Savvy Apartment Design Tips that Enhance Function and Form

While less than 5% of the U.S. worked from home before the pandemic, about 20% of the U.S. workforce is expected to keep working from home after the pandemic, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The same study found that U.S. workers invested about $560 to upgrade their home work areas.

But to create truly functional space (especially within an apartment, where footprint is limited), you need to utilize a holistic approach. Flexible furniture pieces and design choices in one area of an apartment can greatly improve flow and function in another.

Rethinking underutilized spaces, investing in multipurpose furniture and using lighter, calming color palletes are a few initial pointers. For a deeper dive into the thought process behind designing for smaller spaces, we reached out to Becca Roderick, head of interior design at One Kings Lane, a notable New York-based design firm.

Related Life: What are a few tips you can provide on designing for smaller spaces, especially with many people in urban areas still working from home?

Becca Roderick: When tackling a small space, make sure to consider function first and foremost. Think about how you live and what is important to you in your space. Do you need to work at the dining table each day because you don’t have a dedicated office space? Then I’d suggest adding a sideboard with hidden storage so you can tuck your laptop away at the end of the workday.

The Alda Storage Bench makes the most of any entryway. Credit: One Kings Lane

Figure out what is most important to you and build the space around that. Are you an avid tv watcher and need comfort for binging Netflix episodes every evening? Then commit to the most comfortable sofa and ottoman pair that you can find – even if it means upgrading these items.

Upgrading your upholstery is a worthwhile investment. Credit: One Kings Lane; Photography by Frank Frances

RL: What advice would you give to renters looking to invest in furniture? What types of furniture pieces are worthwhile investments, taking into account the potential to have to move later on?

Becca Roderick: The best pieces to invest in are rugs and upholstery, and this holds true whether you rent or own your space. Well-made upholstery pieces are worth the spend because they are more comfortable and last significantly longer than inexpensive pieces given the superior construction methods and materials used for fabrication.

The same is true for area rugs. Vintage rugs may be 50 years old (or more!) and still look beautiful because of the quality of the craftsmanship and materials. When thinking about moving to a new home or upgrading your space, you can be sure that you’ll want to bring these investment pieces with you – and there will always be a spot for a beautiful, well-made piece even if it means moving what was your living room rug into the bedroom.

These rugs by Boston-based interior designer Erin Gates meld contemporary flair with New England tradition. Credit: One Kings Lane

The Related Life is written and produced by the Related Life Editorial Team. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest events, news and announcements in your area, and tag us for a chance to be featured @therelatedlife and #therelatedlife.