It's safe to say that designer Ashley Danielle Hunte of Style Meets Strategy is experienced when it comes to small space living. She recently gave up her NYC studio apartment for another studio in Austin, Texas. And while one might think that limited square footage may cramp this creative's style, Hunte, who launched her design business in 2018, says that actually, she's grateful for what her petite homes have taught her.
"As a designer, living in a studio has been amazing," Hunte reflects. "It has definitely allowed me to think about a million different ways of maximizing space, defining areas, and really creating something that is unique and feels like home."
Read on to learn more about Hunte's main takeaways from living in a studio over the past several years. You may just feel ready to embrace studio life yourself after hearing her tips!
Create Distinct Zones
Fortunately for Hunte, her studio is by no means shoebox-sized—it measures 600 square feet in total, which Hunte says is " is just enough space." What she's had to learn to do, though, is designate different areas for various at-home activities.
"I created areas for just about every daily living function," Hunte comments. "For example, I work from home, and I absolutely needed a desk in my studio, so I ensured I created a space for that."
Other zones are dedicated to sleeping, dining, and living/lounging. "It feels just like any other home that has all the spaces but is much cozier," Hunte shares.
Shop for the Right Size Furniture
Hunte urges anyone who is in the process of designing a studio apartment to buy appropriately size furniture. "It is important to pay attention to the scale and proportion of furniture," she notes. "Doing this will allow you to get the most use out of your space while keeping it feel open."
Of course, pieces that serve multiple functions are winners when it comes to small space living. "In my current studio, my closet space is only a hanging space," Hunte shares. Therefore, in lieu of a TV console, she purchased a dresser for additional storage. "I didn’t want my dresser to look and feel like a dresser, so I found one that would blend well with the space," she shares.
Storage as a whole is of the utmost importance. "I tried to keep it simple and understand what my storage needs are for the space and purchase storage solutions based on this," Hunte shares, noting that during her time living in New York City, she adopted a "less is more" mentality. "Vertical storage solutions, such as storage cabinets or wardrobes, can also be very useful," she adds.
Hunte suggests visiting The Container Store and IKEA for these types of pieces. "My previous closet system was from the Container Store, and it worked wonders," she says. "I was definitely able to maximize a lot more space."
Play to a Space's Architecture
As a designer, Hunte pays close attention to the existing architectural elements in any space she is decorating.
"My entire apartment is a mix between Crate and Barrel and CB2, as it was very fitting to the architecture of the space which is modern," she says of her Austin space. Hunte also enjoys shopping for home furnishings on Facebook Marketplace and via online stores including Castlery, Apt 2B, Article, West Elm, and Room and Board.
Hunte's Favorite Small-Space Pieces
Hunte can't get enough of her Bozzi chair from CB2, or her brown and white rug, also from the retailer.
"The design aesthetic and hues of the space were inspired by the area rug," she says. "The browns and tans really made me want to incorporate those tones along with wood elements to help add a bit of warmth to the space."
The fuzzy Bozzi chair is a favorite for lounging. "Based on the dimensions along with the look and feel, I figured I could easily put it in a corner and create a cozy little nook area, and that is exactly what I did," Hunte says. "I spend most of my days sitting in my chair than I do on my sofa."