10 Tips for Designing a Studio Apartment {or other small spaces}

If you live in a big city with sky-rocketing rents and you have a small budget, chances are you’re going to be living in a studio apartment.  This is not a totally frowny face situation -- there are ways to maximize what little space you have and create a fabulous place to live. Here are a few ideas on how to make your small space work for you.  

  1. Avoid blocking sources of natural light.  Natural light brightens a space and keeps it from looking like a dark little hole.  Utilize mirrors to bounce light around -- it will give the illusion that the room is bigger.

  2. Use things like folding screens, curtains, pony walls {i.e a ½ wall} to create separate areas, like sectioning off your sleeping area from the rest of the room.  Be careful not to use too many dividers or your space will start to feel cramped and maze-like.

  3. Use furniture that does double-duty, like ottomans or benches that can be used as coffee tables or additional seating when you have company.  Try using a dining table that can also double as a desk. Beds with drawers underneath are great and there are even ones that lift up to reveal storage under the mattress.

  4. Use any nook or awkward spaces to create built-in storage -- this way you won’t take up any precious inches with storage solutions that come into the room and take up square footage.

  5. Anything foldable is also a great space-saving solution.  You can lean folded tables and chairs against a wall or tuck them into a corner/niche so they don’t take up precious floor space.

  6. Conceal/hide what you can.  Storage boxes with lids are great when it comes to this.  Keep what you use often reachable and tuck the rest away in the back of a closet. You can even stack on on top of the other and use it as a side table.  There’s that multi-purpose thing again!

  7. Bookcases can serve as both a room divider AND a storage solution.  Put the storage boxes mentioned above on lower shelves and display books and other decorative items on the shelves above.  Or devote the whole thing to storage boxes, do whatever works best for you.

  8. If you don’t have enough room for a bookcase, install floating shelves higher up on the wall above the furniture that most likely sits against it.

  9. Hang your curtains as high as you can -- it gives the room verticality and makes it seem bigger.  Make sure the curtains touch the floor, nothing looks sillier than too-short curtains.

  10. Again, where floor space is precious, think vertical.  Tall bookcases or armoires will draw the eye up and make your studio seem roomier than it is.

Here are some images of fabulous studio apartments to inspire you!

Seen in Elle Decor.  Photo :: Björn Wallander

Seen in Elle Decor.  Photo :: Björn Wallander

This studio uses a monochromatic design scheme to make the room seem bigger.

Seen in Metropolitan Home

Seen in Metropolitan Home

If you can mount something on the wall, do it.  Like this flat screen TV in the same studio as shown above.

Seen in Metropolitan Home

Seen in Metropolitan Home

If closet space is limited in your studio, get creative like in this space where the area behind the bed doubles as a closet.

via homedit.com

via homedit.com

In this studio, the curtains help section off the sleeping area from the rest of the room.  The turquoise focus wall also serves to define the space further.

via apartment therapy

via apartment therapy

sleeping area+curtains+studio apartment+brettVdesign

I love how the sofa at the end of the bed separates the "bedroom" from the rest of the studio.

design :: nate berkus

design :: nate berkus

This is a great example of using an open bookcase as a room divider and it doesn't block natural light.  Using lucite furniture {like the below Louis Ghost chair} is also a great idea as it doesn't take up a lot of visual space.

design :: fieldstone hill design

design :: fieldstone hill design

If you're lucky enough to have really high ceilings a loft bed is a great way to free up precious floor space.  Note how every available square inch of wall space is used as storage.

design :: The Brooklyn Home Company

design :: The Brooklyn Home Company

The homeowner of this studio used the wall in the narrow entry for magazine storage {and I thought I had a lot of magazines!}.  It works because the shelves are shallow in depth.

via littlediggs.com

via littlediggs.com

In Olympia Bermann's {a clothing designer for J. Crew} studio, the wall and ceiling around her bed help visually separate it from the rest of the studio.

studio apartment+focus wall+olympia bermann+brettVdesign
via apartment therapy

via apartment therapy

I love the wood slatted room divider in this studio designed by The Brooklyn Home Company.  Also note that the bed has storage drawers on both sides.

design :: The Brooklyn Home Company

design :: The Brooklyn Home Company

design :: The Brooklyn Home Company

design :: The Brooklyn Home Company

The 3/4 wall divides the sleeping area from the rest of the room in this studio.  Floating shelves are mounted above the sideboard and over the door for storage.  Also, so in LOVE the wallpaper.

via bettyjoy.blogspot.com

via bettyjoy.blogspot.com

I dig the swing hanging opposite the sofa!  It's definitely an original space-saving move!

via thetwentylife.com

via thetwentylife.com

via decoholic.com

via decoholic.com

This studio designed by Nick Olsen shows that you don't have to be afraid of color and pattern when designing a small space.

design :: nick olsen

design :: nick olsen

Another great example of how lucite furniture doesn't take up a lot of visual space.

studio apartment+black+white+brettVdesign

The sleeping area of this studio apartment is defined by a low bookcase and a focus wall.I'm totally in love with this wallpaper too!

via popsugar.com

via popsugar.com

Another studio that uses bold wallpaper to delineate the sleeping versus living areas.  The clear folding screen helps define the space without blocking any natural light.

via Lonny

via Lonny

A glass partition separates the kitchen from the rest of this narrow studio.

via casahaus.com

via casahaus.com

via casahaus.com

via casahaus.com

A change in flooring defines the two different "zones" of this studio, as does the pony wall at the head of the bed.  There is also a step between the zones that further separates the sleeping area from the living/dining area.

via home-designing.com

via home-designing.com


disclaimer :: all images on this blog are copyrighted by their respective owners.  i do not own any of the images posted unless otherwise stated.  if you see your work on my site without proper credit or you would like it removed, please contact me.