Transforming Your Studio Apartment: Innovative Ideas to Decorate and Divide
If you're living in a snug studio apartment, you know the struggle of trying to fit all the necessities into one small space. But fear not, because we have the ultimate guide on how to decorate a studio apartment in a way that maximizes its potential and creates a stylish and functional living area. From creating distinct “rooms” to utilizing multi-purpose furniture, we've got all the tips and tricks you need to transform your studio apartment into a cozy and inviting oasis. So, keep reading and get ready to turn your tiny space into a design masterpiece.
Studio Apartment Design Ideas
When designing your studio apartment, it's important to consider what you want from a home. With careful planning, you can incorporate all your needs into a small space.
If you enjoy cooking and hosting dinner parties, prioritize your kitchen and dining area. If you work or study from home, make sure you have a dedicated desk area.
This doesn't mean you have to compromise in other areas of your apartment, but rather focus on what is most important to you.
In this post, I will show you how to divide your studio into separate zones, offer tips for smart space utilization, and showcase examples of color schemes that work well in a studio apartment.
Create Distinct "Rooms"
Photo via @stephomenai
You can create different zones in your small apartment using curtains, pallet walls, or bookshelves. This allows you to make each area feel like a separate room, even without walls. If you choose to use shelves, consider open shelves to allow for better flow of light, preventing the space from feeling cramped. Screen dividers are another option that can serve as both functional separators and decorative elements, as they come in various colors and patterns.
Define Your Palette
To maintain a cohesive look in your entire apartment, stick to the same color palette. You can choose a mix of neutral tones or opt for a bold, saturated shade.
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One common aspect of studio apartments is having the bed placed in the middle of the room, making it visible to everyone. To create a separation between the sleeping area and the rest of the space, you can use room dividers such as bookcases, folding screens, or curtains.
Photo: Gieves Anderson
Color Schemes in a Studio Apartment
Many articles suggest painting small homes in a neutral, light color scheme. However, I disagree. There is no one-size-fits-all color scheme for a studio apartment. The choice of colors in home design is personal; some people prefer minimalistic and neutral tones, while others prefer vibrant colors. It's important to consider your own preferences and surround yourself with the colors that make you happy.
If you prefer an abundance of color, go for it! You can incorporate color in various ways, such as painting the walls, adding colorful furniture, or using colorful fabrics and home decor.
If you need help with color selection, consider these guidelines:
- Colors in the same temperature create a harmonious look. Warm colors include beige and brown, while cool colors include blue and green.
- Monochrome colors, which are colors in the same hue, can create a cohesive palette. For example, you can combine soft pink and bright pink or opt for a Scandinavian white/grey/black palette.
- Contrasting colors enhance each other. If you choose two colors on opposite sides of the spectrum, such as pink and blue, they will create a strong, colorful statement.
Below, you can see examples of studio apartments with different color schemes. This demonstrates that there is no one "perfect" color scheme for a studio.
This studio apartment showcases contrasting colors, such as purple vs. yellow and red vs. blue. It uses a lot of color, creating a fun and vibrant home (photo: Mathieu Lacote).
Embrace the dark side! This studio apartment is entirely painted in black, with vintage furniture and a canopy bed, proving that small homes don't have to be white (styling: Rydman & photo: Boukari).
This studio apartment features dark colors with vintage furniture. The addition of pink provides a warm contrast to the blue tones. (Notice the clever shelf above the doorframe!)
Colorful walls and textures create a vibrant atmosphere in this studio apartment (photo: Rima Brindamour).
This light and calm studio apartment features a monochrome color scheme with soft pink walls and a darker pink velvet sofa, creating a serene environment (photo: Laura Metzler).
Monochrome doesn't have to mean white and grey. This studio apartment showcases a soft pink color palette, creating a warm and cohesive look (photo: Bjurfors).
A cold color palette combines greys with green in this studio apartment. To add a pop of color without painting all the walls, you can create a statement wall.
Light and calm, this minimalistic studio apartment features a monochrome color scheme with light greys, beige, and light wood furnishings. A touch of brass/mustard yellow adds a subtle contrast.
Decorate With Mirrors
Rustic White Photography
Finding the right balance between accessories and minimalism is crucial in a small apartment. Too many accessories can make the space feel cluttered, while too few can leave it feeling sparse. Choose accent pieces that create the illusion of more space. Incorporating taller, oversized art pieces can elongate walls and make the room appear larger. Mirrors are also a great way to create the illusion of space and reflect light. Position them opposite a window to maximize the effect.
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Think Vertical With Kitchen Organization
@apartmenttherapy We’re all about @karisdanish’s vertical storage in this #KitchenTour ✨ #kitchenhacks #kitchenorganization #storagehacks #nycapartment #studioapartment ♬ Countless – Official Sound Studio
Maximize kitchen storage in your studio apartment by utilizing vertical space. Hang wooden utensils on decorative hooks, suspend small pots from a pegboard, or place containers of dry goods on floating shelves. This not only adds functionality but also turns everyday items into part of your kitchen's decor while maximizing vertical space.
Use Cube Storage for Shelving or Tables
@its_mjaayy I do not like open shelving so I ordered some cube storage bins to put on the shelf. #homedecor #apartmentdecorideas #kallax #storagecubes #cubeshelves #apartmentdecorinspo ♬ Wasn't Good Enough – Nashawn Raines
Wooden crates are a cost-effective way to add style and functionality to your studio apartment design. You can stack them at the end of your bed to serve as a room divider and provide additional storage space. They can also be used as nightstands, end tables, coffee tables, and bookshelves. Alternatively, you can achieve the same effect with textured baskets or colorful fabric cubes, depending on your personal style.
Solidify Your Storage Solutions
South Beach Office (Left) & St. Petersburg Residence (Right), Photography by Kris Tamburello
When decorating a studio, prioritize storage solutions. By creating an organization plan and assigning designated spaces for everything, you can bring in other decorative items without overwhelming the space.
South Beach Residence, Photography by Kris Tamburello
"Thoughtfully-designed storage can improve the shape and function of our interior spaces, especially in small spaces that can easily look cluttered," explains Eilyn Jimenez, founder and creative director of Sire Design. Utilizing built-in storage is an effective way to save space and avoid visual clutter caused by excessive furniture in a small area.
Utilize Multi-Purpose Furniture
Photo via @designreader
You can save space and maintain organization by using multi-purpose furniture in your studio apartment. Consider options such as hidden storage ottomans, bookcase room dividers, lift-top coffee tables, storage headboards, and daybeds that double as sofas. You can also use decorative pieces that provide storage, like vintage trunks or decorative blanket ladders. Using these items is a simple and effective way to reduce clutter and maximize space in your studio apartment.
Space-Saving Ideas for a Studio Apartment
It's essential to utilize all available space when living in a studio apartment. This often means thinking vertically. As mentioned before, loft ideas can create a separate sleeping area while opening up floor space. Additionally, multifunctional furniture is a clever way to save space.
Another effective method is using curtains or sliding doors instead of traditional doors, as they require less space to open. Don't overlook unused spaces such as the areas above and behind doors.
Styling: Copparstad & photo: Boukari
In the example above, wall shelves go all the way up to the ceiling, maximizing storage space. Additionally, the shelves serve as a workspace, adding functionality.
A curtain easily hides the storage space on this wall, creating a cleaner look.
Photo: Jonas Gustavsson
A bed with storage underneath is ideal for adding storage space and creating a divide between the bedroom and living area.
The advantage of a storage bed, like the one above, is the way it opens. Unlike beds with storage drawers, this option doesn't require much space around the bed to open, making it perfect for storing seasonal clothing and items that aren't frequently used.
Utilize the space above doors, typically overlooked, by adding shelves for additional storage.
To sum up, here are the key takeaways on how to design a studio apartment:
- Consider what's most important to you and prioritize your main function.
- Analyze the layout of your space, identifying nooks and areas for different zones. Take into account natural light sources.
- Choose multifunctional furniture to maximize space.
- Select a color scheme that appeals to you and don't be afraid to use bold colors in your studio.
- Make use of vertical space by utilizing shelves, wall storage, and loft ideas.
- Remember, living in a small space doesn't mean sacrificing style.
Raise Your Bed
To maximize space in your studio apartment, be creative with your bed's placement. Lofting your bed on risers allows you to utilize the space underneath for storage or create a cozy reading nook. If you have high ceilings, consider using a hanging bed to free up even more floor space. You can then use the area below as a flexible space for a home office, workout area, or dining room. Just make sure you have the proper bracing to support the weight of your bed.
Choose Low Furniture
Photo via @homeasy.loft
If you have low ceilings in your apartment, you can make them appear higher and create a larger overall space by opting for low chairs, tables, and other furniture pieces. Furnishing your studio apartment with these items will create the illusion of more space. Just make sure that the heights of your furniture are cohesive, especially when it comes to matching sets like couches and coffee tables.
Invest in a Murphy Bed
Murphy beds are excellent options for saving space in studio apartments. With the ability to fold up your bed into a storage closet, you can easily transform your living space from daytime to nighttime. If you prefer not to buy a wall bed, you always have the option to build your own Murphy bed!
Choose a Low Bed
Low platform beds not only save space but also create the illusion of more height in your studio. For a serene and cozy vibe, you can even skip the bed frame entirely and place your mattress directly on the ground.
Anchoring Your Bed
Courtesy of Kyle Schuneman
"Don't just place your bed in the middle of the room," advises interior designer Kyle Schuneman. "You can create visual separation by setting up a bed nook with cabinets, wallpaper, and a sconce, giving it the feel of a separate room."
Another classic trick is to use a bookcase or folding screen to separate your bed from the rest of the room.
Choose Furniture in the Right Scale
Melanie Johnson Photography
"The biggest mistake I see in studio apartments or small spaces is homeowners using the wrong scale of furniture," says interior designer Abbe Fenimore. "Using furniture that is either too small or too large can make a room appear smaller than it actually is." For small spaces, consider furniture pieces that offer extra storage or can fold to become more compact. The Essential Loveseat by Sabai, for example, is an ideal couch for small spaces. Also, avoid crowding the space with excessive furniture.
With the growing popularity of small space living, there are now a wide variety of furniture pieces available that can perform double duty, offering extra storage or folding to become more compact. "Murphy beds are always a good option, as well as ottomans that open for storage. Sofabeds are great too—I slept on one from Avery Boardman for years!" says interior designer Brett Beldock. "IKEA has terrific storage units and movable closets that can divide a room."
Create Separate Zones
Courtesy of Heather Hilliard
In a studio apartment, you might be tempted to treat it as one open room. However, using room dividers or rugs to delineate spaces can help you avoid eating on your bed.
"Consider how you use the space and layout the furniture accordingly, defining zones for entertaining, sleeping, and working from home," suggests interior designer Heather Hilliard.
You can even tuck one or two ottomans under a console table to pull out into the space when you need extra seating for guests. Include furniture pieces that can serve multiple functions, such as a desk that can also function as a dining table. With the right layout, you can maximize utility in a small space.
Avoid Accent Walls
Courtesy of Wendy Labrum
To create a cohesive and unbroken flow, consider painting the walls of your studio apartment one unified color or using the same wallpaper design. "I tend to paint small spaces all one color, so it doesn't interrupt the flow," advises Fenimore.
While accent walls are not out of the question, they are better suited for larger spaces, behind beds, or in an entryway. In a studio apartment, it's best to keep everything clean and basic, which allows for easier incorporation of color and texture into each individual area.
If you want to add something eye-catching to a wall, consider using art. "Instead of accent walls, I prefer gallery walls with a mix of framed artwork or prints to add personality and interest," says interior designer Wendy Labrum.
Don't Be Afraid of Pattern
Courtesy of Young Huh
You can experiment with different colors and patterns in a small space to enhance the room.
"Consider using dramatic patterned wallpaper to create interest and depth in the design. This can make your apartment feel much larger," suggests interior designer Young Huh.
Use a Bar Cart
Save counter and cabinet space in your studio apartment by using a bar cart! These mini bar stations are perfect for storing and displaying glassware, decanters, and liquors. They're also great for entertaining guests in your apartment. You can even repurpose a bar cart into a mini coffee station or use it as a rolling house plant care station for repotting supplies and other related items.
Display Your Clothes
You don't need a traditional closet in your studio apartment to find storage for your clothes. Hang coats, bags, and purses on hooks or use a rolling garment rack as a portable closet. You can even suspend a clothing rack from the ceiling to create a makeshift curtain for your bedroom area. How you organize your clothes is also an important consideration. Try arranging them by color, length, or fabric to achieve different looks.
A studio apartment needs to serve multiple purposes, but not all at the same time. Look for pieces of furniture that can fold away when not in use, such as Murphy beds and drop-leaf tables. Alternatively, you can go all out and make everything hidden.
Photo: Bertrand Fompeyrine
Blur the Lines Between Indoor and Outdoor Spaces
For studio apartments with private outdoor spaces like a balcony or backyard, take advantage of these areas. Jared Bradley, AIA NCARB, president and founder of The Bradley Projects, suggests incorporating nature into your living spaces. "Create moments of transparency from the inside to outside, drawing in nature," he says. "Allowing continuous views through a space to the outdoors provides continuity and a connection to the earth, serving as a peaceful reminder that beauty surrounds us."
One way to prevent a studio from feeling cramped is by dealing with clutter. This includes both physical clutter like piles of mail or stacks of magazines, as well as visual clutter like too many appliances on the kitchen counter or chairs crammed around the table.
Even though your living room may also be your bedroom, you can create a sense of separation by using rugs or arranging the furniture to divide the space.
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Create a Walk-in Closet (Yes, Really)
If you think your storage options are limited to plastic bins underneath your bed, think again. Even a studio apartment can have a slim walk-in closet.
Photo: Claire Esparros
Use Plants as Decor
Enhance the design of your studio apartment and improve its air quality by adding some houseplants! Hang greenery from the ceiling to add depth to your interior design. Create an indoor urban garden on your kitchen counter or shelves in your dining area. You can even use large indoor plants like fiddle-leaf figs as room dividers!
If you're downsizing or moving into a studio apartment, take advantage of the various storage unit features and amenities offered by Extra Space Storage! With affordable rates and conveniently located self storage facilities across the U.S., we can assist you with your transition. Find a storage rental near you!
How to Divide a Studio Apartment
To create distinct areas in your small studio apartment, it's best to establish separate zones for living/dining and sleeping. This will give the impression of a one-bedroom apartment.
There are various ways to divide the space in your studio apartment. You can use dividing bookshelves, loft beds, or get creative with color and textiles. Take a look below for ideas on how to divide a studio apartment.
Divide a Studio with Bookshelves
A tall IKEA Billy bookshelf can create a cozy bedroom nook (photo: Bjurfors)
By placing a bookcase behind the bed, you can create a separate bedroom area. Style the bookcase with plants, books, and unique items to make it a statement piece (photo: Mikkel Dahlstrøm)
photo: York AvenueThe IKEA Kallax bookcase is often used for dividing spaces. It works well because it provides storage spaces and its open cubicles allow natural light to pass through, making the space feel less cramped.
photo: IKEAA small open bookcase is sufficient to create a separate bedroom zone (photo: Lindsay Brown)design: Sandy WenThe example above showcases impressive DIY work. A studio apartment now resembles a one-bedroom apartment thanks to the plywood bookshelf. The openings ensure no natural light is lost, and the underneath cabinets provide much-needed storage space in a small home.
An open shelving system behind the bed creates a more private sleeping area (photo: IKEA)
Divide a Studio with Rugs
You can use rugs to create separate zones, particularly in the sitting area of a studio. Rugs not only serve as dividers but also add warmth and texture to the space.
photo: Jacqueline Clair
Colorful rugs not only bring vibrancy to this studio apartment but also divide the space into living and bedroom areas.
styling: Emma Fischer & photo: Jonas Berg
The rug in the image above defines the sitting area and adds color to an otherwise neutral studio.
The large striped (IKEA) rug defines the sitting area in the studio. (photo: Bjurfors)photo: Stadshem
Not only does the rug help in dividing the studio, but the artwork above also contributes. By placing artwork only above the sofa and keeping the bedroom area free of wall art, different zones are created.
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The rug in this space by Amelia Widell creates a cozy sitting nook (photo: Andrea Papini)
Divide a Studio with (Movable) Screens
Screens are an excellent option for a studio apartment due to their flexibility. You can move them to any area you need to block from view. Screens can also serve as hanging space for clothes or other items.
photo: Entrance Makleri
Screens allow you to adjust the level of privacy according to your needs. If you haven't made your bed or want an open space, simply pull the screen close and put it away.
A DIY folding screen created with IKEA Ivar by Pella Hedeby offers a natural look for your studio (tutorial here)
Divide a Studio with a Loft Bed
If you don't mind climbing up to bed and are not worried about falling out, a loft bed can be a great choice for creating a separate sleeping area in your studio apartment. It saves space and keeps the bedroom area out of sight.
A warm brown/red studio apartment by IKEA with a loft bed and a cozy seating space underneath. The textures, warm colors, and decor create a super hygge room.
A pink studio apartment with a loft bed and a walk-in closet underneath!
The dark studio with a loft bed belongs to interior stylist and photographer Henrik Nerophoto: Ragnar Omarsson
If going too high is not your preference, you can opt for a middle-height loft bed. This small studio, created by Pella Hedeby for IKEA, features a middle-high loft bed with storage underneath.
photo: Fantastic Frank
For the DIY enthusiasts, the above image presents a loft bed, sofa, and shelving system in one. It is also equipped with wheels for added flexibility.
IKEA excels in small space design. This IKEA studio apartment features a loft bed that creates a cozy sitting nook, complete with a large bookcase for extra storage.
The loft bed in this Scandinavian studio apartment ensures there is enough space for a large work area. The curved loft bed adds a nice design touch.
The nook in this home is used to create a loft bedroom with a closet space underneathScandinavian minimalism with a loft bed above the kitchen and a small dining space. The loft stairs also serve as storage.
See also: small bedroom decorating ideas
Divide a Studio Apartment with Curtains
Using curtains to divide your studio apartment allows you to conceal specific aspects of the space. Curtains can create a separate bedroom area or hide cluttered shelves. Additionally, adding texture through curtains contributes warmth to the overall ambiance.
photo: Fantastic Frankphoto: Ellie Koleen
The bedroom area in the above studio has been raised, and a curtain can be closed to create more privacy.
photo: Genevieve Garruppo
This studio apartment employs multiple dividing options, including a large rug in the sitting area, a curtain around the bed, and a bookcase to create a separate work area.
A curtain behind the sofa creates a separate bedroom area (photo: Benjamin Edwards)Sheer curtains can also create the illusion of a separate bedroom area, providing just enough privacy without sacrificing natural light.
Divide a Studio with a (Glass) Wall
IKEA Ivar cabinets with an industrial glass wall above are used to separate the bedroom area from the living area.
A narrow glass wall creates a division between the sleeping and living areas. Glass walls allow natural light to pass through, particularly useful when light is limited to one side.
You can add a half-high wall to create some privacy for your bedroom area without making the room feel cramped or dark. The wall can also be used to display art or hang a television.
Divide a Studio with a Canopy Bed
A canopy bed creates a separate zone for your bed and offers the option to hang curtains for added privacy or to showcase clothes or hanging plants.
A beautiful example of a canopy bed in the home of Chelsae Anne
Divide a Studio with Clever Furniture Placement
Strategic furniture placement is an effective method of creating zones in a studio. For example, by placing your sofa at the foot of your bed, you can avoid constantly having your bed in view. Adding a screen can further hide the bed.
An industrial studio apartment is divided by angling the sofa towards the bed. A warm rug helps separate the studio into a living and sleeping area.
IKEA is renowned for small space design. In the attic studio shown above, a desk is placed behind the sofa (bed).
A small low bookcase behind the bed effectively separates it from the living area.photo: Melanie Rieders
A vintage L-shaped Arne Vodder desk creates a divide between the living and sleeping areas.
A vintage sofa placed at the foot of the bed creates a separate living area. Placing it at an angle can be useful in narrow studios.
photo: Anna Spaller
Placing the sofa in the middle of the studio creates a dynamic division between the living and sleeping areas.
Divide a Studio by Using Nooks
If you're fortunate enough to have a nook in your studio apartment, you can utilize it to create separate zones. Often, the nook is used for placing the bed, but it can also serve as a home office for individuals who work from home frequently. For small home office ideas, including utilizing closets or nooks, refer to this blog post.
In the above home, the large nook is suitable for a double bed, which can be closed off with a curtain. The nook doesn't have to be exclusively used for a bed; for instance, if you share your studio with someone and work or study from home, the nook can be transformed into a closed-off workspace. Alternatively, you can dedicate the space to crafts or other activities that you prefer to keep out of sight.
A nook just large enough for a bed made from IKEA Malm dressers offers essential storage space in a studio apartment.
If your studio lacks a designated nook, you can create one by adding a closet wall. By closing the doors during the day and opening them at night, you can conveniently transform your space into a bedroom.
A bedroom nook painted in a dark color under a slanted ceiling can be closed off with a curtain.
Divide a Studio Apartment by Using Different Paint Colors
Another way to create separate zones is by utilizing different paint colors. By painting one area with a different hue, you can create the illusion of distinct zones. If you prefer a calm look for your studio, you can choose two colors from the same palette.
In conclusion, decorating a studio apartment may seem like a daunting task, but with these helpful tips, you can transform your small space into a stylish and functional oasis. By creating distinct "rooms" and defining your palette, you can give the illusion of separate living areas while maintaining cohesion throughout. Utilizing multi-purpose furniture and clever storage solutions will maximize space and eliminate clutter. Don't be afraid to think outside the box and blur the lines between indoor and outdoor spaces. And remember, adding personal touches such as plants and displaying your clothes can add a touch of personality to your studio. So go ahead and embrace the challenge of decorating your studio apartment, and make it a place that truly feels like home.
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