Small-space living comes with its share of quirks. But when you live in a studio apartment that’s not even big enough to have interior walls, you’ve got an extreme design challenge. How do you arrange it in a way that’s functional, comfortable, and doesn’t make it feel like you live in a cave?
Fortunately, we know that bigger isn’t always better. Here are 9 ways to transform your studio apartment into a small wonder:
1. Create mini-rooms.
Since a studio apartment is often one big room, you have to break up the space into different living areas. If you’ve got a chair and a lamp in one corner as a designated reading area, define that space with a small rug and a picture on the wall. Likewise, arrange your couch and TV as you would in a living room.
2. Use draperies as room dividers.
Fabric is especially useful for separating a bedroom area from the rest of the apartment. Plus, when you’re not sleeping, you can push the curtains back and open up that space. Close them again if you need some privacy. Bonus: Funky fabric adds a punch of color to your apartment.
3. Leave pathways.
Your studio apartment is going to be tight on space – there’s no getting around that. Even though it’ll only take a few seconds to walk from one end of the apartment to the other, consider traffic flow when arranging furniture. You don’t want to be climbing over stuff or taking awkward detours on your way from the bed to the kitchen.
4. Let the sunshine in.
The secret to making your small space feel bigger is light. Unless you’re a vampire, this means you want to let in as much natural sunlight as possible – so don’t cover up your windows with heavy curtains. If you want treatments on the windows, opt for sheer panels that obstruct outsiders’ views just enough to give you some privacy, or install blinds that can open and close.
If your space doesn’t offer much in the way of windows, brighten things up with lighting fixtures. Make sure each of your mini-rooms has its own lighting source.
5. When looking for storage space, think vertical.
If you think you’ve maxed out your storage space, look up. There’s a lot of vertical space you could be using, so invest in shelving and other storage solutions that make use of your space off the ground. Sure, you might need a stepladder to reach some things — so use your high-up storage spaces for things you don’t use too often.
6. Avoid clutter.
This is one of the most important rules of small-space living: Don’t accumulate too much stuff, because you’ll have nowhere to put it. Only keep things that are functional or beautiful to you (ideally, both). It won’t take you long to become a master at discerning what you should keep and what’s just taking up space.
7. Use room dividers only if they don’t interrupt traffic flow or make the space more cramped.
Room dividers can be great – they help define the different living spaces of your studio apartment, and sometimes they add storage space as well. But they’re not the solution you’re looking for if they’re too big and clunky. Evaluate to make sure a room divider is right for your space before investing.
8. Opt for neutrals with pops of bright color.
Again, the secret to making your studio apartment feel bigger is light, and that includes color. Don’t pick furniture, linens, or window treatments that are too dark – it’ll make you feel claustrophobic in your own home. Instead, go for lighter neutrals, and add some visual interest with pops of color here and there – in your throw pillows, small accessories, and wall décor.
9. Make your furniture pull double duty.
If you’re really tight on space, you might choose a pull-out couch that becomes your bed at night. You could also go for a coffee table that opens to reveal storage space, or a bed that offers some under-mattress storage space. Anything that opens up a little breathing room is fair game.
Let’s hear from you, studio apartment dwellers! How do you make your small space work for you?
Want more tips? Check out all our posts on small-space living here.
Photo credits: 206 Bell, Seattle, WA; Flickr / ClatieK