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How to decorate your apartment Manhattan style

For many people, Manhattan represents a very chic borough of New York. Countless TV shows and movies have banked in on this trope while simultaneously creating the illusion that Manhattan apartments are very spacious. In reality, most Manhattanites will chew your ear off complaining about their apartment size and the disproportionate rent. What they lack in size, however, Manhattan apartments make up for in style. There are several simple tricks that can help you learn how to decorate your apartment Manhattan style. Even if you do not want to do a complete overhaul, you can pick and choose some of the tips to give your place an injection of chic.

The Manhattan palette

As space is hard to come by in Manhattan, the décor has to aid in creating the illusion of airiness and spaciousness. The easiest way to do this is by using bright colors on the walls and with most of the upholstery. If you are a fan of color, one way how to create a Manhattan style apartment is to use colorful accents. These can come in the form of throw pillows, artwork on the walls, curtains, rugs, etc. Even though you want to use light colors for walls, beware of using white. If your apartment lacks in natural light, white can feel quite stark. Your options then are to use some softer light hues.

Photo by Bennett Leifer Interiors


Manhattan is the home to quite a couple of historic buildings. These often have tall windows. They are mostly great as they provide you with a lot of natural light and they make the space feel larger. In case your windows are quite small, one of the ways how to decorate your home like it’s a chic Manhattan apartment is to use long curtains that pool slightly on the floor. They will add richness to your décor and are a Manhattan-style staple. You will want different kinds of artificial lighting as well. A softer yellow light will make your home feel cozier. Lampshades and overhead light fixtures can provide lovely decorative accents to your rooms.

Photo by Drew McGukin Interiors @drewmcgukin


Living in a big city where opportunities to enjoy nature are few and far between has forced Manhattanites to embrace house plants in full force. Home greenery is one of the main Manhattan apartment style decorating tips. Scattering pots with plants around your home will provide you with a nice little pop of green. They will also add some nice texture in places, and not to mention. If you do not boast a green thumb, do not fret. There are plants you can have around that look great but require very little care. The interest in cacti and succulents has really exploded in the last several years. Not only do they not need a lot of water, but they mostly come in a neat deep green. Furthermore, they come in all shapes and sizes, so you can really go crazy when picking them.

Photo by Eden LA Furniture and Interiors


The Scandinavian influence

When it comes to furniture, it is a little bit harder to make a sweeping generalization on how to decorate your apartment Manhattan style. In recent years, for example, the Scandinavian style has had a significant influence on the interior design of Manhattan apartments. The décor is a mix of vintage and current furniture, and the lines are very clean and simple. While many people equate the Scandinavian style with minimalism, that isn’t quite right. If you like clean lines with a cozy feel, this style of a Manhattan apartment is right for you.

Photo by Blakes London


On the other hand, when some people ask how to decorate your home Manhattan style, they have an entirely different vision in mind. They think of contemporary glam apartments from the movies. In this case, you’ll want to put quite a bit of thought into the furniture. This style favors modern furniture with quite a bit of chrome and glass. In order to soften it, you can add some mohair pillows or a rich area rug in complimentary colors. This furniture might be on the pricier side, so you would want moving of any kind done by professionals.

Photo by Raad Studio

Manhattan sophistication

If your ideas of how to decorate your apartment Manhattan style are influenced by shows like Gossip Girl or Sex and the City, you’ll probably go for a more sophisticated feel. Luxury would be the name of the game here, so your furniture might be partly antiques and partly more modern high-end pieces. Art is a big part of adding sophistication to your space. This doesn’t just mean hanging things on your walls. Even the pottery for your plants or your dishes can actually be beautiful, unique pieces. You will want to reach out for help from a company like as well in this case. You do not want to take any chances with your special pieces.

Photo by Foley Fiore Architecture

How to create a Manhattan style apartment

If you take all of these pieces of advice into account, you can pretty much create your own custom version of a Manhattan style apartment. Unlike many other décor concepts, at least this one’s rife with different ideas from all kinds of sources. If you are unsure about where to start with picking furniture, why don’t you go through some of your favorite Manhattan apartments from popular culture? You can create a mood board and even pick them apart for pieces, textures, and colors you would most like to emulate. Take into account a couple of these main guiding principles from above and let your imagination run free.

Photo by BarlisWedlick Architects

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