Our Best Space-Saving Tips for Studio Apartments


Our Best Space-Saving Tips for Studio Apartments

Lisa Wright · Oct 26, 2021
Interior of modern studio apartment

Feeling cramped, cluttered, and claustrophobic in your studio apartment? We’ve all been there, attempting to feel “at home” in small spaces where there’s just no room to spread out.

While studio apartments can sometimes spark flashbacks of dorm room living, they can still be both stylish and functional in their own right. The key is knowing the layout, and how it can be best utilized for your key belongings and day-to-day-actvities.

Below are some of our best tips to make your studio feel homey without cramping your style:

Marie Kondo is On to Something

Unfortunately, living in a studio apartment means that you’ll most likely have to pare down your belongings a bit. While this doesn’t necessarily mean getting rid of things, it does mean finding a place for them that’s not exactly in your apartment. Storage costs extra money, but if you aren’t quite willing to part with some things, it may be worth investing in an off-site unit in your area.

The first step is to reevaluate items such as furniture, clothing, kitchen items, and decor that’s past its prime (and may not have a place in your new space). Try to hang onto things that have practical uses. For example, ditch one-use appliances and opt for multi-use, like this Instant Pot 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker.

Get Creative with Color and Design

This may seem like a tall order, especially if you aren’t allowed to paint or redecorate your space. But even with white walls, there are plenty of ways to get creative and give your studio the illusion of space. For those who can paint, opt for neutral, complementary colors that tend to trick the eye – a long-used designer’s trick for creating the look of spatial progression. Stuck with white? Use accent pieces and accessories in muted colors that can work in the same way, like this runner rug from Crate & Barrel. By contrast, over-saturating with colors that are too bright can have the opposite effect, making the room feel smaller and more cramped.

Furniture Feng-Shui

When living in a small studio apartment, furniture placement really matters. After all, who wants to have to climb over things just to get to the kitchen for a cup of coffee? The ideal layout for a studio space is an open plan. Chances are you won’t really have a choice in this matter, as studios tend to be open plan anyways. This can make furniture placement anywhere from slightly tricky to something like playing a real-life game of Tetris with your belongings. Whatever the case with your particular apartment, they key is to create your own flow with your pieces. Is the bedroom/living area right next to the kitchen? No problem! Use the existing walls and windows to place the bed/futon in a corner, creating a distinct area. The aforementioned muted color scheme works well here, too – especially when accessorizing with items like this pillow and duvet set from Wayfair.

Separation Game

Luxurious bedroom area in a cozy studio apartment

Have a mind to separate the spaces a bit without further cramping or cluttering the area, or losing any available natural light? A large, narrow shelf may do the trick, as it can also double as storage. However, if you’re worried about losing natural light, a see-through partition may be more your speed. Plexiglass dividers work well here as they can separate spaces without causing a cramped or uncomfortable feel. Folding room dividers like this one from Wayfair are attractive and functional, and perfect for letting the light shine in. Want a more budget-friendly option? This multi-use shelving unit from IKEA is a great choice for those looking for a little break in the room without sacrificing light or valuable real estate.

Another way to get creative by adding another level of space is to get elevated. Have high ceilings? Consider really maximizing your space with a platform bedroom. This is a great way to create distinct spaces between a bedroom and living area while also creating additional storage options. Not everyone has the luxury (or space) to create this set-up, but if you do, this bedroom niche idea is both stylish and functional. This West Elm loft bed is perfect for those who want to get elevated with their space and storage.

Multipurpose Furniture for the Win

Perhaps one of the most important tips for living comfortably in a studio apartment is to choose multipurpose furniture items wherever you can (preferably those that also double as storage). For example, this lift-top coffee table from Costway does it all: storage, style, and it even doubles as a workspace or elevated table for placing drinks or snacks when entertaining. We also love this ottoman from Wayfair which can act as seating, a footrest, and storage. Talk about a multipurpose champ! Feel free to get creative here, as there are a ton of available options for multi-use furniture out there, and they’re all ready to make themselves well at home in your space.

Helpful Studio Decor Tips

Space-saving cookware arrangement makes great use of untapped wall space.

Now that you’ve mastered the layout and furniture sitch, it’s time to think about decor and how it can also do double-duty, adding style while simultaneously saving you space.

  • Cookware can be decor, too. Kitchens can get cluttered fast, especially on the countertops. Why not use that lovely Le Creuset Dutch oven as an accent piece for your space? With so many colors to choose from, this kitchen winner is an investment in both style and function.
  • Mirror, mirror on the wall…One of the most popular design hacks for adding the illusion of space is to get creative with mirrors, as they’re perfect for making any room look more open and bright. This wall mirror from Pottery Barn is great as it doesn’t take up valuable floor space.
  • Use those four walls! Floor space is at a premium in a studio apartment, so be sure to use every wall in there to your advantage; whether it’s for added shelving or storage, or just as a place for art and decor. Floating shelves are always a good idea, and we especially love this one from World Market. After all, why shouldn’t storage look great, too?

Living in a studio apartment may mean having to sacrifice space, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice style. By getting creative with layout, furniture, and storage options, you can put together a studio space that’s both chic and functional. Forget those dorm rooms of yore, and aim for an open-plan, design-forward space that’s cozy, not cluttered, and homey, not claustrophobic. With studio apartments, a little always goes a long way.

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