Your studio apartment may be on the small side, but with planning, you can have everything you need for a studio that’s a perfect fit for your life.
Maybe you’ve heard about the dilemmas of owning a studio or one-room when binging YouTube videos of New York (micro) apartments. The challenge of making everything you need for living fit into a limited space is *very* real. Whether you’re decorating a smaller space or looking for a new challenge as you advance through your interior design career, you know that a small space is only limited by your imagination.
If you get your small space layout right, apartment living can be a dream come true for an interior design lover who appreciates the minimalism of an intuitive, functional home.
You know yourself best. Consider your lifestyle and the areas, daily routines, and privacy requirements needed at home. Basic guidelines like these will help to maximize the square footage of a studio or one-bedroom apartment.
Prioritize areas in your layout that take precedence in your lifestyle. If you are a foodie who loves to host dinner parties (don't forget to invite us over!), plan your layout around a dining table that seats six and a regular-sized sofa rather than a stationary bike in your small living room.
Use Spoak’s interior design visualization tool to piece your layout together like a puzzle before you commit to a design. It’s that simple.
You may automatically think of your house in terms of rectangles or squares, but when space is at a premium, a linear layout may work best. Imagine your rooms stacked one in front of the other, ordered for ease of use, like a railroad apartment. Let your living area transition into the dining area, with your marble bar and countertop to separate the two. Past the kitchen, your guests have easy access to the bathroom, and your “hallway” ends with a pocket door that closes off the bedroom space for privacy. Each zone is ordered for ease of use while being its own space.
If you can’t rely on structural elements like load-bearing walls to separate zones in a petite apartment, it’s time to rely on creative room dividers to break things up.
You may already have the perfect room divider sitting in your apartment against a wall.
Pull that open-back bookcase out to sit between the living area and bedroom. It creates enough of a visual area to give a feeling of intimacy to each space, each with its own focal point that gives you a bit more license when decorating.
Open-back bookshelves allow natural light to pass through your spaces to keep a sense of spaciousness without things feeling cavernous. Plus, they’re great for showing off your styling abilities.
If you’d like a solid barrier between spaces to reduce visual clutter, consider sliding doors. You can install them between living areas for instant privacy or simply use folding pocket doors to hide your kitchen prep wall when not in use.
Opt for semi-transparent glass sliding doors for a screen that looks like a built-in design element. The light of your bedroom nook glowing through your shoji panel doors looks like another design feature in a home with multiple panels and sliding doors. Even when an area is closed off, the ambient light shines through the panels. The sheer panels lend a warm glow to the rest of your space, especially in the evening.
If your single-room apartment still feels disjointed and awkward, try using a gallery wall in one corner as a visual cue that this is a separate area for relaxing or lounging.
You can always build your own partition where none exists and create additional storage space while you are at it. A slim closet partition wall that’s deep enough to hold your wardrobe and drawers with a vanity may solve two problems with one DIY build.
Use a material that matches the rest of your decor (dark wood with dark wood and light with light) for a storage solution that will make you forget you ever wanted a walk-in closet.
This rule is straight forward: Take the most of every square inch of your place and free up floor space by utilizing vertical space.
Floating bookshelves can provide a storage solution for any area in your tiny studio apartment while showcasing your personality. Move that stacks of books that’s been growing beside the bed to your hanging shelves and layer them with artwork or that earthy collection of pinched pottery you love.
If you have high ceilings, incorporate a separate sleeping area into your studio apartment design with clever use of vertical space by adding a loft bed. Close your loft off with curtains or sliding doors for more privacy and accentuate the coziness of the room beneath it.
If your loft is over your workspace, play up the cozy feeling by paneling your office nook walls in a rich wood that matches the ceiling beams under your loft. Warm task lighting under shelves and via a desk lamp keeps this space feeling snug.
In a dedicated bedroom space, having a pull-down or drawer-unit bed frees up much-needed space for getting in that last-minute yoga session or sprawling on the ground to read your favorite design magazines.
If you have wall space the width of a bed, you can install a Murphy bed cabinet. Add surrounding bookshelves for a custom look and attach art to your Murphy bed wall panel that will stay put when you pull it down at night.
Much like the Murphy bed gives your home design greater flexibility, invest in pieces of furniture that will do double duty in your living space.
Nesting coffee tables allow you to keep multiple tables within the amount of floor space it takes to keep one. If you have guests and need another side table, simply pull one out from under your coffee table.
Drum-style coffee tables with slide-out cushions transform into extra seating or ottomans. Add a removable top to your table, and you now have extra storage for remotes, books, and device chargers. A removable glass table top can store small knick-knacks or collections, creating a mini museum that takes up no extra room while adding a dynamic flair.
Lift-top dining tables are a sleek way to transition your dining room into a home office after dinner is served. The dining table top hinges upward to reveal everything you need for an efficient workspace. You might want to try an online tutorial for an under-table storage hack that lets you flex your DIY muscles while finding the right spot for your laptop, keyboard, and mouse.
If you don’t have space for a set of dining chairs, a desk chair, and accent chairs, then choose chairs that are comfortable for each task and have them reupholstered in similar material.
You don’t have to be a professional to recover chairs, which is something you may have already learned due to supply chain issues. A complimentary fabric allows your rolling desk chair to be stunning extra seating in the living area.
Planning a small home design doesn’t have to be an exercise in self-denial. Instead, it’s a creative one that’s all about finding bite-sized solutions that make your space feel custom.
Photo Credit: (Left) Domino
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