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inside a studio apartment with a bed and small office desk

How to Design a Studio Apartment

Looking for tips on how to design a studio apartment? With a few creative apartment layout ideas and space-saving design concepts, you can make your small living space more attractive and functional! Check out our list of studio apartment decorating tips, setup ideas, and organizational hacks to embrace small apartment living!

Have a Plan for Paint Colors

bedroom with light color paints and light bedding photo by Instagram user @brookandpeony

Photo via @brookandpeony

If you’re able to paint your studio apartment, choose colors that will make the space feel like your own! Soft colors like white, light gray, or beige reflect more light and make your studio apartment feel larger—while darker colors can emphasize the apartment’s cozy qualities. Prefer a more colorful look? Play around with your studio apartment’s design until you find a palette that suits your style!

Opt for Strategic Interior Design Styles

a room with high ceilings and white walls, it has a minimalist design and plants hanging from the ceiling

Photo via @hunkerhome

Certain interior design styles lend themselves especially well to small spaces, so consider ways to make your space your own while also maximizing its potential! Minimalism is one great option, as it’s intended to emphasize function and create clean lines. This makes minimalist studio apartment design a popular choice. Another option is the Japandi home style, which uses similar principles but with a slightly cozier look and feel. Or employ feng shui to bring harmony and purpose to your space! Researching different home styles may help you find one that suits your space and your personal aesthetic.

Design an Accent Wall

Accent walls are a fantastic way to add personality when decorating a studio apartment. While lighter tones create a sense of space, adding patterns or pops of color to an accent wall can help set a certain area apart—even in a single-room home. Consider putting an accent wall behind your bed, in the dining area, or in the living room as a space-saving focal point. If your landlord doesn’t allow painting, you can use stick-on contact paper or temporary wallpaper.

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Go Big with Artwork

big pieces of art on small apartment wall photo by Instagram user @melodyinblue

Photo via @melodyinblue

Including large pieces of artwork among your studio apartment decor is a simple way to add color to your walls and make your space stand out. Exceptionally large art pieces can also be propped against the wall on the floor for a chic, modern look—this route is also renter friendly since it doesn’t damage the walls! Or to spruce up your space and hide clutter all at once, try hanging pieces from the front of shelves you don’t use often. If you do this, go for pieces that are easy to lift, so you can take them on and off the shelf as needed.

Add Bold Accent Pieces

Decorating a studio apartment with strong accent pieces like multi-colored ottomans, vibrant area rugs, or bright throw pillows is an easy way to liven up a small space. Using colorful throws or curtains is another way to experiment with color that doesn’t require a lot of space. DIY plain furniture to be more bright and bold with contact paper. Give the inside of an old bookshelf a unique look with patterned or metallic contact paper. Reupholster your couches and chairs. Or paint metal storage racks to give them new life!

Open Up the Room with Mirrors

Since mirrors reflect light and add a sense of depth, they can make your space look and feel larger—and are an easy studio apartment decor idea! Create a gallery wall of small and medium-sized mirrors interspersed with sentimental photos. Add one large floor mirror in a strategic spot by a window to open up your small apartment. Your choice of mirror can also make a big impact on your room’s overall feel, so consider the size, shape, and frame of your mirror and how it works with the rest of your space!

Absorb Sound with Soft Furnishings

small handmade tapestries hanging on apartment wall photo by Instagram user @graphicolier

Photo via @graphicolier

Create more privacy for yourself or muffle sound from your neighbors using soft furnishings on your walls and floors. Thick rugs, curtains, and tapestries can help dampen noise levels for more private and quiet apartment living. Adding these elements is also a great way to decorate your studio apartment and ensure your home has a cozy feel!

Utilize Multi-Purpose Furniture

bookshelf used as room separator between bed and living room photo by Instagram user @designreader

Photo via @designreader

You can save space in a studio apartment and help keep it organized by utilizing multi-purpose furniture—like hidden storage ottomans, bookcase room dividers, lift-top coffee tables, storage headboards, and daybeds that double as sofas. Certain decor pieces can also function as storage, like vintage trunks or decorative blanket ladders! Furnishing your studio apartment with these items is a simple and effective way to reduce clutter!

Raise Your Bed

loft bed suspended from the ceiling with steps up to it photo by Instagram user @designwanted

Photo via @designwanted

Want to know how to maximize space in your studio apartment? Get creative with your bed’s placement! Loft your bed on risers and take advantage of the space beneath it for under-the-bed storage or a cozy reading nook. Or, if you have high ceilings, create even more room in your studio apartment’s layout by suspending your bed from the ceiling. Use the area below as a flex space for a home office, small workout area, or dining room. Just be sure you have the proper bracing to support the weight of your bed!

Invest in a Murphy Bed

a colorful bedroom with a light wood murphy bed unfolded and the bed made with a pink comforter and yellow pillows

Photo via @home_ec_op

Murphy beds are one of the best space-saving furniture options for studio apartments. With the ability to fold your bed up into a storage closet, you can easily transform your apartment living space between daytime and night. If you don’t want to buy a wall bed, you can always make your own Murphy bed!

Opt for Low Furniture

full length room divider set up next to bed in between bedroom and living room photo by Instagram user @homeasy.loft

Photo via @homeasy.loft

Have low ceilings in your apartment? Make them appear higher and your space feel larger overall by selecting low chairs, tables, and other furniture pieces. Furnishing your studio apartment with these items will help create the illusion of space. Just make sure that your furniture heights are cohesive—especially with matching sets like couches and coffee tables.

Use Cube Storage for Shelving or Tables

Wooden crates are an affordable way to add style and function to your studio apartment design. Stack a few at the end of your bed as a room divider and additional storage space, or use them in place of nightstands, end tables, coffee tables, and bookshelves! You can also get the same effect with textured baskets or colorful fabric cubes, if those items better suit your style.

Put Your Clothes on Display

You don’t need a closet in your studio apartment’s floor plan to find storage for your clothes. Hang coats, bags, and purses on hooks, or utilize a rolling garment rack as a portable closet. Suspend a clothing rack from the ceiling to create a makeshift curtain for your bedroom area. The way you organize your clothes is another key thing to consider when putting them on display. Try arranging pieces by color, length, or fabric to achieve different looks.

Create Distinct “Rooms”

full length white curtain separating bed from living room in small apartment photo by Instagram user @stephomenai

Photo via @stephomenai

Make different zones in your small apartment by using curtains, pallet walls, or bookshelves! This provides an opportunity to make different areas of your living space feel like true rooms, even without walls. If you use shelving to accomplish this, consider open shelves to allow light to flow through the space, which will keep your studio apartment’s layout from feeling cramped. Screen dividers are another way to separate your space and can also make great decor pieces as they come in a variety of colors and patterns!

Think Vertical with Kitchen Organization

Create more kitchen storage in your studio apartment by using vertical space! Displaying wooden utensils on a decorative hook, hanging small pots from a pegboard, or placing containers full of dry goods on small floating shelves allows you to turn everyday items into part of your kitchen’s decor, all while maximizing vertical space.

Use a Bar Cart

a gold bar cart sitting in the corner with wine bottles and a cocktail shaker on the top rack and a vase with flowers and more bottles on the bottom rack

Photo via @ltk.home

Save counter and cabinet space in your studio apartment with a bar cart! These miniature bar stations are great for storing and displaying glassware, decanters, and liquors—and are useful for entertaining guests in your apartment. Turn a bar cart into a mini coffee station. Or get creative and use your bar cart as a rolling house plant care station for repotting supplies and other similar items.

Add Plants as Decor

Liven up your studio apartment’s design and improve the air quality of your space by adding some houseplants! Hang greenery from the ceiling to create depth in your interior design. Create an indoor urban garden on your kitchen counter or shelves in your dining area. Or use large indoor plants like fiddle-leaf figs as room dividers!

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How to Design a Studio Apartment