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Size matters

Updated: Apr 11, 2020

Easy expert tips and tricks to make a space-starved apartment feel more like a palace

With new apartments popping up all over North Sydney and a 17-square-metre studio in Kirribilli selling for $475,000 in October 2018, space is at a premium. McMahons Point resident and interior design guru Karen Akers of Designed by Karen Akers has 20 years of design experience. Her work was included in the Australian House & Garden Top 50 Rooms for 2018 and here she shares her best interior tips to help make the most of what you have without breaking the bank.

Space savers

“Maximise your storage and try to minimise clutter,” Karen suggests. By building in cupboards and shelving, you can make the most of the space you have. “Choose cupboards that are the same colour as the walls to make them appear to disappear,” Karen continues.

“Apartments are often flooded with light so neutral colours are a good choice, as well as pale blue and green”

Reflect on what you’ve got

Use natural light to create a fresh and open aspect to your room. “Oversize mirrors work well and if you’re renting, you can stand them on the floor,” Karen says. “Use them to reflect and enlarge the view.” A glass coffee table can also help with the light flow of the room.

Raise the game

Look for furniture that has legs to lift it up so it’s not sitting flush to the floor. “Furniture such as sofas and chairs that touch the floor have a heavier look,” Karen says. “Raised furniture gives a room a sense of light and space.”

Keep it light

Your colour scheme should be simple and don’t get too handy with the paint brush.

“Use a minimal colour palette and go for a muted white or grey,” Karen advises. “Stick with a palette that blends and sits harmoniously. Apartments are often flooded with light, especially by the water, so neutrals are a good choice, as well as pale blue and green.”

Go large

Kitchens and bathrooms can benefit from this simple suggestion.

“If you are going to be renovating, look for oversize or large floor tiles,” Karen says. “They deceive the eye and make the room look and feel bigger.”

Karen’s summer must-haves

• Linen throws are a nice addition to a sofa. They add texture and are handy when the nights are cooler. Try muted tones or pastels.

• Oversize floor lanterns for balconies add ambience and can be used with tea lights and mosquito candles.

• New cushions for your outdoor furniture can update your entire backyard without having to get a new setting. The ‘ice-cream’ palette is popular or look for greens and blues as they don’t really date and always look lovely outside.

• Bring foliage and fresh flowers inside the home. Flowers are like artwork, completely personal. Choose something that means something to you. Jasmine reminds me of my childhood so I like to snip some and have it in the bathroom.

To find more out about Designed by Karen Akers go to

PHOTOS: Thomas Dalhoff

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