I’m a fashion blogger with a yen for interior design. I grew up reading architecture books from my dad’s studio, and watching renovation projects from start to finish.
When it was time for me to furnish my small apartment, I was excited to draw inspiration from my favorite design movements: mid-century modern, and minimalism.
I wanted my living quarters to reflect my passions for travel and Japanese cute culture. However, the rooms had to be functional, and meet my daily needs — with carefully chosen multi-use furniture, and no excess.
I learned a lot during my interior decoration process, and am thrilled to share the results. Here’s a tour of La Carmina’s apartment, with illustrated design tips on how to make the most of a small living space.
Instead of a regular-sized couch, look for a loveseat like this Cavett from Crate and Barrel. Bulky, over-stuffed sofas take up too much visual and physical space.
For a small living room like mine, seek out a two-seat sofa with slim, minimal lines. The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe is another great option.
Choose modular furniture that can serve multiple purposes. For example, my white armchair white leather armchair can be moved around the room, or rotated to create an extra seat at the table.
In a small apartment, every accent draws the eye — starting at the front entrance. I replaced my utilitarian welcome mat with a Swedish Pappelina rug from Scandaffaren, purveyors of Scandinavian decor. This slim runner has an appealing starry design, but is also strong and waterproof.
Commit to an overall color scheme and aesthetic for the entire apartment. My mid-century modern influence is expressed through the color choices (lemongrass green, tangerine orange, aqua blue), angled furniture legs, bullet planter, and geometric accents.
At the same time, experiment and make the look your own. I didn’t want to live in a home that looked straight out of the 1950s. I added personal touches such as Japanese cute characters, travel memorabilia, and art by my friends.
Living plants add both health benefits and flair. Put a snake plant in a colorful mid-century modern pot, for a vibrant effect. I chose the medium Retro Bullet Planter from Hip Haven in hot orange, to match my overall color scheme.
To transform a bathroom from drab to fab, look for designer towels. I found these 100% Turkish cotton towels from Sunday Minx, an Australian designer that specializes in dramatic, luxury designs. The geometric shapes and colors are a perfect fit for my aesthetic.
Invest in a few standout pieces of top-quality furniture. As a mid-century modern fanatic, I was excited to order two authentic Eames side chairs and a table from Herman Miller.
I stuck to furniture with thin metallic wire legs, such as my Eames chairs and Magis dining table. The pieces look like they’re hovering in space, which keeps the tiny apartment from feeling weighed down.
Don’t shy away from large furniture if it can serve several functions. My Tavolo XZ3 table is great for all types of tasks, eliminating the need for a separate desk or side-table.
As you can see above, I used the same color family for the living, dining and kitchen areas, which flow into each other. This keeps the look harmonized, and gives the illusion of a larger space.
When choosing home accessories, I looked for functional items that showcased my personality and interests. The Miffy table light is shaped like my favorite bunny character, and the Airportag pillows reflect my love of travel.
A white or light-colored carpet with a simple pattern can make a living room feel bigger. My Moroccan hand-tufted shag from Rugs USA has zigzags, which draw the eye towards the window.
I added mood lighting with minimalist lamps that double as objects of art. Mr Maria produces adorable, top-end lamps that look like favorite characters; I have Miffy and Line Friends Brown bear.
Keep the bedroom simple and peaceful, to encourage a good night’s sleep. I surrounded my natural memory foam bed from Essentia with mementos from Japanese temples.
Avoid excess decorations, such as stacks of pillows, and shelves of figurines. When your apartment has limited square footage, clutter must be controlled.
Keep kitchen utensils inside cupboards and drawers. For equipment that sits on the counter, go for a unified finishing such as stainless steel.
I hope you found these tips helpful for decorating a tiny condo or apartment! To see more of my mid century modernist interiors, see the full apartment tour here.
For more stories about architecture and design in Barcelona, Spain and other worldwide locations, visit La Carmina blog and @lacarmina social media.