How to design a small studio apartment

Updated April 17, 2017

A studio is a small apartment comprised of one room that serves as a living, sleeping, dining and kitchen area combined. Studio apartments rent for less than larger spaces, making them desirable for people with small budgets. Because of their size, studio apartments are easy to maintain, but they also present decorating and storage challenges. It is possible, however, to design a small apartment to take advantage of its limited space while still making it inviting, cosy and uniquely yours.

Define the space. Decide if there is room for both a dedicated sleeping space and a living area. Hang a curtain, or use privacy screens to separate the living space from the sleeping area. Place a media centre between the sleeping and living areas. Attach fabric to the back to form a headboard for your bed.

Buy furniture that does double-duty. A daybed, futon or convertible sofa will serve as a couch by day and a bed by night. A three-shelf bookcase can act as both end tables and bedside tables. Choose a drop leaf table with leaves that can be opened when you have guests or folded down and pushed against the wall to act as an office while creating floor space. Use a vintage trunk for both a coffee table and storage. Create extra seating with storage cubes.

Create storage. Make use of vertical space. Build a loft bed if the ceiling is high enough, creating a space for storage or a workspace underneath. Install floor-to-ceiling shelving. Supplement your storage space with armoires, dressers and trunks. Corral clothes, magazines, shoes, purses and laundry in baskets. Make use of space under the bed, couch and chairs. Hang a pot rack in the kitchen. Choose one that you suspend from the ceiling or a wall-mounted style. Hang a shoe storage bag on the back of your bathroom door. Buy a shower curtain liner with built-in pockets to store shampoo, body wash and other essentials. Use drawer dividers in your kitchen drawers to keep utensils organised. Keep dry goods in stackable containers.

Paint your apartment with light colours to make the space appear larger. Choose pastels rather than brighter hues. Paint the ceiling a lighter shade than the walls. Add a splash of colour with accessories like throw pillows, rugs, artwork and quilts or afghans.

Purge your apartment of things you don't use or rarely use. Donate items to charity, hold a tag sale or rent a storage unit. When you bring something in to the apartment get rid of something else. Pare down collections. Display one or two pieces rather than every piece you own. Sell or donate clothing you haven't worn in two years.

Things You'll Need

  • Curtain
  • Privacy screen
  • Media centre
  • Fabric
  • Sofabed
  • Convertible sofa
  • Futon
  • Bookcase
  • Drop leaf table
  • Trunk
  • Storage cubes
  • Shelving
  • Armoire
  • Dresser
  • Baskets
  • Pot rack
  • Shoe storage bag
  • Shower curtain liner
  • Drawer dividers
  • Stackable containers
  • Paint
  • Throw pillows
  • Art work
  • Rugs
  • Afghan
  • Quilt
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About the Author

Jan Czech has been writing professionally since 1993. Czech has published seven children's books, including “The Coffee Can Kid," which received a starred review from School Library Journal. She is a certified English/language arts teacher and holds a Bachelor of Arts in education from Niagara University.