There's lots of great things about having a small space, and one of the best is that a little change makes a big impact. If being stuck inside during the polar vortex brought on your winter stir crazies a little early, the best remedy is reinventing your environment.
The Home Decor Equivalent of New Accessories
When you want to amp up the excitement of an outfit you've worn a million times before, you switch up your accessories! Apply the same logic to your home by choosing a new accent color. It's sort of annoying when decorating articles suggest painting a room a new color to make a big impact on a low budget. Who was time to paint a whole room? Choosing a new accent color is much easier, less labor intensive and can still make a space look fresh. Shopping in this way is super easy, because your color of choice will seriously narrow the field. In a physical store, your eye will search for the color in question, and online searches for "green bud vase" will be much more manageable than plain old "bud vase."
And keep in mind that the wardrobe comparison is apt when it comes to home decor. A lot of the rules you've learned about which colors go together, even if they don't necessarily match and to incorporate color, texture, pattern and shine to create a dynamic outfit hold true for your home, as well.
Another tip borrowed from fashion: it is worth it to spend more on a piece that will be in your home forever. Buying cheap furniture is like buying cheap coats. They both get beat up after a couple years and you know that you'll have to replace them when you get your "real home." I've heard a lot of people in apartments and other small spaces use this "it's not where I'll be forever" excuse as to why they don't invest in their home. It may not be your forever home, but it is your real home and where you are now. If you buy a chair you absolutely adore, you will find a way to work with it into any space you occupy. It may even become the centerpiece around which you design your "real home."
Investing in furniture can be even more pricy than investing in your wardrobe, so this can also be a goal. Instead of spending a small influx of cash now on new home accessories to sate your decorating appetite, use that money to start a fund for an investment piece somewhere down the line.
Double Duty Dealbreaker
Make a rule that anytime a major home item doesn't perform more than one function, it's a deal breaker. This doesn't mean that you have to find a desk that has a built-in juicer. One of the functions can be purely decoration. If you find a beautiful wooden filing cabinet that is painted like an objet d'art, that counts! It's filling an aesthetic as well as a practical purpose. This strategy can be as simple as making your dresser your vanity to make more space in the bathroom. A daybed is a great example for the truly spacially cramped – a bed that provides seating for guests can be a savior for parties.
More and more retailers are becoming attuned to the needs of a small space dweller, so you'll find a lot of stuff like this, especially in urban areas and during "back to school shopping" when every big box store has "dorm essentials" that look chic long after you've graduated. (Leopard-print storage cubes, anyone?)
Decide to trade out one bulky item in your space for a more streamlined piece. This could mean swapping out your dresser for a rolling rack in your bedroom, or a regular desk for one that folds up against the wall. You'll never realize how much that huge hand-me-down stuffed arm chair and ottoman are cramping your style until you trade them out for a sleeker, smaller piece.
One parting tip: it's also a great idea to only buy things you really love for your home. It will keep you from buying junk just to fill space, and you'll resent a space-hog piece less if it's something you truly adore that makes your house your home.