The apartment we are currently renting is the smallest space that I have ever lived in. It is an elevated version of a studio, with a separate kitchen and bathroom. Despite being tiny, it is not suffocating and the secret to that lies in how it is decorated. The interior designer for this place is a genius for tweaking with basic elements to add faux spacious feel and character to this 42m² apartment.

If you have an apartment smaller than you’d like (we live in Germany; of course it’s smaller), here are 5 ways in which you can make it seem bigger and better.

Mirrors Mirrors Mirrors

There are 7 mirrors in my apartment, and their placement is the key. There is a 3/4 mirror one in the corridor (functional). All three doors of the wardrobe, which also acts as a divider for living space and bedroom, are mirrors. Then there are circle and oval shaped mirrors placed across the apartment, either flanking a piece of furniture (like bed) or facing each other to create an illusion of depth. And each mirror has a bit of character – like carved edges or lucite frame. Inexpensive but not basic.

Bottom line: throw in as many mirrors as you can. It’s not narcissism; it’s decor.

Lean Furniture

Bulky furniture, like our darling sofa in Cologne, are 10/10 for comfort but do nothing to optimise space. Every piece of furniture in this apartment is lean. Queen size beds, one wing back, and mostly pollino chairs. Instead of dining table chairs, there are two stools, that slide under after use. There are plenty of options to sit, but none too big or comfy.

Bottom line: think like you are buying furniture for your 12-year old self, but make it sturdy.

Art Away

This is where you forget the lesson in lean-ness, and bulk up. There are 40×50 frames (1″ inch thick) hanging above our bed, dining table, chest of drawers, work table and bathroom, with post cards of butterflies pasted in the centre of a white matte sheet. And you only know that they are post cards on very close inspection. They legit pass as art. It’s such a good trick to decorate without breaking your bank account. They double up as splashes of colour and snaziness as well.

Bottom line: be generous with art and keep the theme consistent. Butterfly it is for our apartment (not by choice). Or flowers, as show in below pictures. The trick is to have lots of white in your frame.

Be Clear Whenever Possible

Our bedside tables have a glass top instead of wood. Free standing bathroom shelves are also glass. What this does is create an illusion of space as your vision is not interrupted.

Bottom line: Get a clear top as often as possible.

Max Out on Minimalism

When you live in a small space, you have no option but to trim down your trousseau and make the most of pieces that you have. Shoes, clothes, accessories, dishes, bowls, spoons, forks, towels, papers…unless they are necessary or spark joy, they have got to go. It’s not an option.

Bottomline: Find out where the closest Humana collection bin is and make someone happy.