City living is becoming an increasingly popular way to live. For many people – especially those in their 20s and 30s, establishing their careers and professional lives – living and working in a city is an attractive option, giving them good access to work and fun in equal measures.
Living in a big city is both exciting and convenient. You might be able to cycle, or even walk, to your workplace, while bars, restaurants, cafes, high street and boutique shopping stores, gyms, museums, art galleries, cinemas and theatres are all likely to be on your doorstep. With so much within close reach, it’s easy to be sociable, meeting friends after work and seeing the very best of the city, whether that’s London, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham or another major UK metropolis.
As such, apartment living is on the rise, and with it comes a distinct design trend that has grown in popularity. Modern urban apartments are edgy, and gritty, typically sporting an industrial look that feels both raw and chic. Some apartments are unmistakably urban from the ground up; those built in converted warehouses and factory buildings are almost born with the look. But if you want to recreate that style in your own apartment, it’s relatively easy to do.
Overall, the golden rule is minimalism and modernity. The appeal of a modern urban apartment is in its simplicity, with the décor on the whole being almost stripped back and stark. There’s no place for clutter and knick-knacks here. Don’t confuse this with a lack of comfort, though. Edgy or not, an apartment of this type still needs to be a comfortable home, giving you that place to relax after a long day in the city.
Imagine a large, open living space, the area divided into two sections. In one, a functional and sleek kitchen; in the other, a living room area, filled with minimal furniture but dominated by a majestic sofa. Comfy sofas are important in a city apartment. Urban dwellers work hard – they may even extend the working day by meeting for drinks in the evening with colleagues or grabbing a bite to eat before heading home – so they need a sofa to sink into and relax on at the end of a long day. Corner sofas like the Laurence and Valentino are just two you’re going to love for this purpose, both incredibly stylish and cosy. If you need a smaller sofa, the two-seater Cricket is soft yet hardwearing; perfect for apartment living. On the wall facing the sofa, a large flat screen TV will make watching movies and box sets feel like a real treat, and one you’ve earned to boot.
There are other design elements to bring into play to enhance the urban look too. If the living room area has hardwood flooring – and many urban apartments do – add a touch of warmth with a large rug. If the apartment has walls with exposed brick, either leave them as they are or paint them white, to create an edgy city effect. If you want to strip a plastered wall back to brick to achieve the look, it can be done but you’d be best advised to consult a professional for the work.
Let there be light
For lighting, get inventive. Dome pendant lighting, hanging from ceilings, works a treat – although you could go without a pendant at all. There’s a great selection of oversized light bulbs that are brilliantly designed themselves, recreating that retro, warehouse look.
In other areas of the apartment, use tiling to continue the trend. You can get brick effect tiles for the kitchen and bathroom. Tiles that look just like real bricks would work really well in the kitchen, while brick-sized tiles in a brighter colour – all white, perhaps – add a clean look to the bathroom.
Dine in style
If you’re looking for a dining table, go for something that deliberately appears a bit rough around the edges. Reclaimed timber furniture is excellent, particularly if it has steel legs. Instead of four identical chairs to position around the table, mix it up with four different styles – or have a bench down one side. Less formal, more eat-on-the-go.
Throughout the apartment, the colour palette on walls should be as minimal as possible – whites, off-whites, light or metallic greys. Monochrome is a design trend that aligns strongly with urban; read more about how to introduce that theme here. Geometric prints can also help to add a cool vibe to the interior.
Apartment living has never been more exciting, and inspiration for urban styling can be found everywhere. With a few simple touches, your apartment will look bang on trend.