Modern apartments are always stylish, urban, and functional. They make the best use of their limited space, using colors that add both depth and personality.

You don’t have to be an interior designer to make your apartment feel modern. All you need to know are the essential pieces that will make your home more contemporary, optimized and chic. Here are the 10 items we believe every modern apartment should have, in no particular order:


1. Area Rug

Yaletown Loft in Vancouver

Adding sophisticated color to an apartment can sometimes be difficult, but an area rug can certainly add some character to a small space. With so many patterns and colors on the market, you’re likely to find something that suits your room size and taste. An area rug is also a must have for keeping your existing flooring or carpeting protected.


2. Floor Lamp

TOORAK Contemporary Living Room

A floor lamp is necessary for additional lighting purposes. Additional lighting will make your apartment seem less pre-historic, more present day. Plus, it can make for a great piece of accent décor! We suggest either an arching lamp or a lamp with an adjustable light for reading, to eliminate the need for a side table and task lamp.


3. Coffee Table

A coffee table is just about standard for any living room. When you live in a small apartment, having a coffee table with extra storage goes a long ways towards optimizing your limited space. Many storage coffee tables feature drawers and open undershelves; however, there are plenty of modern coffee tables that are more unique in design. Custom tables almost always cost more, but are ideal for those looking for a conversation piece.


4. Bean Bag Chair

Fog Gray Lounger by Take Ten Designs

Bean bag chairs are sometimes overlooked, but they can be an ingenious alternative to a traditional couch or futon. They’re generally less expensive, and fit small spaces just as well – if not better. They come in multiple sizes (often with changeable, washable covers), and seat kids and adults alike.


5. Media Console

Eclectic Living Room in Vancouver

Most people watch TV, or at least have a TV to watch Netflix or play video games. Or maybe, you’re more “hipster” and just have a USB record player with speakers. Either way, you should have a media console for showcasing your most prized technology. And if you’re handy enough, you don’t have to buy one – you can make one!


6. Storage Bench

LAXSeries Storage Bench

Because space is limited in a small apartment, a storage bench can offer some entryway seating and organization at the same time. Use it to keep your dirty shoes, extra bags, umbrella, and other items you often leave at the door. You could also put a storage bench at the end of your bed to keep extra blankets and pillows.


7. Throw Pillows & Pouf Ottoman

Magma Red Pouf Ottoman & Throw Pillows by Take Ten Designs

Whether you opt for a bean bag chair, sectional or futon, you’re going to want a footrest or some cushions. A pouf ottoman and some throw pillows can go a long ways towards adding functional, complementary pops of accent color to your bedroom or living room. Some poufs can even double as floor pillows, which can work in a pinch for game nights or movie marathons.


8. Coat Racks / Wall Hooks

Herman Miller Eames Hang-It-All

Maybe you have a bad habit of dropping your coat on the floor as soon as you walk through the door. Or maybe you hate having to be careful of that annoying table by the door. Using wall hooks or a coat rack can be a great solution for keeping your entryway clear and organized, while serving as complementary to your storage bench. Decorative coat racks can also be a fun, modern touch on a bare wall.


9. Artwork

Contemporary Living Room in Vancouver

The world is full of talented artists and modern prints. Whether you prefer an original piece from a gallery, or simply want to frame your favorite vintage movie posters, artwork is one of the best ways to add some visual interest to your bare walls. The right image can give life to your design scheme, either through complementing or contrasting your palette. 


10. Bed

LAXSeries Storage Bed

Don’t skimp on having an actual bed frame. You may be tempted to use a futon or mattress by itself, because they are both less expensive options. But a bed frame is a solid investment (and if you are a guy, it might help you get lucky). There are plenty of modern alternatives to a traditional frame, with extra storage options. Choosing a bed with additional storage is an excellent choice for bedrooms with small closets.