10 Hacks For Compact City Centre Flats To Help Make Life More Comfortable

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Let’s be frank and honest here for a minute; finding peace and quiet in the concrete jungle can be difficult, even when you’re inside your home. In a 2018 piece published in the Atlantic titled ‘City Noise Might Be Making You Sick’, it was reported that ‘’People living in cities are regularly exposed (against their will) to noise above 85 decibels from sources like traffic, subways, industrial activity, and airports’’, a number which is enough to cause hearing damage and even loss over time. 

And as if that wasn’t enough, the article also reported that ‘’Urban life also sustains average background noise levels of 60 decibels…enough to raise one’s blood pressure and heart rate, and cause stress, loss of concentration, and loss of sleep.’’

Phew; no wonder us city dwellers are exhausted and a mass migration to the countryside among millenials has been widely reported globally. But if you’re keen to remain in the city, for reasons of work, lifestyle, amenities, or you’re simply a glutton for punishment, then there are things you can do to make your urban domestic arrangement more spacious, peaceful and liveable. With that in mind, here are 10 hacks for city centre flats, IDEAL for making life more comfortable.

Consider The Noise In Your Flat

One of the first things you should think about when aiming to improve the liveability of your inner city flat is to take noise reduction measures and, if you’re the type who plays a loud musical instrument or simply likes to party, soundproofing, too. 

One way to deal with this is to install soundproofing on your windows and doors, which can work both to keep outdoor noise to a minimum and prevent the noise you make from disturbing neighbours.

There are many ways to go about this, such as introducing secondary glazing to your windows or installing curtains or wall decor that helps muffle sound. Fans, air purifiers, and other white noise machines can also be used to cancel out the noise. If none of the above methods are effective, you can also consider a more all encompassing soundproofing project for your flat if you live in an overcrowded building where noise travels easily.

Read: How to make London living a little less noisy

Add Plants & Other Natural Elements

Adding plants to your flat is a great way to make it feel more expansive and connected to nature. Beyond decoration, they are an easy and cheap way to brighten a space and give you something small to take care of and nurture, which is helpful if you live in a city centre and don’t have your own outdoor space.

Not only that, but plants may also help clean the air in your flat, produce oxygen, and remove some air pollutants, which is an unfortunate part of living in a large city. Easy, low maintenance plants that survive well in apartments are beautiful and provide those all important natural elements that will make your space feel cosy.

Alternatively, if you’re keen to nurture plants in an outdoor setting, you could consider setting up or contributing to an urban garden. Read more about doing just that here.

Install An Air Purifier

Notice how we said that plants ‘may’ help clean your indoor air? That’s because the jury is still out on that one, with science inconclusive at best. In fact, whilst introducing plants to your home can bring a number of benefits, it’s unlikely that purifying your air is one of them.

Instead, one of the best ways to ensure you have a peaceful place to come home to is by investing in an air purifier. Air purifiers are excellent for removing pollen and other allergens from the air, which can help reduce allergic reactions and asthma. Additionally, the constant sound of cars and people on the street can be very distracting, so installing an air purifier will help block out all of that noise as they provide a gentle dose of domestic white noise. 

As a result, you’ll be able to relax without worrying about noise from outside sources or having to put up with smells from cooking when you’re relaxing at home. Result!

Cut Down On The Clutter

The interior design trend ‘cluttercore’, which the Metro defines as ”the antithesis to stripped-back Scandi style” may be big news this year. However, for city centre flats, this maximalist trend can get a little claustrophobic.

Clutter can be overwhelming and take over your space, particularly when you’re living in the smaller confines of an urban centre, and removing it can help you achieve peace of mind. As such, one of the most simple and affordable ways to make your city centre flat a more comfortable place to live is to rid it of clutter.

We’re not saying that you should completely depersonalise your space; rather, take a look around your flat and get rid of anything that isn’t used, needed or brings you joy.

Give yourself plenty of time for this process, and luxuriate in that sense of relief when you’re done. This will also help keep your home clean and organised, which will make it easier for you to find items when you need them, all of which will add up to less stress and more comfort in terms of your home’s liveability. Check out these great decluttering tips for some optimised, focused advice on that.

Regular Rotation Of Seasaonl Items

Managing seasonal items in a small apartment can be challenging, but using self-storage options can make it easier. London self-storage facilities offer a convenient way to store off-season belongings, freeing up space in your home. Look for storage units near me or self-storage near me to find accessible options.

Start by sorting your items and deciding what can be stored away. Use sturdy, labelled boxes to keep everything organised. For bulky items like winter coats or holiday decorations, self-storage units provide the perfect solution.

When storing your items, place frequently accessed boxes near the front of your storage unit. This way, when the seasons change, you can easily rotate your belongings. Utilising self-storage in London allows you to keep your apartment clutter-free and ensures that seasonal items are safely stored and ready for use when needed.

Lighten Things Up

Modernising your home and maximising its space, superficially speaking, by painting in light, neutral colours and replacing carpets with hardwood floors, isn’t hard to do at all, particularly when considering the visual and valued impact such a move can make. 

This will add a sense of space compared to dark walls and floors, which make you feel more closed in. One of the quickest paths to alleviating that sense of a small and cramped room is a colour scheme which errs on the lighter side.

Of course, gloom and doom might be your thing, but if you’d rather have a room that feels light, airy and welcoming, your next lick should be something lighter. A neutral shade like ecru, beige or one rendered in pastel will keep things feeling fresh and bright, and will lift your spirits along with the less tangible but no less important ‘mood’ of the room.

If beige just seems too well, beige for your taste consider painting your room blue which can invoke feelings of calmness and serenity. This tranquil colour is often described as peaceful, secure and orderly – something which is very welcome within the chaos of a city centre.

Collapsible Or Foldable Furniture

Aside from the iconic Murphy bed beloved of Japanese interior design (you know, those ones that literally fold down from the wall), there are plenty of other items of furniture able to fold down from walls which have been invented to solve the woes of small-spaced apartment residents. From wall-mounted, fold-down dining tables to hideaway desks and retractable second beds, there are brilliantly flexible solutions out there when you don’t have many square metres to work with.

Collapsible furniture is another fantastic resource that lets you enjoy all the functionality you need from a chair, table, desk or set of drawers, but only when you want it. When the item isn’t in use, you can seriously mitigate the space it takes up by reducing its size until its next outing is required. 

Folding dining tables can be pulled away from the wall, used, then simply folded flat and returned to a corner again, whereas collapsible chairs can be folded and slotted under the bed or in a utility cupboard in between uses. It’s this flexibility which is so essential in small spaces, so do endeavour to seek collapsible or folding options as opposed to rigidly standing furniture.

Utilise Vertical Space

When floor space is limited, look upwards! Utilising vertical space can significantly increase your storage options and make your flat feel more spacious. Install shelves high up on the walls to store books, decorative items, or even kitchen supplies. Wall-mounted racks and hooks can be used for hanging coats, bags, and other accessories, freeing up valuable floor space. Additionally, consider tall, narrow furniture like bookcases or wardrobes that make the most of your vertical space without encroaching on your living area.

Create Distinct Zones

In a small flat, it’s essential to create distinct zones for different activities to make the space feel more organised and functional. Use rugs, furniture arrangement, or even room dividers to delineate areas for sleeping, working, dining, and relaxing. For example, a bookshelf can act as a partition between your living room and bedroom, providing both storage and a sense of separation. By clearly defining each zone, you can make your flat feel more spacious and ensure that each area serves its intended purpose effectively.

Focus On The Finer Details

Finally, just because you’re living in a potentially smaller city centre property, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care and pay attention to the aesthetics of the place. By honing in on the finer details of your interior design, you can make a big impact visually. 

Check out this handy guide to 10 small furnishing updates that make a big difference to the look of your home for some great advice on that.

The Bottom Line

City living presents its own set of challenges. But by following these few steps, you can transform your apartment into a space you love.

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