Smart living requires smart thinking. Interior designer Joanna Ziatabari offers her top tips to help first-time buyers create a micro-apartment space that is both exciting and inviting.


1. Fabric-ate the fabulous

Silk and velvet soft furnishings look brilliant but can cost a fortune. Luckily a number of high street shops have created cheaper versions, which look no less fabulous. Once you’ve decided on a colour scheme, try textured pieces in rayon and velour for a luxurious feel.

2. Keep the balance

Ensure that your furniture is in proportion. Balance is important and will help create different sections for you to enjoy. Having separate areas for dining and watching TV will enhance the feeling of space. If you want to create more space for entertaining, choose a coffee table that converts into a dining table.

3. Stay focused and reflect

Wall shelves will help you make the most of your space and can house decorative objects to offer visual intrigue. Adding glass and mirrors help to lighten the room and make it feel spacious. You could try incorporating these in a subtle way, perhaps through a mirror-topped coffee table.

4. Hold in store

Divan beds with additional drawers in the base are useful, whilst sofa beds not only accommodate guests but often have hidden storage space incorporated. Fitted wardrobes with mirrored sliding doors will maximise storage and enhance the feeling of space.

5. Don’t cut corners

Plant displays look visually striking and create a restful atmosphere whilst taking up little space. Floor lamps also work well in corners and create a great feature for your room. Try creating a cosy little area using a pouffe with a throw and some artwork featured on the wall above.

6. Sing a rainbow

Colour palettes took an edgier turn this year. Vibrant colours are very in – warm rich yellows feel organic and make a great accent colour. Purple hues, metallics and blues are also bang on trend. You can incorporate these subtly through cushions and accessories. Keeping the walls light will help achieve a brighter, larger looking space. Soft greys or wallpapers with a metallic sheen work nicely in achieving this. Contrast is also important, so remember to add in a few pieces of dark furniture to create a feeling of depth.

7. Add some toppings

For those on a tight budget, adding in new accessories will revive basic furniture pieces and enable you to create a seamless link between rooms. For example, an old sofa could be lifted with new vibrant cushions which tie in with the colours from a piece of artwork. If you’re feeling more adventurous, add a lick of paint to create your own piece of bespoke furniture. Try painting bedsides in the same colour as the wall for a seamless look.