As a renter there are different types of apartments that you can choose from and put your artistic stamp on. From custom art and handmade ceramics to glass art, you can make a meaningful impact in a small space that you’ll love coming home to each day. So whether you’re renting a studio in San Diego, CA, or an efficiency apartment in New York, NY, you can find tiny apartment décor that represents you.
To help you find artistic inspiration, we’ve reached out to artists to share their best advice on picking meaningful décor for your tiny apartment. Find out what they had to say so you can create a space that you love.
Pick art that represents your travels
Hanging art that captures memories of cities you’ve traveled to is a great way to personalize your home. Every city has artists who have specialized in capturing the landmarks, iconic businesses, and neighborhoods of their community. Consider creating an intriguing gallery wall of pieces of various shapes and sizes that will create a focus that celebrates the places that you love. Your guests are sure to get drawn into enjoying the art and the stories that are behind your selections. – Pamela Johnston from Totally Toronto Art
Have your tiny apartment reflect you and your unique qualities
Your home is where you can unwind and just be yourself. Make the space reflect you – the weird, colorful, whole you. Artwork quickly changes a room to reflect your personality and let you truly feel at home. Pick artwork that sparks a conversation. When a friend is invited into your home, they’ll learn a lot about you. Let your wall decorations initiate a topic that might have otherwise been uncovered. Quirky, bright, hyper-specific artwork does this best. – Carolyn Whittico, A Cup of Cloudy
Incorporate gratitude in your day-to-day apartment living
The Bright Angle designs belongings for mindful daily rituals because we are lucky to wake up each day with a choice. And we believe when we choose to live with thoughtful objects – we create a sense of gratification and joy in our daily routine. So we love the things we do. – Nick Moen, Founder of The Bright Angle
Choose a favorite memory to personalize your rental
When you order an art commission, choose a photo or subject that has good memories attached. Be sure to tell your artist why you picked that photo so they can highlight the right details in the final piece. Those personal touches are what make a painting you’ll want to keep year after year through every remodel. – Ashleigh Pritchard, CharmCat Creative
Handmade ceramics represent love
Handmade ceramics contain the love of the maker. Bring some of that love into your home! Whether it’s a mug, a teapot, or a vase, handmade ceramics warm any space. – Hamish Jackson, Hamish Jackson Pottery
Handmade ceramics can play a pivotal role in decorating a room
More important than function, such as a tray or a vase, handmade ceramic art has a backstory about the artist or the process. You want to see a ceramic piece when you walk into a room and want to know more about it. “Wow, where is that from? Who made that?” I consider two main things when working with a client: – the space around the actual piece, a shelf, a table, a wall, a table – the style of the piece from color to texture and flow. – Patricia Bridges, Bridges Pottery
Choose art from artists that you connect with
I’m a firm believer in if you like the artist, you’ll like the art. Most artists are self-represented with their own websites, blog, and Instagram account. Here you can see their process and develop a deeper connection to their work, which creates a richer, more meaningful attachment to the art and, essentially, to your living space. – Julie Ahmad, Professional Abstract Artist
Glass art brings a unique element of color to your apartment
Displaying a stained glass suncatcher is a great way to add a layer of texture and color to your space or to show off your unique personality. Hanging it in a window isn’t mandatory either – try hanging your favorite piece near a wall mirror or in your favorite reading nook – get creative. – Perri Salka Owner + Curator, The WonderMart, Brooklyn, NY
Embrace the process of the artist
Selecting the right pottery for your home can be hard. It’s personal, you’re using a tangible object that is intended to elevate your everyday routine. I think when using handmade pottery you immerse yourself in the process of the artist. Often times you can still see the maker’s marks in the pottery, be it the trail the fingers make on the inside of the piece from throwing it on the pottery wheel, the hand-inscribed signature, the chemically balanced mix of glazes and colors, or that accidental fingernail knick. – Lucy Nilan, Lucy Nilan Designs
Art should reflect the big moments in your life
I recommend investing in new art pieces as a celebration when big events happen in your life, such as meeting a personal goal, going on a trip, or moving to a new city. As you live with the artwork, you can look back and remember what you were feeling when you acquired each piece of artwork. – Dana Caldera, The Artist Planner Co.
Commissioned art helps reflect your story
Most of my clients and collectors choose a commissioned art piece because it tells their personal story, who they are, and where they’re from. The special things that they love. This is something you can’t buy in the store it’s unique it’s one of a kind. Another tip is I use license plates from the states they’ve lived in it really gives it a personal touch and starts a great conversation point with guests. – Peter Geiger, Peter Geiger Art
One-of-a-kind and original art leaves a priceless stamp
Original art is one of the best ways to add your unique touch when personalizing your home or apartment. Get out of the box (as in “big box stores where everything is mass-produced”) and you’ll have something that no one else has. Perhaps there is a special vacation spot that you love or a beloved pet, or you just can’t find what you’re looking for; commission an artist to paint it for you. Not only will you have art that means something to you, but you will also help support a local artisan. It helps when selecting the right piece to ask yourself, “Does It enhance my home, how does it make me feel? Art is to be lived with; it should nourish our spirit and our home. Art can help you create a mood. Got a certain vibe you love? Wild colors? Abstract designs? Monochromatic? Have some fun and go for it. Just pick one though until you get the hang of it. – Eva M. Hunter, Eva Hunter Art
Think about how the art makes you feel
When it comes to choosing art for your living space, I think the most important consideration is how you feel about the artwork whenever you catch sight of it. Some people choose art that matches their furniture or a current trend, and it has no emotional significance for them. That’s okay, but it’s not going to compare to the rush of emotion you can get from your own hand-selected, beloved artwork. – Anne Kostecki Graphic Designer & Illustrator
Pick a piece you like, you’re the one who will be living with it
Focus on artists whose work you like, and don’t be afraid to commission a piece from them. A commissioned piece is a conversation between you and an artist and may help you better define just what it is you are after. Bold colors or lots of translucent, textured clear glass? A statement piece or is privacy your goal? Where do you plan on putting it? This might affect how bold or subtle you’d like it to be. Bear in mind that if you are looking for abstract work, look for artists who do abstract work. If you like naturalistic or organic works, look for those artists. Have fun with the process and enjoy the outcome. – Denise Hart, Denise Hart Studio
Your art can impact you and your space
If you’re a visual learner, thoughtfully curating what goes on your walls will impact your life for good. What are the images around you suggesting? What do you want your office to feel like? What is the vision you are working for? Inspirational art can not only enhance the aesthetics of your surroundings, but it becomes a tangible reminder for you, about your values, and your legacy. In fact, the University of Glasgow conducted a study that noted how placing motivational posters, at a point of decision, can have a behavioral effect on people (Mutrie & Blamey “Encouraging stair walking”). So, placing what you want to see in a key spot in your home or work will too. – Cristina Kramp
Consider three things when choosing ceramics for food
Aside from aesthetic choices and infinitely varying levels of quality, there are different considerations to bear in mind for pottery that is purely decorative than for pieces intended for use with food. The first and foremost to consider are food safety and resistance to frequent use. Surfaces in contact with food must be glazed, and with glazes that are food-safe. That is:
a) they do not contain lead or other toxic materials.
b) even if lead- and toxic-free, the glaze still needs to be resistant to food acids (think lemon, vinegar, tomatoes, etc), which attack the integrity of the glaze.
c) the food-facing surface has no porosity, that is, no cracks or crevices where bacteria can accumulate. Crackle and other “specialty” glazes feature crevices that become a breeding ground for bacteria. Intricate decorations featuring uneven surfaces, depressions, or crevices are fine but should be just on the side that is not in contact with food. Your safest bet is choosing pieces where the food-facing surfaces are smooth and glazed with either a gloss or satin glaze, free of cracks. So a functional tableware piece with raw edges, for instance, is a big no-no. And raku, though pretty, is never food-safe. – Carina Feldman, Carina Ceramics