Yes, It's Possible to Live Well in a Studio Apartment—Here's How
Chic is not exactly the first word that comes to mind when we think of studio apartments. But if you're moving into your first apartment, or simply living in a city with astronomical rent prices (hello, San Francisco and New York!), sometimes an open-plan space is your best option (goodbye, nosy roommates). Prior to moving, you might have night terrors of feeling cramped, cluttered, and generally claustrophobic, but we promise it doesn't have to be the case. Well-designed studios actually offer plenty of possibilities.
In a nutshell, you should start by editing your possessions to a bare minimum—keeping only those you love. You should also base your furniture selection on pieces that can perform multiple functions, and concentrate on a single aesthetic that speaks to your tastes. Ready to brave the scary world of micro living? Find out how to achieve it in high style.
Many up-and-coming NYC-based interior designers start out in a studio—giving us plenty of inspiration. This is the case for Lauren McGrath who co-owns the design firm McGrath II with her mother. A thoughtful plan and smart furniture choices make this studio feel like a fully customized abode. Freestanding shelves flanking a daybed create a built-in look, while sconces hung on the bookcase’s sides provide reading light at night. An overall palette of soothing white punctuated by concentrated color brightens and enlarges the small space.
At first sight, this Swedish studio apartment appears to be quite spacious, when it it in fact it's barely 250 square feet. The trick? The entrance, kitchen, and bedroom are all painted in different but complementary colors, creating a visual progression of space. The sole pop of color is in the back living space—everything else is kept completely neutral.
In this open studio space, the resident opted to take advantage of a perfectly sized nook to place a sleek daybed, with extra storage. A curtain separating the sleeping and living areas allows the alcove to be closed off when entertaining.
A smart glass wall in this petite pad separates the bedroom area from the main dining and living spaces but still allows natural light to permeate through. The twin bed is surrounded with built-in storage, so everything else can be kept light and bright. If there is a right way to do a studio apartment, this is it!
In seriously cramped living quarters, you have to get creative. Though this bed is seriously close to the kitchen sink, the unified color scheme feels clean and spacious. We often advise not to push furniture against walls or windows, but this is the perfect case for breaking the rules.
In this little Manhattan pad, the designer used tension rods to separate the bed from the rest of the apartment. In a rental, this is a great solution that doesn't require a drill (or losing a security deposit)!
A platform bedroom in this split-level studio apartment not only separates the living room from the sleeping quarters, it also provides much-need storage! Granted this isn't possible in all studios (you need to be graced by the ceiling gods), but it might just be the best studio layout to have.
In this narrow NYC space, close quarters call for the apartment’s original tub to be placed directly next to the home’s kitchenette. A plexiglass divider keeps the spaces separate without feeling cramped, and a floor-to-ceiling tufted-print wallpaper in the sleeping and living areas creates a feeling of luxury. Perhaps the best feature of this 300-square-foot SoHo space, is the modular ottomans that can be repurposed into a queen bed, a sectional sofa, or two single beds for guests—as necessary.
The TV bench cleverly doubles as a bedside table in this small studio. Having a sofa on the opposite wall of the bed is not only more dynamic as a layout, it allows for furniture to play double-duty.
If you can't fit a bed in your studio apartment, raise it. The loft bed in this space provides a much-needed dining space, and the bunk provides quite a view of the living spaces. Curtains are hung extra high to give the room a sense of grandeur.
In this wholly sophisticated small space, a dramatic wall color and equally compelling collection of vintage furniture are elegant and luxurious, far more so than the apartment’s square footage might suggest. Since the wall color is dark, keeping the furniture, bedding, and area rug neutral visually enlarges the room.
What decorating tips do you have for studio-apartment dwellers?