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Tips and Tricks For Better Model Apartment Designs

Tips and Tricks For Better Model Apartment Designs

According to a recent study conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 77% of buyers find it easier to view a property as their future home when it is staged. Additionally, in the 2017 survey conducted by Zillow on influencers that impact the decisions of apartment renters, the #1 factor listed was the ability to view the apartment in-person. When you combine these two statistics, it becomes more apparent than ever before that in order to stand out in the minds’ eye of your prospective residents, a well-designed, targeted model is a must.

If you’re not a professional designer specializing in the visual merchandising of model apartments, the pressure to produce a sell-worthy model with limited time and budgetary restrictions can be a challenging. This blog offers a few of our design teams’ main concerns for ensuring custom model designs that yield significant ROI for our diverse clients.

#1. Understanding How to Enhance Small and/ or Awkward Spaces

Furnishing an apartment is not like furnishing a home. More often than not, the layout is less than optimal for typical residential-grade furniture. Furthermore, in some verticals, space requirements such as 3ft. worth of moving space between all furnishings are required. That is why we highly recommend measuring the model apartment before you begin to procure furnishings of any kind. If you’re not really sure what this entails, don’t worry! Even if your measurements are hand drawn, they will help you create a valuable layout of the apartment before you purchase the furniture. All you need is a piece of graph paper, a pencil, and a tape measure. Simply designate a square amount on the graph paper, to equate to 1 ft. (see example).

Walk through the space and measure each wall, then draw your corresponding measurements on your graph paper. Be sure to make a key, reminding you of how many squares equal 1 ft. so that you can easily scale the furniture you purchase to ensure the measurements are aligned.

Additional Suggestions for Space Optimization:

A common challenge in apartment design is ensuring that the space isn’t made to look too small and crowded. Think about it from your prospects’ point-of-view; he or she will be paying a significant sum of money each month to live in a tight, crammed space? The model can be a great opportunity to demonstrate effective space planning in addition to increasing the perceived value of the apartment.

If you are designing for a smaller apartment, try downsizing furniture as much as possible without influencing the story of the design. Here are some shifts you might consider to enhance the size of the space visually:

  • Swap 4 Seat Dining Table For 2 Seat Bistro Set
  • Swap Queen Size Bed For Full Size Bed

If you are looking for specific suggestions, we encourage you to reach out to our designers online today! We’re happy to share our ideas and knowledge – please feel free to reach out!

#2. Designing a Story of Home

Remember the Zillow statistic mentioned earlier about the most important factor for your prospects throughout the rental shopping process? Building on that knowledge (the #1 decision-making factor for renters is the ability to view the apartment), it is worth noting that your average prospective renter views 3.2 communities before making their final decisions. That means that your model is a key factor in how much of an impact you have over the competition.

Just like the ever-present curb appeal of the exterior, it is imperative that your model demonstrates a story that resonated with prospects. Our designers help clients to do this by either using their already established personas to inspire design, or by creating personas should our clients have none to provide for certain communities. We do this by looking at existing residents (for model updates), neighborhood statistics, residents of the competition, and a variety of other factors we apply to our persona building formula. From there, we are able to pinpoint specific design styles that speak directly to any given target audience.

If you are struggling with creating a persona and/or trying a design style to a given persona, we recommend that you stick to a style story when designing your model. For example, based on your understanding of the prospects that will be viewing your model, choose from one of the following design themes:


Sticking to a specific design style can help to ensure that your room looks cohesive and appealing.

#3. Branding Throughout

Any marketer will tell you that subliminal and subtle branding messages are great ways to ensure that your brand is remembered. When it comes to branding in your model, we recommend subtle touches. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Choose a color story that coincided with the community logo
  • Play a community slideshow on the TV
  • Integrate small branded items that enhance the design/ staging story


Here are a few items that can easily be branded to make a huge impact of the story of your design:

  • Bottle of Wine (label)
  • Wine Glasses
  • Playing Cards
  • Coffee Cups


If you’re looking for better ways to design your next model, contact us online today! Our interior designers are experts at creating the story of home, ensuring that your community makes the ultimate first impression.

Amanda Beausoleil

Model55 purchases, designs and installs model apartments quickly and efficiently, reducing the cost and time of setting up your own model apartment.

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