8 Tips on Furnishing Small Apartments

Furnishing a small apartment is often like playing Tetris. You sweat and you struggle to arrange a number of large and oddly shaped furniture into a very limited area.

But don’t panic! Here are a few tricks that might help you fit everything in. After all, the right furniture can totally spark joy.

1. Transformer Furniture

To meet the needs of small apartment owners, designers use tricks to create furniture that performs several functions at once. For example, there is a bench which can be turned into a large table and a few soft stools if necessary. In case of the arrival of guests, how convenient would it be to make several seats from one sofa? Other options include an armchair with built-in bookshelves, tables, and even built-in lamps. Such multifunctional pieces can be perfect for furnishing small apartments, not to mention blowing your guests’ minds.

furnishing a small apartment with big prints and transformer furniture

2. Built-in Cabinets

In a small space, you don’t want to waste an entire wall for a cabinet. If you’re furnishing a small apartment, let’s think outside the box! For example, if you can use a wall with a window on it, you get an excellent storage system and a cozy reading corner. If you don’t want to occupy the entire surface, you can place roomy lockers under the window. This helps make the room appear visually wider. Additionally, you can save space by using a storage system with your bed or sofa, either under the bed or in the headboard, or in shelving behind or beneath your sofa.

3. Folding Furniture

The problem of small space becomes especially problematic when planning a kitchen. To solve this, replace your chairs with folding ones or those that can be easily stacked on top of each other. If there still isn’t enough space, act radically and install a folding countertop. Furnishing a small apartment with folding furniture doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style! Check out some of these great examples of folding furniture.

4. Mirrors

The use of mirrors is an effective method of expanding the interior of a small room. With the help of a mirror for the entire wall, you can make a small space look bigger. Use a swing mirror instead of a normal swing door. Mirrors are one of the best ways to save space and visually expand the room when furnishing a small apartment. Or you can look for small mirrors in beautiful frames and place them where they catch the light from the windows.

furnishing a small apartment with built in storage

5. Minimalism in Everything

When furnishing a small apartment, you can make a room look as open as possible by freeing it from unnecessary objects. No bulky sofas and armchairs, numerous bedside tables and consoles. Remove massive wardrobes and replace them with built-in models with a large number of closing cabinets which can hide the items inside. In the kitchen, try to hide all your appliances inside cabinets or furniture. The same applies to our utensils: no matter how stylish and elegant your ladles are, for the sake of clutter, it’s better to put most of them away.

furnishing a small apartment with a small desk with a desktop computer in a white bedroom

6. Mobile Furniture

A great idea for a small apartment is mobile furniture. For the kitchen, choose tables with locking wheels that can be moved to a convenient location while cooking. A mobile nightstand can be used in different rooms: in the bedroom, it can serve as a bedside table, and in the living room it can become a convenient stand for books and a cup of coffee. Furnishing a small apartment with this approach allows you to easily change your interior without major renovations. Plus, it saves you money on buying additional furniture.

7. Corner Furniture

Use all the corners of your apartment. For example, you can have a corner coffee table or an armchair with comfortable armrests. A corner sofa is perfect for a small living room. Despite its massive appearance, it can be very functional, especially if you choose a model with storage. This strategy is helpful when equipping a small bathroom, too. Corner cabinets in bathrooms can help you use every free inch wisely. If you’re furnishing a small apartment, please don’t overlook the corners!

 furnishing a small apartment with a small white armchair in the corner of a room

8. Utilize Windowsills & Tabletops

Usually, window sills are occupied by indoor plants at best, and at worst, by all those other items that don’t fit anywhere else. But furnishing a small apartment presents the opportunity to be creative. It’s easy to change this problem into a solution: use the windowsills as a table! In the living room or bedroom, set up a wide wooden worktop atop the windowsill, add a desk lamp, and a comfortable chair, and voila! A full workstation is ready. You can add an extra work surface in the kitchen by using a marble or stone windowsill.

This piece was contributed by Roy Emerson. Roy is a literary enthusiast, a loving father of twins, a programmer in a custom software company, editor in chief of ReclinerFAQ, a greedy reader, and a gardener.

Making a One-Bedroom Apartment Guest-Friendly

Luxury guest bedroom suite with desk

In a one-bedroom, it can feel like you don’t have much room for guests. Whether your guests are visiting for the afternoon, or even staying for a couple nights, your one-bedroom actually has plenty of space to host visitors comfortably! It doesn’t have to be stressful to have people over.

Here are some easy ways to help keep your space guest-friendly while also being livable for you.

Food & Drink: Buy in Advance, and Stage It with Style

a wood cutting board with cheese and crackers and a knife

Keep some cans of sparkling water in your fridge, and buy a few bags of chips or trail mix to store in the back of the cupboard. You can easily offer these to your guests as soon as they arrive. Additionally, this is a great trick for unexpected guests. While they’re sitting down and sipping on their drink, you can subtly dash into the bathroom to wipe down the sink.

Another way to add a special touch is to use uniquely shaped plates and serving dishes. You can find lots of options at the thrift store — look for the long-narrow appetizer trays often donated by catering companies, or wood cutting boards. A little staging goes a long way to making whatever food you have on hand look special.

Coats & Shoes: Make It Obvious

two pairs of sneakers on a wooden shoe rack

As soon as they arrive, most guests will want to know where to stow their shoes, coat, and bag. Having a coat rack or shoe bin right by your front door is an easy way to visibly guide people towards the right thing to do. Help them feel at home by having a clear place for their things.

Some people like to post a sign, saying something like “Shoes Off, Please”. Signs are a great way to communicate with guests, and they can save you the time and energy (and sometimes awkwardness) of asking guests to remove their shoes or hang their coats.

Bathroom: Make It Easy

a WC water closet sign against a blue sky

This is an easy one. Of course, you don’t need a label on your bathroom because you know where it is. But your guests don’t know! After all, who hasn’t been that person wandering around, looking for the bathroom and praying you don’t open the wrong door?

Look for a discreet sign you can mount on the bathroom door. It should be something you won’t get annoyed looking at every day. The sign could be something as straightforward as a classic bathroom icon decal (get a free gender neutral one, here!), or something artsy, like a poem or sketch about the fabulous joys of taking a bath.

Another great trick is to keep a collection of travel-sized toiletries. When you’re having people over, it’s easy to swap out your regular soap for a fresh, guest-friendly one. You can also set out a set of shampoo and conditioner with their towels, which helps them to not use yours!

WiFi: Don’t Make Them Ask

Displaying your WiFi code is not just a tip for Airbnb hosts! This is the ultimate way to make your place guest-friendly. It’s kind to help your guests conserve their data usage, especially if they’re coming over to work on a project with you. But for overnight visitors, it is absolutely essential that they know how to access the Internet.

Plus, WiFi networks and passwords can be a fun opportunity to share your personality! It’s fun when a visitor can guess the name of your network based on your interests. So write out and frame your network and password, and mount it in your living room somewhere obvious.

Sleeping Arrangements: Easy Set-Up, Easy to Hide

a hotel bedroom with large bed and curvy grey sofa to make a bedroom guest-friendly

For one-bedroom dwellers, this can be the trickiest part of having guests over. It can be challenging to figure out how to provide a second bed, a set of bed linens and towels, and create room for your guest’s belongings without totally destroying your living room. Lots of people use futons or sofa beds, of course, which can be a couch during the day and a bed at night. A nifty idea is to apply smart glass film to the windows in your guest’s area. This way, they can control the flow of daylight.

But our best tips for overnight guests involve clever storage. An ottoman with storage provides the perfect way to add extra seating to your living room while also stowing guest linens invisibly inside. Similarly, if you can spare the space, it’s really lovely to be able to offer your guests part of an empty console or bureau in the living room to store their items.

This tip works in the bathroom too. By using containers in your bathroom, you can easily gather up your own stuff and set out an empty container for your guest’s items.

Your Own Stuff: Quick Storage

a zebra striped chair and a storage ottoman - a host-friendly and guest-friendly storage solution

Finally, our best tip for making your one-bedroom guest-friendly is to have quick storage options around for all your own stuff. This way, whether you have lots of notice, or none at all, you can use your baskets or crates to quickly contain your mess and tidy up, leaving more space for your guest to feel at home.

Guests generally care more about the cleanliness of the room and bathroom more than anything else! Don’t sweat! Check out our cleaning guide for guests.

There you go! We hope these tips are useful for making your one-bedroom space more guest-friendly.

Just remember, most people aren’t coming over to inspect your house, they’re coming over to hang out with you. Being present with your guests and checking in about their needs are the simplest ways to be a good host, no matter the size of your home.

Happy hosting!

The Secret to Matching Wall Art to Interior Design

If you’re googling about picking any wall art for your home, then you probably fall into one of two categories. Either your walls are way too bare, or they’re covered with outdated and generic artwork that just doesn’t represent you anymore!

So, how do you go about picking art that matches you and matches your furnishings?

We’ve collected a few questions to get you started. You could start by taking Artichoke’s quick quiz, to start thinking about which styles make sense for you and your home. Just like people, no two rooms are the same. So make some notes and soon enough, you’ll discover your unique personal style emerging!

Benefits of Wall Art

Did you know that having art on your walls actually makes you smarter? A recent study by the University of Houston set out to measure the effect of art on the brain. They found that “when viewing art, there is a major increase in a brain’s delta wave connectivity, which is linked to a person’s decision making and sustained attention. There is an even higher increase in the brain’s gamma wave activity, which is linked to information processing and cognition.” So, being in the presence of original artwork you find meaningful can actually boost your brain’s activity up to 10%! 

How to Choose Your Artwork

Here’s our tried-and-true method for picking the right artwork for your space. If you can, go and actually sit in each room as you work through these questions.

Mood 

What mood do you want the room to evoke? What activities do you often do there? And is there some kind of view?

Use color theory to think about what makes sense for that specific room. Livings rooms are better for vibrant, slightly more risky pieces. Bedrooms are good for more abstract art. Leaving art unframed can work well in the bedroom because it keeps the focus on the art, and makes the room feel less formal. Bathrooms are generally good for simple, geometric styles. But don’t be afraid to like what you like! It’s your interior space, after all. If you do your best work in the kitchen, the art should reflect that mood.

Existing Palette

Related, what colors, textures, and eras already exist in your room?

Look around at the floor, the walls, and your furniture. Are you farmhouse chic, with lots of natural wood, greens, and yellows? Perhaps midcentury modern with gray couch and blue velvet throw pillows? Do you live in a 1930s era apartment building or a new construction condo? You want to choose art that doesn’t totally clash with the architectural features of the building or with the furniture you already have. On the other hand, don’t be narrow-minded about art that contrasts, rather than complements, your existing design scheme. Sometimes art that’s too matchy-matchy can get lost in the room. 

Space Planning

What size and number of artworks do you have room for? A single large statement piece, or perhaps a triptych of three related works?

A grey wall is covered with many small paintings of birds

There are a lot of templates on the Internet that help you see potential arrangements of artwork for your wall. You can group several smaller paintings together, for instance, or align the top edges of a group of works for a visually interesting arrangement of slightly differently-sized art. Leave room in your plan for inspiration. Maybe you decided on a single large statement piece for your bedroom, but you stumble upon three perfect prints at the farmer’s market. Interior design is an art and a science, after all. Try using online design tools to help you, if you can’t visualize the wall art layout.

Visual Style

Generally speaking, what visual style attracts you?

a woman sits on a couch and looks out the window, with art on the walls behind her

Maybe you find yourself drawn to geometric, landscape, or figurative work. Go to a local art gallery or museum, and spend time walking through the exhibits. Notice what art makes you light up, or which art relaxes you. Remember that your taste is unique. Whatever works for you, works for you! And don’t be afraid to mix and match styles! Your art collection can help tell your specific story throughout your home in a really beautiful way.

Values

What values do you hold? What are you growing towards?

Art is a wonderful way to inspire yourself toward a goal or value. Maybe you dream about vacationing in Greece, or a trip to visit the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. If you imagine a future full of trees, people, and creativity, these values can inspire the kinds of art you see. Take a moment and jot down a few ideas that resonate with you. It could be as simple as, “Fresh air makes me happy” or “Dinner is the best time of the day” or “Tangerine colors make me feel so positive and uplifted.” Use these as your inspiration to look for artwork, and sift everything through your value system. You could always try DIY-ing some artwork, like Mr. Kate and other YouTube personalities recommend. Alternately, you may wish to consider working with local artists! Because no one ever asks, Where did you get that skyline print?

Consider a Local Artist

A woman paints in profile while sitting at an easel

Working with a local artist can be hugely rewarding, and surprisingly affordable. You get unique art, plus you get to know the story behind the artist and their work. You can even commission an artist to create a bespoke work. A tip, though — you may have a very particular vision in mind, but try not to ask an artist to work too far outside their regular style. This truly makes it so much more meaningful to look up and see the work on your wall. You can look on Etsy or Instagram to connect with independent artists and get a sense of their style before investing. Plus, you’re supporting a real human being.

A final tip for your artwork journey: Remember that framing and installation make a big difference in how your art looks when mounted on the wall. Go to a professional to get your pieces ready for display.

>> We hope this guide has been helpful! We’re suckers for before-and-after photos, so please tag us in your drab-to-fab photos on Instagram @furnishr. If you’re interested in hiring an interior designer, check out our article on how interior designers work and the interior decorator design process. 

P.S. This article is co-presented with Artichoke Art, “Match Makers for Your Walls.”

How to Create an Airbnb Guidebook (and why it matters)

airbnb guidebook for hosts

This is your start-to-finish guide for creating a killer Airbnb guidebook. Don’t forget to check out our printable templates.

Why are Airbnb guidebooks so important for vacation rentals?

Firstly, Airbnb guidebooks represent one of the easiest ways to impress your guests and provide them with a great experience. The reason a guest chooses an Airbnb is not only for the physical living space but rather the host’s ability to provide insider tips. Chances are many guests aren’t from your city, and almost none will be from your local neighborhood. That means that they don’t know the local “go-to” spots that you probably know like the back of your hand! As a result, an Airbnb guidebook can offer that ‘local guide’ expertise giving yourself a competitive edge in quality service. 

(Need help setting up your Airbnb vacation rental? Complete a design request and you’ll get a design proposal within a day. All setup will be done for you in a day too.)

A good Airbnb host is like the concierge at a hotel.

They assist guests by providing answers to frequently asked questions. Additionally, it’s fortunate that one guest’s questions are likely shared by others.

  • I’m looking for a good bite to eat. Where should I go? Any standout dishes on the menu?
  • This is such a big city! What sightseeing attractions should I check out?
  • I’m sick and need cold and flu medicine. Is there a 24-hour pharmacy?
  • I am craving a good cappuccino. Does that exist around here?
  • I need to keep the kids happy. Any ideas?

The key to a virtuous circle of bookings is positive reviews. There’s no faster shortcut to a good review than providing a stunningly useful Airbnb guidebook. After all, communication, location, and value represent half of the review criteria that a host is assessed against. Thus, a guidebook demonstrates a communicative host with a great living space, who provides valuable guest experiences.

Meanwhile, you can proactively answer guests’ questions by creating a welcome guide that showcases the best your neighborhood has to offer. This kind of guidebook helps your listing stand out from the competition, too. Not only that, but it will also be publicly displayed on your Airbnb listing page (even before guests book your place). Additionally, you can print your guide and make it available in hard-copy format, once they arrive.

An Airbnb guidebook shows off your knowledge of the local area, reinforce your credibility as a host, increase bookings and maximize your nightly rate from guests looking to stay in great spots with reliable hosts.

But the best part? The beauty of a Airbnb guidebook is the value you provide your guests from a single small investment. You can reuse the guidebook with all future guests, and it shouldn’t need updating very frequently.

Therefore, as a low-cost, time-minimal investment, building an Airbnb Guidebook truly represents the low hanging fruit of your Airbnb success. So carve out some time to sit down with this post, and you’ll soon see a big difference the attractiveness of your property.

Let’s get started! Or scroll to the bottom to download the free template.

WRITING YOUR AIRBNB GUIDEBOOK

Step 1. Identify your target guests.

family friendly environment
 

For example, are they primarily elderly vacationers? Families with young children? A couple on romantic getaway? Go back through your listings if you need a memory jog. In addition, think about age, gender, number of guests, budget, and their interests.

Step 2. Brainstorm relevant activities for them.

parks nearby
 

Find activities that fit the interests and budgets of the guests you identified. For multiple segments of guests, consider making two sections within your guide! Tip: You can find comprehensive community event listings on the Internet, like a town hall website, or on local bulletin boards. Think about the questions your guests have asked you about the neighborhood.

CATEGORIES

Food Scene (fast food, your local fave restaurant, iconic restaurants, local fave coffee shop, coffee shop near transit)
Sightseeing (historical places, novel attractions (World’s Smallest Toothbrush!)
Drinks & Nightlife (bar with a view of the area, the local bar, the swanky “it” bar)
Arts & Culture (art galleries and museums, famous schools and libraries (did a celebrity grow up in the area?)
Parks & Nature (parks, playgrounds, natural beauty spots like beaches, trails, or national parks)
Shopping (malls, notable stores (brands, locally made goods, or popularized spots)
Entertainment & Activities (movie theaters, comedy clubs, rainy day activities like bowling alleys)
Basic Essentials (in other words, convenience stores, grocery stores, delicatessens, pharmacies, phone and electronics repair shops)
Getting Around (nearest transit stops, best routes and running times to popular spots)
 
Bonus Tip: Consistently directing guests to specific restaurants or shops may also let you ask those shop owners for discounts that your guests can use! Keep in mind that not all owners will be interested, and your pitch will work best if you are bringing them significant traffic.

Step 3. Make sure your activities cover a dispersed regional area.

trader joe's
 

In other words, some of your guests will only want walking-distance attractions, whereas others want to explore the wider region. For instance, try to cover the best spots in your own neighborhood, but also include some unique places that aren’t. From art galleries to coffee shops, your knowledge can be a huge gift to your guests!

Step 4. Make sure you’ve catered for seasonal variance!

outdoor skating rink
 

If your area is susceptible to seasonal tourism, definitely include popular seasonal points of interest like apple picking. However, look for ways to showcase the best of your location at all times of the year, whether it’s snowshoeing in the wilderness or free summer concerts at the park.

COMPLETING YOUR AIRBNB GUIDEBOOK

When you’re ready to add your complete guidebook to the online listing, here’s what you need to do.

1. Login to Airbnb.
2 In Hosting mode, select Listings from the top menu.
3. Click on your listing.
4. Click on Listing details from your listing’s menu.
5. Click the Edit button for the Guidebook section.

Now, you can add your guidebook in Airbnb.

Type the name of the particular place you wish to include within the relevant guidebook category. After that, Airbnb will automatically retrieve the official name of the place you wish to add, which you then select. Airbnb will also use Google Maps to pull the address and a map of the spot you want to list.

This is done on an itemized basis, so it can be a bit time-consuming. Subsequently, you can select a sub-category for the place. You can provide a short description up to 700 characters for each place you want to list. Use this space to let guests know why you recommend it, or an ‘insider tip’ they can use when they go. You also have the option to specify what the place is good for, for instance Families, Late Nights, Budget-Friendly, Peace & Quiet.

If you’d rather, just add a note to your listing that you provide a current, customized guidebook for your guests. Then print your guide and provide it as a hard copy. Above all, remember that if your guide doesn’t appear in the online listing, it can’t attract guests!

ADDITIONAL PRINTABLES

You can download this post in worksheet form to do offline! In fact, we recommend it — sit down with a cuppa and imagine a perfect experience for your guests.


Additionally, many hosts use blank printables to communicate essential info to their guests, like the wifi password. Some are great framed behind glass so your guest can use a whiteboard marker on it, like a checkout to do list.

Welcome Page Printable

Guest Planner Schedule Printable

Host Contact Info Printable

Wifi Printable

Recommendations Printable

Airbnb Checkout Instructions Printable

Do Not Disturb Printable

Remove Shoes Printable

Airbnb Feedback Printable

–> Complete Airbnb Printables

Either way, congrats! By creating an Airbnb guidebook, you’ve just taken an important step towards happier guests, better reviews, and increased bookings for your vacation rental or Airbnb.

Finally, do you need help setting up the Airbnb with the right furniture? 

Setting up an AirBnb is no easy task, Furnishr can design and set up the entire home for you in a day. Simply complete a design request, and you’ll receive a proposal with 2-3 designs for all the rooms in your unit. 

Furnish Your Airbnb

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This has been an (edited) guest post from our friends over at Padlifter.