Space Maximization Tips for a 500 Sq. Ft. Apartment Space

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Space Maximization Tips for a 500 Sq. Ft. Apartment Space

Posted by Krista Kehoe on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 at 5:22pm.

Space Maximization Tips for a 500 Sq. Ft. Apartment Space

If you're staying in the big city and you want to stay in an apartment all on your own, there's a good chance you'll end up with a 500-square foot space or something similar. This may sound daunting at first, but if you know how to maximize what little space you have, it might actually be just enough.

The key is to find the focal points in the apartment and making them your main rooms or hangout spaces.  Also take note of the permanent features and fixtures because you may need to decorate or remodel around them. You may be able to have them removed, but that's only if your lease contract allows you to. 

So, assuming that you do have that privilege, you can do the following to maximize space:

  • Remove any walls that run across the room. You have very little floor space as it is; don't cut it down further by installing walls. An open space will give you a continuous flow of vision and mobility, which makes the apartment to look and feel spacious.
  • Install sliding doors for your closet instead of swinging doors. They are more efficient, and therefore more appropriate for a very limited floor space.
  • If you really want to have a division between two rooms, consider using frosted glass walls with open archways instead of a solid, concrete wall with a door. You can do this to separate your sleeping area from the living and dining areas, for example.
  • Go for tall and wide windows, preferably reinforced glass with slim and sturdy frames if your apartment has air conditioning. If it doesn't, French windows would be great. Big windows let in natural light and also promote continuity of vision. These two are old-school tricks in making a small room look bigger inside. 

 A 500 sq. ft. room with floor-to-ceiling windows. Photo by Mirage floors at

Besides structural design, you need to get the right pieces of furniture and appliances for the apartment. 

Furnishings and accessories have the power to make spaces look either bigger or smaller regardless of the actual floor area. Your goal is to make a small room look spacious and not too crowded. Withthat in mind, here are some recommendations for furnishing a small apartment space:


Muted walls contrasted with green couch and accessories, low, compact furniture, glass end tables, and a wide window where natural light shines through.  Photo by urbaneapts at

  •  Avoid large, bulky pieces of furniture. They will eat up a lot of floor space and make the apartment look stuffy—and that is different from cozy. Instead, you can have low-height furniture to give the impression of a higher ceiling; a round, glass table instead of a bulky, square dining table; bar stools instead of formal dining chairs; and poufs and ottomans instead of armchairs.
  • Go for glass instead of thick, wooden furniture.
  • Use light colors on your walls, like white, mint, light yellow, and light pink. You can also go for muted wall colors like gray and black. Just don't make your walls all black because it will feel like the walls will close in on you anytime. 
  • Speaking of wall color, it would be best if you use just one, especially if you followed the tip above and maintained a one-room apartment. On the other hand, no one can stop you if you want to be creative with wall colors. If you want to use two or more colors, you can try these:
  1. Paint in panels
  2. Paint large, geometric shapes 
  3. No fine patterns
  4. Choose one background colorPaint different colors (that still complement each other) for each area of the apartment (etc. white in the living room, periwinkle in the dining area, and mint in the kitchen). 
  • You also need to match the colors of your furniture, appliances and other decorations with the color scheme of the apartment. Since you're already advised to use light hues, choose a dark color to contrast with the walls. For example, accessorize your white apartment with deep red throw pillows, lamps, and vases.  

 A stove that fits along the counter with a vent directly above; drawers, cabinets and cubbyholes; microwave sitting snugly beside the overhead cabinets; kitchen table with chairs, which can double as the dining area.  Photo by jimmyharris at

  • You can put a counter between your kitchen and living room if there's no room for a dining table. The counter can double as your eating area.
  • It would be great if you have pull-out kitchen appliances that are built-in to the cabinets and counter (ex: an electric stove with a cover that's flush with the surface of the counter, a vent that rolls out from the overhead cabinet above the stove).
  • The biggest bed size you can go is a double. Save the king-sized bed for your future, bigger house.
  • Build floor-to-ceiling shelves with sliding doors instead of buying dressers and wardrobes.

All these tips will give your apartment a more spacious feel. 



TinaMadsen is a design enthusiast who brings her passion for modern décor and writing to her role as the NowModern.comblogger. She also specializes in turning small living areas into spacious social hubs with bar stools and counter stools.

Krista Kehoe, Calgary real estate agent & REALTOR®

1 Response to "Space Maximization Tips for a 500 Sq. Ft. Apartment Space"

Krista Kehoe wrote: These are great ideas, we have a lot of condo buyers that can put this to good use!

Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 at 5:36pm.

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