Designing for Small Space Apartment Living in the Gold Coast

We sat down with interior designer Nathan Taylor to discuss treating apartment design as an exciting opportunity to tell your story. Living in an urban neighborhood like Chicago’s Gold Coast may mean swapping square footage for stunning views and upscale amenities, but that doesn’t mean you need to skimp on style. Below are some of Nathan’s expert tips to keep in mind while designing your small space to tell your story.

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  • Don’t be afraid to utilize art, and lots of it; stack, layer, and create groupings. In a small space, you can even take your art all the way from the floor to the ceiling, and your picture frames don’t even have to match.
  • If you’re a color and/or pattern lover, the bathroom is an excellent place to show that off. A large-scale wallpaper or dramatic paint color can really elevate this pace, which includes painting or wallpapering the ceiling; go for it!
  • Every furniture piece should have a function. Use cabinets, chests and shelving for styling as well as storage.
  • Utilizing mirrors does not make you a narcissist! Mirrors can really open up a small space and reflect light, while still serving their intended purpose – selfies.
  • Mixing vintage, new and heirloom pieces will really help a room feel curated. Again, your pieces don’t have to match. Instead, they should complement one another, and contribute to your story.
  • Even if you’re a minimalist, don’t be afraid to use large-scale pieces. A sculpture, statement plant, or painting can add texture without adding clutter. Utilizing floor lamps instead of table lamps also allows your accent/end tables to be mobile.
  • Benches, ottomans, and poofs can all act as multipurpose, moveable items that provide extra seating and possible storage.
  • Don’t be afraid to use large rugs! Most people purchase rugs that are too small, but sizeable rugs help to unify the space, making all pieces feel connected and the room even bigger. The smaller the space, the bigger the rug. Layering rugs is also a good option to add texture and pattern.
  • Consider swapping lots of small plants for one large statement plant. If opting for succulents, think about ways to display them that feel intentional: a DIY living wall or open shelving unit allows small plants to have their moment in the sun. Pun intended.
  • When styling art, accessories, and plants, remember to ‘pyramid and cluster’. This creates focal points while also providing negative space outside the pyramid to create moments of rest for the eye.

Designing for a small space presents a unique opportunity to hone in on pieces you really love, and focus on the story you want to tell.

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Nathan Taylor acts as owner and principal designer for retail store Obelisk Home, a home base for their full-service design team. He also owns HomeComing with his partner J Tyler Whitmer, a home reimagining/flipping business. Follow on Instagram to keep track of their latest projects and gain inspiration.