Setting Up a Mini Model Apartment in Less Than a Day

When You Need a Mini Model Apartment…

As the nation’s leading model apartment provider, Model55 has run into questions about the mini model apartment a time or two. Of course, we always advocate for the effectiveness of a full-scale model apartment over the mini model apartment concept. However, we acknowledge that sometimes budgets and/ or timelines don’t accommodate a fully furnished and designed model. That’s why I thought it would be helpful to write a post for portfolio/ property managers and multifamily marketing teams highlighting how to set up a mini model apartment in one workday.

COVID-19 Will Make Shopping More Challenging – Be Prepared

Unfortunately, the current challenges of COVID-19 will make the preparation for mini models more difficult than days of the past. You will either have to order accessories online off of retailers’ websites like Amazon or Wayfair or dawn your mask and gloves and head to the nearest essential big box retailer like Walmart or Target. Luckily with non-essential businesses slowly opening up, shopping for accessories won’t be limited to the big box stores for much longer. Personally, I cannot wait for HomeGoods to reopen!

While you’re planning your mini model project, plan ahead for your next model apartment request. Learn more about pricing for a turn-key model apartment from Model55 today!


Step One: Budget

The first step to creating a mini model apartment in less than a day is to decide on your budget. Since you are most likely setting up a mini model due to a lack of budget and time, we recommend keeping your list of items and spaces to cover as short as possible. Typically, a DIY mini model will cost anywhere from $350 – $700 and will cover the kitchen area, bathroom(s) and a few miscellaneous items throughout the apartment.


If you have time and budget for more pizzazz in your model, we highly recommend considering a fully furnished model! We’ve seen our custom models provide close to 2,000% ROI within the first 30-days during lease-up! You can check out a few of our favorite projects and their ROI case studies here:


Step Two: Create Your Shopping List

The only difference in creating a shopping list for a mini model apartment vs. a full-scale model is the number of items and rooms you need to shop for. The process, however, should be exactly the same. First, set up your list by room/ category. Then write down all of the items you wish to purchase for each area. Your list might look something like this:


  • Welcome Mat
  • Welcome Sign
  • Laundry Detergent (if laundry is installed)
  • Dryer Sheets (if laundry is installed)
  • Laundry Basket with Folded Towel Set (if laundry is installed)
  • Basket with Throw Pillow(s) & Blanket

Pro tip: If you have the extra budget place a basket with a couple of throw pillows and a blanket in the corner of the living or bedroom to fill the space up and give it more of a “home” feeling.


  • Paper Towel Holder
  • Paper Towels
  • Coffee Maker
  • Coffee Pods
  • Coffee Pod Holder
  • Mug Holder (optional)
  • Mugs (4-6)
  • Cutting Board
  • Dish & Dishwasher Soap
  • Sponges
  • Canisters
  • Tea Kettle
  • Cookbook(s)
  • Book Display Stand (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dish Towels
  • 1-2 Cute Indoor Plants
  • Decorative Bowl & Fruit
  • 2 Dinner Plates
  • 2 Stemless Wine Glasses
  • 2 Cloth Napkins
  • 2 Sets of Dining Utensils

Pro tip: Stock your canisters with tea and sugar, and don’t forget to keep the refrigerator stocked up with creamer (for coffee), water bottles, and yummy snacks. Be sure to keep extra mugs in the cabinet and some stirrers in a drawer as well!

Lastly, if you have the budget, grab a couple of bar chairs for the counter bar/ island. Be sure to measure the distance from floor to counter so you don’t buy chairs that are too low or too high!


  • Toilet Paper (stock extra under the sink!)
  • Canister with Cotton Balls or Q-tips
  • 1-2 Toothbrushes
  • Toothbrush Holder
  • Bathmat (for sink or bath area)
  • Shower Curtain
  • Shower Curtain Liner
  • Shower Curtain Hooks
  • Towel Set
    • 2 Wash Towels
    • 2 Hand Towels
    • 2 Bath Towels
  • Medium Piece of Art

Pro tip: If the apartment has two bathrooms and you do not have the budget to deck out both, be sure to give the one that will get more use during tours the added spruce. In the second bathroom be sure to include a shower curtain, hand towel, soap and toilet paper!

A Model55 Design

Step Three: Go Out and Shop!

Once you have your list in-hand, you can go out and shop ‘till you drop (or until you run out of money). While you’re shopping, remember to keep tabs on how much you’re spending. Any one of our designers will tell you that it is so easy to go over budget on accessories, which is what a mini model apartment basically is. In fact, it might be helpful to star the things you really want and need on your list and grab those items first. If you have budget left over, then go back for the filler items that will bring more oomph to your mini model apartment setup.

Step Four: Setup Your Mini Model

This shouldn’t take more than an hour at most as you don’t have art to hand or drapery to install. It’s helpful to place items in order of room as your checking out so that when you get back to the community you can unload your bags in the appropriate spaces. Then all you have to do is set up in a functional and pleasing way. Here are some more inspo-worthy pics for your kitchen and bathroom setups from Model55 model projects:  

Nothing Does the Job Like a Custom Designed Model Apartment

So, there you have it. A comprehensive step-by-step guide for how to create a mini model apartment in less than a day! Whether you’re looking to spruce up an existing model or design a new model for a community coming online, I highly recommend considering a full model apartment design and installation service like Model55’s. Nothing captures future residents’ imaginations better, or more effectively, than nailing the model apartment design.

To learn more about our process and how we help create the perfect space to show off on the web and in-person tours, check out our quick overview video below. Thanks for reading!

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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