Studio apartments, be they in city centers, in the suburbs or even out in the country, are both an economical and interesting way to live. They’re not without their quirks – but if you are smart with your home décor and make effective use of the space, you can really make your studio shine. Here are a few tips to help put your personality into your new place.
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What is a studio apartment?
A studio apartment is a place to live in which the kitchen area, the sleeping area, and the living area all occupy one space.
Studio apartments are most often touted as the solution for those moving out on their own for the first time, for students, or for single young professionals. But in reality, they actually draw in a surprising range of different tenants from every walk of life. In today’s sometimes difficult housing market, the affordability of studio apartments is seen as a big plus.
As you might expect, there are certain considerations to make when considering a studio apartment of your own. These range from the obvious – a smaller space to live in, but also less to clean – to the less apparent. For example, when you go to sleep at night, you’ll likely be able to hear the refrigerator, and maybe even have the smell of dinnertime still hanging in the air.
Managing this space, and making the most of it, comes more naturally to some than others. People who live in studio apartments find that it can encourage them to declutter their lives and strip down the non-essentials in ways that’d inspire Marie Kondo to give the nod of approval. For others, studio apartments can feel a little like being far too cooped up – like a lion pacing the cage.
Overcoming that latter feeling, though, largely comes down to how you go about your own studio apartment interior design.
The difference between studio apartment interior design and larger living spaces
Many of the practices that are used in larger rooms, regular apartments, and houses for creating more light and space are likewise used in studio apartments. The difference is that, in studio apartment interior design, those best practices are usually much more emphasized.
People living in studio apartments tend to shop for furniture that is multifunctional, or in some way sized to fit this more compact living space. It’s so important to maximize the space available to you here because it can combat the feeling of being too contained.
Sofas huddled against the TV screen, beds backed against the kitchen sink, bathroom doors that only open halfway before hitting the edge of your computer desk – all things you can avoid when you decorate smartly.
Fitting in the furniture you need
When you’re shopping for the best furniture for a studio apartment, you’re wise to consider the dimensions not just of the apartment itself, but also the doors and the space you have to actually shift things around.
It may seem obvious, but far too many first time tenants of these kinds of apartment find themselves frustrated when a desk or sofa doesn’t fit through the front door, or through the access corridor of the apartment building itself.
Flat pack furniture can be a good solution here, but just as popular an idea is simply shopping for furniture that has been designed specifically for more space effective living. There are lots of solutions out there, and luckily, a lot of them don’t skimp on things like comfort, style or functionality.
Sofa beds, futons, and fold-down sleeping space
Maximizing your comfort and ability to relax in your studio apartment is key. This is your safe space, your home in which you recharge your batteries – and if your studio’s in a big city, making sure it has the right bed for you to rest up among the hubbub is so important.
But with a bed being one of the most space consuming essential pieces of furniture there is, you’ll likely want to consider your options carefully.
In many studio apartments, the bed is simply out in the living space, sometimes pulling double duty as the couch. For lots of people, this works just fine, but others find that over time, it proves problematic.
Guests who come over will be sitting on your bed, eating their takeout meals, drinking the coffee you make them, and so on. This can undermine one’s sense of personal space and privacy over time in some peculiar ways if you’re not ready for it. Even the most thoughtful guest can’t help but add to this effect because there’s nowhere else to sit.
Never fear though – there are lots of studio apartment futon sofa combos that can really help out. These are designed as compact enough to be easily moved, or built, within a studio apartment space, but also have a modern style that really fits these kinds of properties nicely.
During the day, they’re comfortable and appealing sofas or couches. Come nightfall, they fold out to become double beds that easily accommodate singletons or couples.
Making the most of your space in this way is extremely useful in a studio apartment, and these pieces of furniture are usually built to maximize comfort in both of their forms – one needn’t outshine the other.
However, other space-saving sleeping solutions certainly exist – the wall mounted bed, or Murphy bed is another popular example. This, much like the sofa bed solution, prevents the bed from dominating your living space and prevents your studio apartment feeling too much like a bedroom with a kitchen affixed to it.
Style and function are more intertwined than we often think – and they’re definitely not mutually exclusive. For example, a wall mounted bed that folds down for nighttime can incorporate a feature design, or even small shelves or compartments, while it’s folded away.
Foldaway tables and other compact dining sets
Making dedicated time to eat meals comfortably is vital to our health, but some studio apartments aren’t quite sizeable enough to make a conventional dining table really work.
Luckily, solutions exist for more compact homes. Finding the right kind of dining table can help you feel inspired to get stuck into improving your home cooking. Sturdy, affordable and stylish foldaway or small dining tables for studio apartments can be found in a range of colors and styles to match the feel of your home.
Both square and round options exist, so give that some thought when designing your space. Round shaped tables give a more organic, even rustic feel to your home, while square or rectangular dining tables often have a more modern and contemporary edge.
Think practical, too – if your studio apartment is especially small, you might want to steer clear of square dining tables, especially if you plan to have guests over a lot. The hard corners can cause more than their fair share of bumps and bruises, even months after you’ve got used to the table’s position in your studio flat.
Simple ornaments, like a single vase or condiment set at the center of the table, make the function of the piece clear without crowding its surface area.
Tablecloths give you the chance to either accent or match your dining table to the rest of the room too. If you want it to be part of the room, choose a color that matches the walls, carpet or sofa – and if you want to enhance the divide between dining space and living area, choose a more contrasted but still complementary color.
Shelving and storage
Efficiency and storage space is a bit of a make or breaks element in a studio apartment. Thankfully, modern and well-designed studio apartments tend to have been created with this in mind.
Buildings that have been hastily converted to incorporate studio flats, or just weren’t designed so well, don’t have those advantages – but that’s not to say you can’t make your own solutions. In fact, even those more efficiently designed studio apartments can do with a little more storage from time to time.
Learning to take advantage of space while still having the freedom to move about is the secret to great studio apartment interior design.
Closets and clothing
Storing your clothing, shoes and other fashion necessities usually take a closet or wardrobe – a sizeable piece of furniture. Like other examples we’ve discussed, this can prove problematic for a studio apartment floor plan.
Many people moving into a studio apartment without a built-in closet of some kind choose to really trim down their clothing collection – perhaps to just enough to fit in a chest of drawers, with a shoe rack by the door for footwear.
If you’re trying to declutter your life, then, by all means, go for this solution – but it’s not strictly necessary! There are so many closet alternatives out there, many of which can prove smart ways of making superb use of your space without breaking the flow of the room – or the bank.
A good solution, if you have the under-bed space, are storage boxes for smaller clothing pieces, like socks and underwear.
In many cases, you’ll also find that there are a number of wardrobes and closets that have been designed as extra compact and narrow. They often come in flatpack format, so you can build them in your studio apartment.
Bookshelves and displays
So much of the personality of your room comes through in the shelves that house your books, movies, games, electronics, sculptures, sports trophies – you name it.
Floating shelves on your walls are good minimalistic choices if you want only a few small books or decorative elements on display. They’re also a good place to put plants.
Shelves can be placed especially high in places that have high ceilings, effectively giving you another layer of storage that’s out of the way of the line of sight, but still in handy reach when you need a certain recipe book, DVD or the like.
However, if you have a bookshelf that’s especially wide, and open on both sides, this can actually be an advantage. That’s because a decent wide bookshelf can double as a divider for your studio apartment – splitting your home office from your living space, or your kitchen from your bedroom area.
Light and color
While there are as many studio apartments with decent natural light as there are without, chances are you’re going to need some extra lighting in your new place.
Placing lights intelligently is also key so that the separation of, say, your sleeping space and your living space is maintained as best as possible.
Bright ideas for lighting
Finding lamps and lighting is easy these days. In fact, many modern pieces of furniture, like bed headboards, shelving fixtures, desks, etc have lamp fixtures built in. Likewise, lamps from antiques to modern pieces can really be used to accent a room – not just for lighting.
Keep an eye on the nooks and alcoves of your studio apartment too. They’re not just useful for storage, but also for standing a floor lamp or hanging a wall lamp. This not only prevents too much shadow obscuring these darker corners of your home but also lights the rest of your studio apartment in a space conscious way.
Mirrors and dividers – make light work for you
Natural light is important, but your studio apartment might well only have the one window – or none at all. When you’re having to work with only a small source of light, incorporating a mirror can be a good way of making it go that bit further – and of making a room seem larger.
Mirrors can be used in some surprising ways too, such as behind kitchen counters or behind shelves, flush on the wall, to really add depth to your apartment.
If it’s excess light in an open plan living and sleeping space that’s affecting you, though, think of ways to stylishly divide your room. Curtains and folding screens very effectively divide sleeping and living areas, for instance – and some apartments of this kind will let you put half-walls or temporary walls up too.
Studio apartment finishing touches
With the big pieces of furniture sorted – if not outright replaced by more stylish and space effective solutions – you’re free to add the personal flourishes that will really make your studio an appealing place to live.
This is all about putting your stamp on the place. If you’re stumped – or looking for ways to make some smart interior design choices – there are a few more points to consider.
Indoor plants and greenery
Avoiding the feeling of being cooped up in four small walls is perhaps the most vital psychological aspect of studio apartment living. For this, plants are excellent, for the same reason they are in an office or in any home. Plants reduce stress and enhance creative thinking, even on a subconscious level, and add a touch of nature to what are often urban properties.
Of course, plants have their complications too. They need upkeep, and if your studio apartment has poor natural light, damp problems or a few too many insect guests, they can add more stress than you might think.
Yet perhaps surprisingly, artificial plants – sometimes nicknamed “fauxliage” – give all the psychological perks of real plants with none of the upkeep. Artificial plants come in all shapes and sizes, too – and there’s no risk of one growing too large to maintain!
A lot of your personal style and flair will come through pretty naturally with the posters, paintings, and photographs you choose to hang on the walls of your studio apartment. Suffice to say, these can add color and focus to a room that might otherwise feel a little lifeless or uncoordinated, really tying things together.
Yet when smartly used, wall decorations can give shape and distinction to your studio apartment. It can help you to partition one area of the apartment from another – separating the kitchen from the living room can be as simple as painting one half of the room one color, and one half another.
A feature wall is another excellent way by which to both create space and liven up your home. You can go as far fetched or as downtempo as you want here – a mural, a false brick wall for that urban chic, or a feature area for your bed or sofa to rest against.
The contrast of that wall against the other three in your studio flat will give a sense of presence and place, drawing the eye and tying together what might otherwise look cluttered and disjointed.
There are so many awesome ways you can make a studio apartment work for you. Studio apartment interior design brings challenges and opportunities aplenty, but these tips in mind, you’ll be setting out on the right foot with plenty of your own bright ideas to follow.