Chances are your first solo place is going to be a studio apartment. Housing costs are rising, and so is the popularity of downsizing living spaces and belongings. In any case, studio apartments are a fantastic option for people who have recently graduated college, are working full-time and want to move out of their parents house, or are simply over the dorm life and need a bit of space. Today I’m sharing 20 quick tips on how to rock your studio apartment, without it feeling like you’re still living in a college dorm.
Separate your sleeping space
Hang a curtain between your bed space and your living space. This will give you a lot of much needed privacy, especially if you tend to have people over a lot and don’t want them to see your unmade bed. If solid curtains aren’t your thing, try hanging sheer ones. They’ll let in a lot of light while still creating privacy, and you can suspend twinkle lights behind them for extra ambience. Sheer curtains still not your thing? Try hanging some chains for an industrial touch.
Make patterns cohesive
It’s okay to have a little variation to show that your bed space is different from your living space, but going too crazy can be very obvious and look too eclectic. For a simple and sophisticated touch, match your patterns in similar shapes or colours. I like to keep mine neutral in shades of grey or white, and add a little sparkle or texture if I feel like my space needs a boost.
Clearly define spaces
This apartment has a bench to signify the end of the bed, and a rug that hosts the living room. It’s easy to let your spaces all blend together, but it’ll feel bigger and neater if you keep things where they should be. It’s easy to do even in a smaller space, but you’ll have to remember not to let items drift across to other ‘rooms’.
Accept your space
Sometimes, you’re going to have a tiny little space that doesn’t even feel like a whole apartment. That’s normal. You’re probably getting a better deal financially, and it’s a good option for a more temporary situation. Smaller places are good if you spend a lot of time at school or work. It’ll also save you time for cleaning, since there isn’t a lot you’ll have to do!
Choose a place where you can have a bit of privacy
I love studio apartments with glass doors. You can let the light in when you need it, and you can also shut off private spaces without making your apartment feel any smaller. Obviously this isn’t a feature that comes with most studio apartments, so keep an eye out for places that have good separation.
Frost your glass
For some reason, this apartment is separated with a glass-enclosed bathroom. Unless you like the freedom of clear glass, frosting is a good option to hide away things you don’t want to be seen. Frosting will let some light through, so if you need a bit more of it you can do a partial frost.
Separate with functional pieces
This studio apartment is clever separated into two rooms using the closet system, the sheer curtain, and the bookcase and cabinet unit. You can get excellent use out of all of the pieces you have, rather than buying something that only has one purpose, such as a folding screen.
Loft your bed
If you’re good with heights and ladders (and your ceiling heights permit it), you might want to consider raising your bed high enough to create a separate room underneath. Technically you don’t need a lot of space for your bed itself, so this is a good way to double your floor space with minimal effort.
Look through your furniture
Acrylic chairs, coffee tables, desks, and vanity units are all designed for one purpose: to reduce visual clutter. In smaller spaces, it’s very easy for the room to get overwhelmed with pattern, texture, and colour. Simple pieces that can be easily seen through, such as the bookcase and the chair, allow you to have functional pieces that don’t look enormous in your small apartment.
Opt for a bold design choice
While painting everything black is probably a bit too bold for my tastes, but it’s an amazingly efficient and affordable way to inject a ton of personality into your space. Darker colours can make small spaces seem even smaller, but one uniform colour will help awkward features blend together. It also creates a moody and sexy vibe, perfect for bachelorettes.
Go as light as you like
As we talked about before, darker colours can make spaces feel smaller. In contrast, light colours makes a room feel bright and airy, so choose a range of lighter shades that work harmoniously. Start with a base of white, add your light and bright pops of colour, and ground them with a neutral shade like beige or grey.
Figure out how you use the space
If you spend the majority of your time out of your apartment and only really use it for sleeping and storing your things, put your biggest focus on the things you’ll actually use. Swap out a traditional living area for a bigger bed and a pair of comfy chairs. This will allow you to invest in pieces you truly love; pieces that you’ll be able to bring with you when you move to a bigger place.
Choose tone-on-tone shades for easy harmony
It’s no secret that my favourite colour is grey, so it’s the one that I always recommend. Grey has so many different shades ranging from near-blacks to soft whites, and there’s always a shade perfect for your space. Clear pieces help to trick your eye into thinking there’s more space, and reflective elements like chrome and mirrors bring in even more space and light. PS: Wooden or laminate floors are good for studio apartments, they’re so much easier to clean than carpet.
Float your furniture
Stick a piece of furniture in the middle of your room. I know it sounds a little crazy, but it’s the same multi-functionality that we touched on earlier. It serves as a room divider, as well as a piece that you’re actually going to use. Most people have a TV, so popping it in the middle of the room will save on wall damage, as well as pulling the focus away from the bed space behind it.
Learn to love the open floor plan
Okay, this one might take you a while. We’re conditioned to think that a bedroom should be a secluded and private place, so it can feel kind of uncomfortable having it right in your lounge. But think of all the possibilities: you can tuck it up behind your sofa for extra movie-night seating, and it’s so much easier to flop onto your mattress at the end of the night. Plus, no one can growl you for keeping dishes in your bedroom – technically, your bedroom is also your kitchen!
If you can, choose a place that’s modern or newly renovated
This image may be a rendering, but newer apartments will feature cooler design aspects. This flatscreen mounted to a tinted glass wall is pretty cool, and so are all the modular five-in-one apartments that are becoming popular. These kinds of places will definitely be more expensive, but if you’re looking for a long-term space and like the studio layout, it might be worth the investment.
Sliding doors are king
This apartment has so many excellent features in just the one spot. Sliding, frosted glass doors are an amazing space-saving option that doesn’t cut off any light, but still provides tons of privacy. You can have them pushed fully back, halfway extended, or fully extended, and you lose virtually no floor space. As a bonus, you can use the glass as a whiteboard when you’re studying or working.
Smaller floors and higher ceilings
Lofts are really excellent if you can’t afford a bedroom-ed place, but still need more privacy than a traditional studio apartment can offer. Typically, apartments with lofts will have a partial wall on the mezzanine level, to allow for light. Hang a curtain for extra privacy and sun-defence, and your guests will never have an excuse to poke about in your bedroom.
Style like a hotel
Good hotels usually have excellent styling. They’re almost studio apartments in themselves, except with tiny kitchens. This is probably another option best suited for people who don’t spend a lot of time at home, or for ‘studio apartments’ that share a common room on the floor. You get all the functionality of an apartment, but it feels just a bit more intimate.
Plan your spaces according to your needs
The above picture is the gorgeous loft of fashion and lifestyle blogger Carly Cristman. She’s changed her apartment since this photo was taken, swapping the bedroom and loft office space over. The loft doesn’t get any natural light, which makes it perfect for sleeping. You’ll need to consider what you’re using your apartment for, and which areas need particular commodities. Where do you need natural light? Which space do you want closest to the bathroom?
Studio apartments are affordable options, but that doesn’t mean you should let them look like a carbon copy of your college dorm room. Add decorative elements like framed artwork and plants, bring in furniture pieces that you actually like (side note: you can buy petite furniture pieces specifically designed for smaller apartments), and style your apartment so that it feels like you’re coming home.
Watch Carly’s official loft tour here on Youtube.
Featured image is via H2 Design Studio.