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Living in a Studio Apartment with a Roommate

Can two people live in a studio apartment? Even with the challenges of space and privacy, there are ways two people can live in a studio apartment comfortably! Whether you’re sharing a small studio apartment with a friend, a romantic partner, or a total stranger, here are some tips for living with a roommate in a studio.

Communicate Boundaries

Cleaned Up Studio Apartment Living Space. Photo by Instagram user @hunkerhome

Photo via @hunkerhome

Establishing boundaries is an important first step when living with a roommate—that goes for any living space, regardless of size. You need to respect each other’s lifestyles, habits, and privacy in order to live comfortably with one another. To maintain a good relationship with your roommate, communicate expectations early and often regarding cleanliness, quiet time, guests, bills, and more. And try to compromise when possible!

Get Used to Being Close

Small Studio Apartment with Dining Area. Photo by Instagram user @floandsyd

Photo via @floandsyd

Living in a small studio apartment means you’ll be living in close quarters, no matter how many privacy measures you add. When you’re both at home, try giving each other as much space as possible. When you can, go for a walk, hit the grocery store, or meet a friend outside the apartment to allow your roommate to have some alone time. You can even compare schedules to make sure you give each other time to themselves!

Have a Plan for Overnight Guests

Overnight guests may seem nearly impossible to accommodate in a shared studio apartment. However, with some maneuvering, hosting guests can be done! If you plan to have people over somewhat frequently, consider getting an air mattress or investing in a futon and set aside some space in your studio apartment layout. Just be sure to let your roommate know ahead of time so they can plan accordingly!

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Invest in a Good Pair of Headphones

Bose Headphones On a Computer. Photo by Instagram user @bose

Photo via @bose

Being mindful of your roommate’s space may mean watching shows or movies, listening to music, or taking phone calls with headphones. Additionally, headphones can muffle late-night noises while you’re trying to sleep. Earplugs, eye masks, fans, and white noise machines are other excellent items to have on hand if your apartment roommate decides to stay up late.

Make a List of Your Items

Studio Apartment Sleeping and Living Separated by a Bookcase. Photo by Instagram user @littlecrafthse

Photo via @littlecrafthse

Before you move in, write down a list of what furniture items each person will bring and draw up a floor plan. Use the furniture that works best in your apartment and measure everything out to ensure it fits in the space. Sell or store any items that can’t be used in your studio apartment. Additionally, when moving in together, be sure to record both small and big items that belong to you. That way, when you both move out, these items can easily be divided between you and your roommate.

Use Space-Saving Furniture

Space-saving furniture and home decor with hidden storage can create more room in your small studio apartment and reduce visual clutter. With furniture like pull-out desks, stackable chairs, storage ottomans, and Murphy beds, you can maximize space in your studio apartment and make living with a roommate easier.

Create Privacy with Room Dividers

Need to create some separation and privacy in your studio apartment? Room dividers are a great option! You could divide a living room from a sleeping area with a curtain, use bookshelves to create two bedroom areas, or use a foldable room divider to section off areas of the apartment. Large potted plants, hanging tapestries, and wooden panel dividers can also be used as room partitions!

Take Advantage of Vertical Space

If your studio apartment has tall ceilings, creating some levels will your bedroom setup can dramatically change your available space. With platform beds, bunk beds, and lofted beds, you can better utilize vertical space and make more room for both sleeping and storing items in your shared studio apartment.

Combine Interior Design Tastes

Deciding on studio apartment design and shopping for studio apartment furniture is a good way for you and your roommate to bond. Pick out everything from pillows and curtains to area rugs and kitchen tables together to incorporate a cohesive design that you both love! You might also consider adopting more neutral colors with furniture and wall paint so that your design tastes won’t clash when you mix them together.

Set Up a Vanity Outside the Bathroom

Small Vanity Setup in a Corner. Photo by Instagram user @dalyorla_x

Photo via @dalyorla_x

Living in a studio apartment with another person means sharing one bathroom, which can make getting ready in the morning more difficult. One way you can avoid this issue is by building a separate vanity outside of your shared bathroom. With a few floating shelves, storage boxes or baskets, and a mirror, you can create your own personal vanity and free up bathroom space!

Share Available Storage

Storage Area Created by a Pegboard. Photo by Instagram user @pinpegandhome

Photo via @pinpegandhome

Get creative when it comes to sharing studio apartment storage. Along with sharing existing spaces like closets, pantries, and drawers, you can add more options like hanging storage on walls and doors. Install mason jar holders in the bathroom or kitchen for small items, or hang overhead storage cabinets and shelves above sleeping areas. You could also create a pegboard wall to keep other knick-knacks out of your drawers and off your counters to provide even more storage for you and your roommate!

Come Up with a Cleaning Plan

Small spaces make even little messes seem colossal. Be sure to evenly distribute cleaning tasks by coming up with a cleaning schedule for you and your roommate. Try placing a printed chore list on your refrigerator. Split the cost of cleaning supplies and keep them in a handy tote under the kitchen sink or in a bathroom closet. Dividing up cleaning chores in a small apartment will make the work lighter and faster, too!

Organize the Entryway Space

Small Shelf Area in a Studio Apartment. Photo by Instagram user @medallion_corp

Photo via @medallion_corp

It’s easy to toss your things into a pile on the floor when you get home, but living in smaller spaces with other people means being more aware of your belongings and how much space they take up. Avoid the clutter by organizing a drop zone near the front door of your studio apartment, where you can hang coats and bags and set down the mail, keys, umbrellas, and other personal belongings.

Pick Up a Little Each Day

Modern Kitchen Space in a Studio Apartment. Photo by Instagram user @ausnuance

Photo via @ausnuance

Small spaces are prone to clutter. Keep surfaces clear and items organized by taking a few minutes each day to pick up. Doing a quick sweep through communal spaces like the kitchen and living room will help keep those areas clean.

Get Outside for Fresh Air

Even if you’ve set up a wonderful shared apartment and have a great roommate, it’s a good idea to get some time away from your studio every now and then! Go for a walk in your neighborhood or bring a book to a nearby park. Hang out at local bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops. Try working remotely for a few days at the library. Whatever you can to do to get some space will be beneficial for your roommate relationship!

Frequently Asked Questions About Studio Apartment Living

Can you have a roommate in a studio apartment?

In most cases, you can have a roommate in a studio apartment. Most occupancy standards state that two people per bedroom is acceptable, and a studio apartment is considered to be a self-contained unit with a bedroom. However, you will need to check with your apartment landlord or rental management company on their occupancy policies before moving into a studio apartment with a roommate.

How can you maximize space in a studio apartment?

You can maximize space in a studio apartment by purchasing space-saving furniture that can be used for multiple purposes and/or provide hidden storage spaces. This allows you to keep your studio apartment more organized and free of clutter.

What’s the occupancy limit for studio apartments?

The occupancy limit for studio apartments depends on local, state, and federal laws, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Fair Housing Act. The “Keating Memo” deems that “two people per bedroom” is where occupancy standards should start, with some exceptions and family protection. HUD regulations for apartment occupancy are currently not standard across all states.


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What to Consider When Looking for a Roommate (Infographic)