal these ideas and add an oomph factor to your apartment

Living in a small space is tough, especially when your decorating options are limited by rental rules and landlord laws. Let these ideas inspire you to make the home you want.

Open-Air Furnishings
It's tough to maintain openness in a crowded apartment room, but choosing armless furniture helps create an airy, unfettered look, giving the illusion of more space. Armed with an appropriate sofa, try these room-arranging tips that make the most of your space without limiting traffic patterns: Place a rug in the middle of the room. The rug will act as an island, anchoring your furniture. Let the sofa float in the middle of the room (front legs on the rug, back legs off) so the room can be accessed from all sides. Place a coffee table or two in front of the sofa and a TV stand against the wall beyond that.

Back Up Your Furniture
Floating furniture makes for a great floor plan, but it leaves a wide expanse of boring sofa-back in the open. Use that dead space to your advantage: Slip a slim glass-top console behind the sofa for a small home office area. Search furniture markets for a chair that slides easily beneath the table. To make it appealing you can paint it in a vibrant colour. When entertaining the guests, stash the chair against the Stylise Your Apartmentwall and use the desk as a food buffet.

Curtained Bookshelves
One thing apartments often have going for them is open wall space. Rework a pair of sturdy bookshelves into an attractive storage wall. Cover them with curtains that match or complement your window treatments. For an extra touch, try pinning a wire sunburst or other lightweight art to the fabric. Place the shelves side by side, or use a floor-length mirror to separate them and give the illusion that the room expands past the shelves. To make your ceilings seem taller, hang the curtains from the ceiling rather than from the top of the bookshelf.

Exploit Your Kitchen Walls
Prevent crowding on less-than-roomy kitchen counters by looking to the walls for storage. A magnetic strip mounted on the wall provides a resting place for knives. Make sure the magnet you use is strong and out of reach of children. Hang a line of hooks close to the ceiling to organise space-hogging pots and pans. Perch rarely used small kitchen appliances or large pots above the kitchen cupboards.

Hide Unattractive Storage
You might be lacking a dedicated home office, but you probably still have a set of unsightly steel file Stylise Your Apartmentcabinets that need a home. Cover them up with this easy technique: Measure fabric to the length and width you need for whatever you're covering. Use hook-and-loop tape to attach the fabric to the cabinet. Try skirting tables and small bookshelves for an instant storage or eyesore cover-up.

Keep Loose Paper At Bay
Sometimes there's just not room for everything. A small apartment requires you to get serious about organising, starting with space-consuming paperwork. Dig out all the boxes of paperwork you've been hoarding and start to purge. Separate items into three categories: "toss," "keep," and "maybe." Then think about storage. A simple table leaves plenty of room for colour-coordinated storage boxes underneath and office supplies up top.

The Space Under
Think above and below for finding extra storage: above bookcases, cabinets, and shelves, and below sinks, countertops, and tables. Keep all the stuff organised with these tips: Slip discount store plastic shelves where they fit to separate dish towels, washcloths, and cleaning supplies. Find a diminutive file cabinet and use it to store house records or take out the folders and use the cabinet as extra kitchen drawers. Put numbered labels on everything and write a coordinating list. Example: "1: Washcloths, 2: Extra utensils." This way, if you ever switch out drawer contents, you don't need to relabel, just rewrite.

Best Use Of Awkward Corners
If your living room must double as a home office, don't let the work space overpower the room. Get rid of your shaky college desk and try this instead: Top spacious file cabinets with an inexpensive sheet of melamine for lots of storage space and minimal impact on the rest of the room. Help the area blend with Stylise Your Apartmentthe rest of the room by adding accessories, such as a lamp with a new shade.

Space-Conserving Seating
Most apartment living rooms have space for a sofa, coffee table, and maybe a chair – definitely not enough seating for hosting a group of friends. Solve the problem with fabric-covered cushions that make sitting on the floor not a big deal. When they're not needed, the cushions can be stacked and stowed. Purchase foam cushions of the thickness and size you need. Search remnant piles and discount stores for pretty fabric that matches your decor. Wrap the fabric around the cushion and hot glue in place.

Be Storage-Savvy
Extra cabinets and closets are a rarity in apartments, so make your own storage shelves. To make them as pretty as they are functional, try these five tips: Group books and dishes by size and colour for artful impact. Corral thin, busy-looking items, such as papers, magazines, and CDs, inside stylish boxes. Start filling shelves at an eye level, a natural focal point. Add punch with colourful accessories. Don't cram shelves full – it's not attractive. Leave some breathing room between objects. Mementos add your personal style. Tuck in photos, shells, souvenirs, and other trinkets you adore.

Bare Wall Cover-Up
Dingy white walls are a trademark of apartments and rentals. Cover them up and create a neat picture display with this DIY idea: Staple fabric over a piece of corkboard. Hang on the wall and pin pictures, swatches, or clippings to it. Rim with ribbon or paper for a framed look, or just leave it as it is.

Focus On Details
It's the little things that make a white-box rental a home. Try these easy ideas to send the message that the space belongs to you, not your landlord. Add graphic accent pillows to the couch and any chairs. Invest in several rugs to cover up standard apartment flooring. Place a table lamp on top of a stack of books to show your home is anything but cookie-cutter.

Make Your Own Coffee Table
Apartment-standard, cramped kitchen and dining areas don't leave a lot of room for entertaining. Enlist the living room when guests knock on the door: Shove a pair of ottomans together to make an impromptu coffee table. Top with a piece of glass (or a large mirror) to create a place to spread food when entertaining. By the way, don't overlook the power of accessories. Placing a simple white birch branch in the corner stands as an unusual, but surprisingly modern, accessory.

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