Spoiler alert: studio apartments aren’t big on space. That’s why any design decisions you make need to be deliberate—and multifunctional. Decor and essentials should coexist no matter how large a home you have, but it’s downright imperative to find that balance when you live in a studio. To help you maximize every single square foot in style, Havenly interior designers Brady Burke, Autumn Williams, and Vivian Torres are sharing their very best ideas for small studio apartments.
Consider How You’ll Use the Space
“Before deciding your layout, think realistically about how you want to use the space,” Torres says. “If you want to read more, then use an open bookcase to separate the bed from the sofa. Not only does this add definition, but it gives you a place to display books and other accessories that add character,” she says.
If you’re more interested in entertaining and using your space as a living room, embrace the open space so guests can mingle freely—an open-concept studio is a look Williams loves. Not quite sure? Take a cue from Burke and split the difference. “When a partition is not an option, I like to utilize the farthest part of the room from the entry as a bedroom space,” Burke says. “This helps creates small zones where each living and sleeping space has its own functionality and needs, but it also allows for a good flow throughout the room.”
Splurge on Seating
“Both literally and figuratively, there is no room for uncomfortable, bulky chairs or sofas in a small space,” Burke says. Williams echoes that idea—she recommends investing in one quality piece, such as a loveseat, sofa, or sectional, that fits the space as opposed to multiple pieces that do not. From there, opt for multifunctional seating, says Torres, who suggests a loveseat or sofa that converts to a bed.
Count on Curtains
You can close off a sleeping nook with curtains or use them to create a tailored, uniform look throughout the room. Torres is a fan of floor-to-ceiling curtains in solid white hung as high above the top of the window trim as possible. “It draws the eye up and visually expands the room,” she says. Burke suggests vertical stripes to help further elongate and expand the space. No matter which drapes you choose, they should lightly graze the ground.
For Rugs, Go Big
Torres says a large area rug is on her splurge list when it comes to small spaces. You’ll also need to choose a size bigger than what you might think. Here’s why: A rug that doesn’t anchor furniture appropriately will actually make the space feel smaller.
Make It Mid-Century (Or Not!)
If you hate mid-century style, don’t force it — but it works particularly well for small studio apartments, Burke says. “Mid-century pieces are low-profile and narrow,” he says, which allows for visual flow and ease of movement throughout the space. In general, minimal, modern designs help tamp down visual clutter in a small space, says Williams. Don’t dig the modern style? See our next tip…
Display Bold Style Selectively
“An eclectic design can live beautifully in a studio, as long as you stick to a color scheme and express some restraint when displaying knick-knacks or other accessories like plants,” Torres says. Maximalists, take note: just a few key pieces can go a long way!
Let There Be Light
Opting for a light color palette helps make a room feel larger. You can also incorporate mirrors into the design to further reflect light. “It’ll trick the eye into thinking there’s more space than there actually is,” Torres says.
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