Manhattan Apartment Style Decorating Tips

Sally Painter
Manhattan Apartment Style

Decorating tips for a Manhattan apartment style décor include creative ways to make a small space appear larger. Combined with urban chic and city sophistication, it's a decorating style that rewards with visual impact and high functionality.

Best Wall Colors

Like in most cities, space is a highly cherished commodity in New York City. The common goal is visually to expand the space, and color is one way to achieve it. With a light-colored canvas (walls), individual tastes can be expressed through darker contrasting colors and different textile designs of area rugs, throw pillows, upholstery, and window treatments.

Window Treatments

Some older apartment buildings have high ceilings and tall windows. You can take advantage of these by selecting light colored and light-weight fabrics for draperies and curtains.

Window Treatments

Make Small Windows Appear Bigger

Apartments with small windows can be visually expanded by hanging curtain/drapery rods a few inches from the ceiling and allowing the draperies to pool on the floor. This will also give a rich and elegant look to any décor.

Touch of the Outdoors Inside

Green spaces are cherished when you live in a large city. This love of nature, often a longing to have more connection with the outdoors, is frequently reflected in Manhattan apartments. A few potted plants or flowers not only soften décor, but they are vital to a city apartment dweller as tiny touchstones. For a décor, plants can add texture and color to the overall interior design.

Touch of the Outdoors Inside

Lighting Is Everything

Since many apartment windows may look over an alleyway or another apartment building, lighting is everything. You'll need to provide a variety of lighting solutions, such as indirect (recessed and torchiere floor lamps) and direct (task lighting, table lamps).

Area Rugs

Area rugs are a great way to define and break up living spaces, especially in small apartments. When using different rugs, make sure the patterns don't clash. Select rugs in the same color families so your space will flow evenly from one area to the next.

Area Rugs

Popular Manhattan Apartment Styles

There are several popular design styles found in Manhattan apartment interiors. These styles can be duplicated in any city apartment for that upscale Manhattan vibe.

The Loft or Studio Apartment

A loft/studio apartment design is always functional and often has a minimalist appeal out of necessity of available space. Once designed to play up the industrial elements of exposed ductwork and piping, the contemporary loft has evolved.

  • The choice of textiles can be bold or subtle in color, depending on individual tastes.
  • There's always an ambience of cutting edge design found in the choice of art, especially wall art.
  • Add mirrors to give the illusion of a larger space.
The Loft or Studio Apartment

Urban Chic

The Manhattan urban chic has an appreciation for artisan made furnishings.

  • A genuine commitment to repurposing and restyling is evident in the choices of furnishings.
  • A discarded headboard may become a bench accented with vintage silk pillows found at a consignment shop around the corner.
  • A mix of old and new gives this style a city chic flair.
  • Toss in a few modern pieces and impressionist artwork for a transitional look.
  • The farmhouse look is often incorporated with this city style, including nuances such as sliding barn door closets or bathrooms.
  • Farmhouse tables and chairs/benches often find their way into the urban chic design.
Urban Chic

City Sophisticated

Perhaps the go to visual whenever Manhattan apartment style is mentioned is a sophisticated, luxurious apartment décor.

  • This version of Manhattan apartment style features high-end furniture, often period styles.
  • White marble floors or kitchen counter tops are popular choices.
  • Modern art pieces are sprinkled throughout the apartments especially an oversized painting over the couch or dining room wall.
  • Accessories and art objects are purposefully selected to add greater appreciation for a luxurious lifestyle.
  • Touches of the outdoors are found in house plants of varying sizes set in expensive pottery and ceramic pots.
City Sophisticated

Chic Glam City Style

The area rug is often a centerpiece for the living room and/or bedroom, set against aging hardwood floors. Chosen for color and pattern, an area rug can be as simple as an animal pattern.

  • A black and white zebra pattern with chrome and glass end tables sets the stage.
  • Add a white leather couch and a pair of pink mohair throw pillows.
  • A stunning and dramatic large framed original modern art suspended over an oversized console table is perfect.
  • A collection of rare miniature books can be showcased on a glass top coffee table with a mirrored base.
  • Several over-the-top expensive art objects and accessories complete the look.
  • Add the final touch with a pair of mini-crystal chandeliers suspended over the end tables.
  • Don't forget to add a cashmere or minky throw.
Chic Glam City Style

Modern Boho

The Bohemian look in Manhattan continues to evolve and transcend attempts to confine it to a specific eclectic style. Trendy styles emerge within the mix of patterns and colors, making this Manhattan apartment style purely a personal expression instead of a formulistic design.

  • Wall art can be a prominent feature for this style design by using original photos and paintings by local artists.
  • Choose bedding with a colorful display of ancient motifs and patterns.
  • An antique headboard anchors the design and gives greater depth and interest.
  • Add a mix of eclectic accessories that have personal meaning to you.
Modern Boho

Trendy Scandinavian Interiors

The love for clean and simple lines appeals to minimalists living in smaller Manhattan apartments. This mid-century retro look is enjoying a revitalized trend.

  • The interiors are a mix of contemporary and vintage pieces.
  • Ikea style furniture is often a popular choice for anyone living in a city where space is limited and the cost of living is high.
  • Choose furniture pieces that give more storage options yet maintain that design commitment to straight lines.
  • Clean lines and functionality help promote the illusion of bigger rooms.
Trendy Scandinavian Interiors

Choosing Your Design Style

When it comes to Manhattan apartment styles, the best decorating tips are to make it personal. Use suggestions for specific styles but let your choices of furnishings reflect who you are and what you love.

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Manhattan Apartment Style Decorating Tips