It's no secret that studio apartments require a creative living style.
Studio apartments in the U.S. are often between 500 and 600 square feet, and most of that area creates the living space. You're lucky to get an actual closet and detached kitchen. Bathrooms, thankfully, are separate.
You'll have minimal counter space and not a lot of storage. Your fridge may not be full-sized. It shouldn't surprise you if you can't open your oven and the cabinet under the sink at the same time.
Even tighter, micro-apartments are an emerging trend. Their average square footage ranges between 300 and 350 square feet.
While we all like to think we can live comfortably in one of those IKEA model displays, in real life, you might need to think outside of the box. However, it can be done.
Transforming your studio into a home, even with the space limitations, requires ingenuity, creativity and a well-thought-out strategy.
Since studio apartments often consist of one primary room, you'll do all your “living" in a central space. Breaking it up so that each corner serves a unique function can help make your studio feel bigger.
Arranging furniture so that it creates sections allows you to make these divisions more obvious. A well-placed bookshelf can separate your bed from your living space. An angled, small desk can establish the area of your studio where you work.
Defined spaces can also make it easier to block an area off. If you want to create a sense of privacy, consider putting up a curtain to conceal your bed from the rest of the studio. Using a sheer material prevents the space from feeling completely closed off, and you can pull it aside if you start to feel a little claustrophobic. High-Tension wire and a few other inexpensive materials make it possible to hang curtains from the ceiling.
Any furniture piece that can serve more than one purpose in your studio is a winning choice. Don't struggle to fit a bed and a couch into your small space when one piece can do both.
As you're figuring out which furniture pieces to buy and what will fit, remember to avoid clutter. It can creep up unexpectedly when dealing with limited space, especially if you're moving from a large home.
Treat your studio like any other room in a larger apartment and provide flow. You don't want to feel cramped when you move about. Leave pathways so you don't have to step over stuff to get from one end of the studio to another. Try to keep the center of the space clear from furniture and other obstructions.
Consider renting a small storage unit while you're living in a studio apartment for the things that are important to keep but you don't need on a regular basis. Moving a few things out can help make sure the clutter doesn't take over.
You can also use this move as an opportunity to glean in the areas that tend to pile up and occupy a lot of space. Get rid of unnecessary papers, books and clothing. Donate any items in good condition and toss everything else to reduce clutter.
At the same time you're decreasing the clutter in your studio, you'll need to get creative about storage. The best advice — go vertical. If you've got stuff that can go on the walls, put it there.
Install shelves, hooks, peg boards or whatever you need to get things off the floor. Don't hesitate to stack bins on top of cabinets all the way to the ceiling. Keep a small step stool handy for when you need to reach up high. Corner shelving can also add storage that extends way up within a space that's often difficult to utilize. You may have to forgo a lot of wall art to use the space for storage, but it's worth it.
Taking your furniture vertical is another way to create more ground-level storage. If you have a traditional bed with legs, consider raising it up for more storage underneath. Pack up off-season clothes and extra sheets or towels, along with any bulkier items and store them underneath. Drape a colorful piece of fabric or a curtain down from your bed frame to disguise the storage space and add some color to your studio.
The more light you have in your studio, the larger it will feel. If you have a place with good natural lighting, don't hide it behind heavy curtains or blinds. Keep window coverings pulled back during the day to let the light pour in and brighten up the place.
If you aren't blessed with big windows, make sure there are enough lamps and overhead lights to keep things feeling bright. Check the bulbs in your fixtures to make sure they have the right light. According to Taylor Martin writing for CNET, soft white bulbs give off a warm, cozy feeling, best for living rooms, dens and bedrooms.
Use a few well-placed mirrors to enhance the light you do have, and opt for lighter colored furniture to keep the darkness away.
It may seem a little daunting at first to furnish your studio in a way that holds everything but also gives you some space. However, you picked this apartment for a reason.
Whether it's to save money or be close to work, once you settle in, you'll find there are more advantages to your small space than you anticipated.