Are you dreaming about buying your first home, but feel daunted by house prices? Before you opt out, consider getting your foot on the property ladder with a small apartment.

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As the Ai Group reported earlier this year, apartment construction is booming in Australia.

Generally speaking, a small apartment is less expensive than a standalone house in the same area. Furthermore, some analysts predict that apartment prices might be sliding. Capital Economics analyst Paul Dales tips that unit prices may fall as much as 4-7 percent before the end of the year in some capital cities.

To help you get the most out of a tight space, we’ve put together some suggestions for living well in a small apartment.

  1. Smart colour

Colour can be used effectively to create an illusion of more space. Paint entrances and walkways in neutral colours, then consider using a complementary colour that pops on one wall at the end of the space. Your eye is drawn down the walkway towards the feature wall, giving the illusion the distance is longer than it is.

Avoid overdoing the colour scheme. Stick to one or two wall colours at the most. Too many colours can make a room feel cluttered. Lighter tones like whites and creams will help make the space appear larger.

  1. Smart light

Use lighting to enhance a small room, and create warmth. Because of limited wall space, avoid too many light fixtures and fittings. Instead, install well-positioned ambient lighting that fills as much space as possible.

  1. Less is more

In a small space, less is always more. Be ruthless when it comes to choosing furniture and pieces for the home. Include the bare essentials. Keep tables and couches small, so they don’t dominate the room.

  1. Modules are your friend

Modular design is popular in small spaces. One item of furniture, like a TV cabinet, can be divided into modules, which can be used for book storage or even as a linen cupboard. The top of the cabinet may also be used for storage.

Modular design works well in a kitchen. Benches on wheels can be wheeled in and out, whenever needed. Kitchen appliances like a dishwasher and fridge, and even laundry appliances can be installed under benchtops or behind plain cupboards to give the illusion of more space. Talk to an architect or designer about possibilities.

  1. Think up

Consider using high spaces like a loft space to maximise room in the living areas of your apartment. A loft can be used as a bedroom, or maybe for storage.

  1. No smoke, but mirrors

Mirrors enhance a space with its reflection and by enhancing light. Hang mirrors instead of paintings to help make a room look larger.

To chat about steps you can take to buy your first apartment, book a chat with your Smartline Adviser.