Before and after: the new life of a little two-room apartment

The designer took the maximum from the available layout and modest footage of the apartment and did not spend a lot of money.


The clients of the project are a young couple, freelancers, no children: the young man is a programmer, the girl is a graphic designer. The owners do not plan to live in this small two-room apartment in Brezhnevka for a long time, they want to move to a larger apartment, so they did not invest a lot of money in repairs. Designer Anna Kutilina managed to optimize the space with the help of small redevelopment and proper arrangement of furniture. And affordable decoration and things from IKEA helped save money. The article presents renderings, and soon we will find out how the completed project turned out.


The apartment is located in a standard panel house, so it was not possible to do a global redevelopment – all the interior walls are load-bearing. The first thing they did was demolish all the other partitions and mezzanines.

The hallway in the apartment is narrow, and in order not to make it even smaller, we organized storage areas at the far end, building a small niche there. A banquette was installed here: in its lower part there were places for storing shoes. Hooks for seasonal outerwear were hung on the wall. The shelves were hidden behind the side walls of the niches to get rid of possible visual noise.

Then the bathrooms were combined. The bathtub remained in its place, but a sink and a cabinet were placed opposite. It featured open shelves for storing essential items, hidden counters, storage areas for household chemicals, and a built-in washing machine.

A large mirror was hung above the sink, enlarging the small space. The toilet moved to the central area and stood between the bathtub and sink.

“We had two living rooms at our disposal. We set aside a large and bright room as a living room with a work area by the window. Customers work from home, and they needed a convenient workplace. In their free time from work, they like to spend time watching movies, for this we have provided an area with a cozy sofa.

They decided to use a small, irregularly shaped room as a bedroom. We divided it into two rooms, correcting the geometry and organizing a small dressing room. In the kitchen, the customers initially abandoned the traditional dining table in favor of a compact bar counter. According to them, this is quite enough,” says the designer.

The same materials were used in all rooms, except the bathroom. The walls are covered with paintable wallpaper and painted with washable paint – they are easy to care for. The floor is made of oak parquet boards: this material is natural, strong and durable, and also has good sound absorption.

The floor and walls in the bathroom are covered with porcelain stoneware. The floor and accent wall behind the bathroom are wood-grain porcelain tiles, the color of which was carefully matched to the shade of the parquet boards in other rooms. On the remaining walls, large format porcelain tiles imitating white marble were used.

The wiring in the apartment runs along the ceiling, so all the ceilings in the apartment are suspended and fabric – they are the most environmentally friendly.

“Initially we wanted to install hidden doors to make the interior more minimalistic. But the cost of such doors is much higher than usual. In the end, we decided to save money – we installed neutral, classic white doors and supported them with high baseboards with a slight relief. It seems to us that this only improved the atmosphere: it made it more comfortable and homely,” says Anna Kutilina.

The highlight of the interior is dark gray accent walls. They highlight different functional areas: for example, in the hallway there is an area with a banquette, in the kitchen – the main work area, in the bedroom – a bed, in the dressing room – a storage system, in the living room – a sofa.

“The graphite shade added graphics and comfort to the interior, and also visually expanded the narrow spaces. It is interesting that dark tones can create the effect of a “disappeared” space; the boundaries of the room are lost. The dark wall does not press, but seems to go into infinity, making the room more saturated and voluminous,” says the designer.

The furniture and decor followed the same range. The basis was white and dark gray colors, as well as the warm texture of wood. The customers wanted to use mainly furniture from IKEA, so the Scandinavian style itself “asked itself” to be included in the interior.

We used many details with a wood texture: a desktop tabletop, a plant pot, a chest of drawers in the bedroom, a TV stand and coffee tables in the living room, wall hooks for coats in the hallway. Plus we added textures of stone, white marble in the bathroom and black for the kitchen countertops. The bar stools in the kitchen are made of genuine leather. All these details emphasize the naturalness characteristic of the Scandinavian style.

Photo of the apartment before renovation:

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