Apartment Decorating 101: How to Create a Vibey Apartment

Ahh, my first apartment was a one-bedroom apartment nestled in the buzzing Vancouver city.

It had its quirks, but it was my very own space to style and make a home.

I remember the thrill of picking out furniture, choosing the perfect paint colors, and finding clever storage solutions to maximize the small first apartment.

That apartment was more than just a place to live; it was my canvas for creativity and self-expression.

But, I was lost when it came to apartment decorating.

I wanted a cozy apartment with cozy minimalist decor, but I also wanted a vibe to it.

Well, with some trial and error, a bit of luck, I created a vibey apartment fit for a girly college aesthetic.

So, let’s check out these 59 apartment decorating ideas!

You Have to Own Your Apartment Space

Making your space your own is all about these things.

High Comfort Level

First off, let’s talk comfort. You know that feeling when you walk into a place and it just clicks?

That’s what we’re aiming for.

When you add personal touches, like your favorite color schemes, photos of your squad, or that quirky lamp you snagged at a thrift store, it makes the space feel welcoming and cozy.

It’s like wrapping yourself in a big, warm hug every time you walk through the door.

Clear Headspace

Next up, mental health. This might sound deep, but having a space that reflects your personality can seriously boost your mood. It’s like a daily dose of happy pills but without the side effects.

Your apartment should be your sanctuary, a place where you can relax, recharge, and just be yourself.

Whether it’s a gallery wall of your travel pics, a cozy reading nook with your favorite books, or a kitchen that’s decked out with cute utensils, these little things make a big difference.

Creative Outlet

Plus, let’s not forget about the creative outlet aspect.

Decorating your apartment is like curating your own mini-museum. It’s a chance to showcase your style, interests, and even your quirks.

You get to experiment with different looks, play with colors, and try out trends without anyone telling you what to do. It’s all about expressing yourself and having fun with it.

Put Your Own Stamp On It

And hey, personalizing your space is also super practical.

When everything in your apartment has your stamp on it, it’s easier to keep things organized and functional. You’ll know exactly where everything is, and it all just makes sense. It’s like your space is working for you, not the other way around.

In a nutshell, personalizing your space is key to making it feel like home.

It’s all about creating a vibe that’s uniquely you, boosting your mood, and giving you a place where you can truly unwind and be yourself.

So, go ahead, get creative, and turn that apartment into your own personal haven.

Getting Started: Apartment Aesthetic & Cozy Feels

So, you just moved into your new apartment, and it’s time to turn that blank canvas into a cozy, aesthetic vibe.

Let’s dive into the first steps: measuring your rooms and furniture, understanding the layout, and making the most of natural light.

First up, grab that measuring tape. I know it sounds basic, but getting the exact dimensions of your rooms and furniture is key. Here’s the tea:

Measure Everything

Measure the length, width, and height of each room. Don’t forget to note down any quirky features like alcoves, built-in shelves, or radiators that might affect furniture placement.

Doorways and Hallways

Make sure to measure doorways and hallways too. There’s nothing worse than buying that dreamy couch only to find out it won’t fit through the door.

Furniture Dimensions

If you already have furniture, measure it up. If you’re shopping for new pieces, check the dimensions online or in-store.

Pro tip: Carry a list of your room measurements when you go furniture shopping.

Once you’ve got all your measurements, sketch out a rough floor plan. It doesn’t have to be Picasso-level, just something to help you visualize where things might go.

Next up, let’s talk layout. Every apartment has its own unique layout, and understanding it can help you make the most of your space.

Traffic Flow

Think about how you’ll move through the space. You don’t want to be tripping over furniture or squeezing through tight spots. Leave enough room for easy movement.


Divide your apartment into different zones based on activities.

For example, create a cozy living area for chilling out, a dining zone for meals, and a functional workspace if you’re working from home.

I work from home and also did some remote work back when I had my first apartment and had to set up my work office in my bedroom, but made sure to use a temporary door and some rugs to section it off.

This helps in organizing the space and making it more functional.

Focal Points

Identify the focal points in each room.

It could be a big window, a fireplace, or even a piece of statement furniture.

Arrange your other furniture around these focal points to create a balanced look.

Natural light is a game-changer when it comes to making your apartment look bright and welcoming. Here’s how to harness its power:

Identify Light Sources

Take note of where the natural light comes in during different times of the day. This will help you decide where to place your furniture and what areas might need extra lighting.

Light-Friendly Colors

Opt for light and neutral colors on the walls and larger furniture pieces. These colors reflect natural light and make the space feel airy and spacious.

But don’t be afraid to add some color like a navy couch.


Use mirrors strategically to bounce light around the room. Placing a mirror opposite a window can double the light and make the room feel larger.

Sheer Curtains

Go for sheer curtains instead of heavy drapes. They let in more light while still providing some privacy. Plus, they add a soft, cozy vibe to the room.

Lighting Layers

Even with great natural light, you’ll need some artificial lighting for evenings and darker days.

Mix it up with ambient lighting (like floor lights), task lighting (like desk lamps), and accent lighting (like fairy lights or LED strips) to create a warm, inviting atmosphere.

By measuring your space, understanding your layout, and making the most of natural light, you’re well on your way to creating an apartment that’s not only aesthetic but also super cozy.

Time to Budget for Your Cozy Apartment

Now that you’ve prioritized, let’s talk about some fire ways to decorate without breaking the bank.

It’s okay to DIY it or buy second hand when you first move into your apartment.

This is exactly what I did.

I ended up getting several furniture pieces like a table, TV stand and ironing board!

Thrift Stores and Flea Markets

Don’t sleep on thrift stores and flea markets. You can find some unique pieces for a fraction of the cost. Plus, you’re giving old stuff a new life – so eco-friendly.

DIY Projects

Get crafty! There are tons of DIY projects online that can help you create custom decor on the cheap. From painting old furniture to making your own wall art, the possibilities are endless.

Repurpose What You Have

Before you buy new, see if you can repurpose what you already have. An old ladder can become a bookshelf, or mason jars can be turned into cute storage containers.

Sales and Discounts

Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and clearance items. Sign up for newsletters from your favorite stores to get the latest deals.


Sometimes less is more. Focus on a few statement pieces rather than cluttering your space with too much stuff. It’s budget-friendly and keeps your space looking chic and clean.

Decorate With Indoor Plants

Indoor plants are a great way to add life to your apartment without spending a ton.

Plus, they improve air quality and make your space feel more inviting.

Swap and Trade

Have friends who are also decorating? Swap and trade items to refresh your space without spending a dime.

By setting a budget and sticking to these tips, you can create a dope apartment that’s totally you without going broke.

Choosing the Right Apartment Furniture

Alright, squad, let’s talk furniture. Picking the right pieces can make or break your apartment’s vibe.

Here’s how to choose furniture that’s not only stylish but also functional and just the right fit.

First up, multi-functional furniture is your BFF. When you’re working with limited space (or just want to keep things versatile), these pieces are a game-changer:

Sofa Beds

Perfect for when you have friends crashing at your place. It’s a comfy couch by day and a bed by night. Two-for-one, baby!

Storage Ottomans

Ottomans are clutch. They give you extra seating, a place to kick up your feet, and hidden storage for all your stuff.

Drop-Leaf Tables

deal for small spaces. You can keep it compact for everyday use and expand it when you need more dining space or a workspace.

Convertible Desks

If you’re working from home, a desk that doubles as a vanity or console table can save space and keep things looking tidy.

Next, let’s talk scale and proportion. This is all about making sure your furniture fits your space just right. Here’s the tea:

Measure Twice, Buy Once

Always measure your space before buying furniture. You don’t want that massive couch swallowing your living room whole.

Proportional Pieces

If you have a small space, stick with smaller, more streamlined furniture. Bulky pieces can make the room feel cramped. Go for a sleek sofa and a petite coffee table instead of oversized ones.

Height Matters

Play with different heights to add dimension to your room. A mix of low and high furniture can make the space feel more dynamic and less boxy.

Leave Breathing Room

Don’t overcrowd your space. Make sure there’s enough room to move around comfortably. It’s all about finding that balance between having enough furniture and keeping it airy.

Visual Tricks

Use furniture that visually opens up the space. Think clear acrylic chairs, glass tables, and open shelving. They keep the space looking light and spacious.

Creating a Vibey Apartment

living in a small space doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice style or functionality. Here are some tips to make the most of every square inch and create a space that’s both dope and practical.

First things first, you gotta divide your space into functional zones. This helps you stay organized and makes your apartment feel bigger. Here’s how to do it:

Define Areas

Even in a studio, you can create distinct areas for sleeping, eating, working, and chilling. Use rugs, furniture placement, and even curtains to define these zones.

Use Room Dividers

Room dividers, like bookshelves, screens, or curtains, can help separate spaces without closing them off. They add privacy and keep things looking neat.

Multi-Use Furniture

Think about how your furniture can serve multiple purposes. A desk can double as a dining table, or a sofa can turn into a guest bed.

Vertical Space

Use your walls! Shelves, hooks, and wall-mounted desks can free up floor space and create designated areas for different activities.

Portable Pieces

Furniture on wheels, like rolling carts or mobile kitchen islands, can be moved around to create flexible zones as needed.

Tips for Maximizing Small Spaces

Go Up

Vertical storage is key. Tall bookshelves, wall-mounted cabinets, and hanging storage can help you make the most of your space without cluttering the floor.

Reflect Light

Mirrors and light colors can make a small space feel bigger. Place mirrors opposite windows to reflect natural light and create the illusion of more space.

Hidden Storage

Opt for furniture with hidden storage. Beds with drawers, ottomans with compartments, and coffee tables with storage can help keep your space tidy.

Foldable Furniture

Foldable and collapsible furniture can be a lifesaver in small apartments. Think folding chairs, drop-leaf tables, and Murphy beds that can be tucked away when not in use.

Clear Pathways

Keep pathways clear to make the space feel open. Arrange furniture so there’s a natural flow from one area to another.

Minimalist Approach

Less is more. Keep decor simple and clutter-free. Choose a few statement pieces instead of crowding your space with too much stuff.

Light and Airy

Use light, airy fabrics for curtains and upholstery. Heavy fabrics can make a space feel cramped. Light colors and sheer materials keep things feeling fresh and open.

Furniture with Legs

Furniture with exposed legs can make a room feel more spacious. It creates an airy vibe and makes the floor more visible, giving the illusion of more space.

Apartment Layout Ideas

let’s break it down room by room. Each space in your apartment has its own vibe and needs, so here are some fire tips to make your living room, bedroom, and kitchen/dining area both functional and fab.

Living Room

My living room is the hub of everything and it should be for you.

When laying out your living room it’s important to look at where everyone will be seated as well as where the furniture is respective of people sitting.

You don’t want to have a chair block the bookcase or a light obstructing the window.

Seating Options

Go for a comfy sofa that suits your style, but don’t forget about extra seating. Poufs, boho chair, or a couple of chic chairs can add more spots without taking up too much space.

Coffee Table Choices

A coffee table with storage is a must.

Look for one with shelves or drawers to stash away remotes, magazines, and other small items.

I personally love my ottoman coffee table.

It’s functional and chic looking!

Entertainment Center

If you’re tight on space, wall-mount your TV and use a floating shelf underneath for media devices. Keeps things neat and opens up floor space.

Rug Game

A good rug can define your living area and make it feel cozy. Make sure it’s big enough to fit under all your main furniture pieces – it pulls everything together.

Personal Touches

Add some personality with throw pillows, blankets, and wall art. These little touches make the space feel like home.


Bed Storage

Beds with built-in storage or space underneath for bins are lifesavers. Store off-season clothes, extra bedding, or anything else you don’t need daily.

The ones I use is great for my hubby’s underwear and socks instead of taking room for a dresser for him. He loves it since he can roll out of bed and boom, he can get his socks!


Opt for nightstands with drawers or shelves. They’re perfect for keeping your bedside essentials within reach but out of sight.

These ones are super durable and doesn’t hold a scratch even! Love these nightstands.


Bedside lamps or wall-mounted sconces are great for adding light without taking up valuable surface space. Plus, they add a cozy vibe.

Closet Hacks

Maximize your closet with organizers, like hanging shoe racks or extra shelves. If you’re short on closet space, consider a stylish clothing rack.

Calm Colors

Choose soothing, neutral colors for your bedroom. It creates a relaxing atmosphere, which is perfect for winding down at the end of the day.

And with your color scheme you can have a western bedroom or cozy minimalist bedroom.

Kitchen and Dining Area

Compact Furniture

In a small kitchen or dining area, go for compact furniture. A bistro table or a foldable dining table can save space but still be functional.

Storage Solutions

Every apartment kitchen I’ve had had very limited storage room.

So, I had to be invented and find some kitchen organizing hacks to work with.

Use every inch of space wisely. Wall-mounted shelves, pegboards, and magnetic strips for knives or spices can keep things organized and within reach.

Multipurpose Island

If you have room, a kitchen island can serve as extra counter space, storage, and even a dining area. Look for one with wheels so you can move it around as needed.

Smart Appliances

Opt for smaller, multi-functional appliances to save counter space. Think toaster ovens, air fryers, or Instant Pots that can do it all.

Dining Zone

Define your dining area with a rug or a pendant light. It separates the space visually and makes it feel like its own little nook.

And don’t forget to add a theme to your kitchen and dining area. My fav’s are:

Get Your Cozy Apartment Ready

There ya go!

I hope you have fun decorating your apartment!

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