We had an interior designer critique a one-bedroom apartment. Here’s how to make your open plan living space look bigger and brighter.


living room sketch

A sketch showing the changes an interior designer makes to Mihaira Friel’s living room.Mihaira Friel/Insider

  • I moved into a fully furnished one bedroom apartment in Glasgow, Scotland in July.

  • Interior designer Jordan Samson helped with the open-plan living and kitchen areas.

  • Samson suggested several ways to make it look bigger and brighter.

In July of this year, I moved into a one bedroom apartment in Glasgow, Scotland.

Mikhaila in the apartment

Mikhail Friel in her new apartment in Glasgow.Mihaira Friel/Insider

My boyfriend and I are renting a one bedroom apartment in Glasgow. Scotland’s largest city, from July. The apartment is on his ground floor of a building in the Merchant City district known for its shopping, restaurants and bars.

The apartment was fully furnished, but we added some unique design elements.

Mihaira Apartment

Open plan living and kitchen area in my apartment in Glasgow.Mihaira Friel/Insider

The apartment is fully furnished, but there are some items we purchased ourselves to add a personal touch to the open plan living and kitchen area. , 2 bar stools, and 2 kitchen appliances.

We enlisted the help of interior designer Jordan Samson of TikTok fame to make the space look bigger and brighter.

Jordan Samson

Jordan Samson is an interior designer who posts videos on TikTok.Jordan Samson/TikTok

Even after adding some of our own furniture, we felt there was still more we could do to make the apartment look better. I wanted to show it to

Also, Glasgow is dark and gloomy and sometimes lacks natural sunlight, so I wanted to make it look brighter.

I asked Jordan Samsoncurrent and more interior designer 55,000 followers on TikTok,in order to help. I sent Samson some pictures of the living room and kitchen.

Samson suggests adding a rug to ‘fix’ the living area.

living room sketch

Arrows indicating where rugs can be added to the living area.Mihaira Friel/Insider

“In an open-concept room like this, it really helps to visually define the space,” Samson said, adding that having a rug in the living room would be a great solution.

“This anchors the space and defines the living room,” he said.

Samson said the rug should be a light, neutral color to maintain the “light and airy” feel already achieved by the rest of the room’s furniture.

According to Samson, I placed all my bookshelves wrong.

Mikhail's bookshelf

Bookshelves in Mihaira’s living room.Mihaira Friel/Insider

Samson said the exposed bookshelf unit “causes visual clutter,” essentially shrinking the living space. He said next time we should consider a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf with a hybrid of open and closed shelves like Ikea. Billy/Oxburg Bookshelfwhich costs £130, or about $145.

“This draws the eye, reduces visual clutter, and gives you a little more space to display decorations and personal items,” he said.

However, I recently purchased my current bookshelf (also from IKEA), so I don’t plan on replacing it any time soon.

Samson said there are still ways to make it look better without buying new ones. He said you can layer small things on top of each other to create a balanced look.

Moving plants away from the windowsill will allow for maximum natural light.

Mikhail's window

Mikhail’s living room window.Mihaira Friel/Insider

Samson said he usually likes window plants, but wouldn’t recommend them for open-plan living rooms and kitchens due to the fact that there are only two corner windows.

Instead, he suggests moving large plants to another location or replacing them with smaller ones to maximize natural light.

He also suggests replacing the curtains with longer ones that touch the floor. He said this makes the walls feel longer and the ceilings feel higher.

Finally, Samson suggests adding wallpaper and mirrors to help define the kitchen area.

mihaira's kitchen

kitchen area.Mihaira Friel/Insider

My kitchen area has a long unit that I use as a makeshift breakfast bar with a built-in refrigerator and freezer, some storage shelves, and additional bar stools.

There are no decorations on the walls. Samson said using stick-and-peel wallpaper to create a functional wall helps define a space away from the living area. Alternatively, add a large mirror with a thin frame. I am proposing to This makes the surrounding space appear larger, he said.

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