1) Less is more. Fewer items in a large scale work best. I love to create focal points with collections of art or accessories so the impact of the collection is greater. Placing them unusually, like leaning a large painting or mirror, adds interest and looks balanced. With small collectibles, I find that grouping them also creates more of a statement than spreading them out.
2) Blend colors in seating pieces with the backdrop of a room. This is a formula that works well for spaces that require lots of seating. If the largest piece - typically a sofa - is the same neutral color as the walls, the furniture does not overwhelm the room. Here, light walls and light fabric on all of the sofas and chairs, don't make a small condo look crowded.
3) Forgo standard tables. With rather large footprints, cocktail and coffee tables often take up more space than needed. I suggest smaller tables, those with dual function like an ottoman/tray-top, and nesting tables that you use as time.......needed. Even side tables that aren't used much can be used as extra time....seating like those in this small apartment.
4) Dark is NOT bad. Small spaces don't have to be in light colors. It all depends on the style, the furnishings and the overall effect. Here, a study with deep tones on the furnishings and walls, looks warm and inviting. Sparkle is added with lighting, art and mirrors and sheen on pillows and accessories.
5) Throw out your bathmat. Get a wool area rug instead of a nylon bath mat. Wool naturally repels water and rugs are typically well-constructed and durable. The overall appearance will be wonderful.
6) Layer lighting. One of the best ways to change the character and mood of a space is through lighting. Select the right light for general, enough for tasks, and add accents for special occasions. Use energy efficient LED and compact fluorescent. Putting dimmers on all overhead fixtures will save energy and allow you to change your lighting without changing fixtures.
7) Re-think your seating. Consider changing your kitchen or dining seating from a chairs to a combination of chairs and a bench. It adds a different look, saves space, and without as many legs...gives a clean line.
8) White is right. So often we think that color is a must for walls. If you love to change your space, white may be the perfect color. With a neutral background - white walls, light flooring, white-to-off-white fabrics - your art and accessories will take center stage. What better base palette to change everything seasonally than a shade of white?
9) Plants change rooms. Even if you don't have a green thumb, you can use plants to complete your decor. A potted orchid on a table our counter is elegant and architectural.( See post from 5/24) Using taller plants in corners will make them less barren and give you a place for an up-light.
10) Don't buy a sofa. In living rooms - whose use has declined significantly in most homes - consider how you use the room before buying a sofa. If your family room or great room is used more, select a settee or lounge chairs for the living room. Besides saving space, you'll get flexibility in seating and the opportunity to change style, color and fabric choices.