20 Ways to Maximize Space in Your Studio

Updated 10/23/19
Courtesy of Fantastic Frank

Clutter accumulates in every home, but in a studio apartment, it can quickly fill up the little existing storage space you have. So how do you maximize space in a room the size of a shoebox? With just a few clever tricks and habits, you can learn to become just enough of a minimalist to keep your clutter at bay and your studio apartment looking spacious and clean. No matter how many pairs of shoes you own, or how many sweaters are stored in your oven, you, too, can take a small space and make it your own—it just requires a little savvy and know-how. Here are 20 simple ways to maximize space in your studio apartment.

01 of 20

Create Hidden Storage

studio apartment interior design
Sean Litchfield ; DESIGN: Gabrielle Savoie

If your space is closet-challenged, create storage where there is none. Choose a bed with high legs or under-bed storage, and store items underneath. Look up for more storage areas—if the cabinets in your kitchen don’t extend all the way to the ceiling, store entertaining pieces like a cake stand or oversize platter in the space between the cabinet and the ceiling.

02 of 20

Stay Organized

maximize space in a studio
Courtesy of Fantastic Frank

If you’re keeping your personal items in hidden storage areas, make an inventory while putting things away and document it with an organizational map. That way, when you need to find your wrapping paper to prepare a gift, you can consult the map and quickly remember where you stored it months before.

03 of 20

Separate Living Zones

studio apartment

Fantastic Frank

Set up separate areas for performing distinct tasks in your studio. Be creative with your space to maximize its use—a dining zone can be extended to host a larger dinner party, for example. When decorating, clearly separate living and sleeping spaces—either with a folding screen or shelving unit, or even simply with separate rugs.

04 of 20

Purge Often

Studio Apartment Ideas — Shower

 Genevieve Garruppo for Lonny ; DESIGN: Mischa Lampert

Anything unnecessary—be it an article of clothing, a handful of reusable grocery totes, or an old wine rack—that you’re not using should be removed from the premises immediately. If you haven’t used your ironing board in the last year, get rid of it. If you don’t host dinner parties, you don’t need a dozen wineglasses. If you never go to the beach, why are those beach towels taking up precious closet space? It’s easy to accumulate stuff, so take stock of your collections frequently. Purge unnecessary belongings at least twice a year. If you come across something you haven’t used in awhile, don’t put it back where it was. Bring it to Goodwill, or dump it down the trash chute as soon as possible.

05 of 20

Rotate Clothing

Closet organization
Vivian Johnson ; DESIGN: Shira Gill

Every mid-May and late October, rotate your clothing. Pull everything out of your closet, and put it all back in a different order. Winter clothes come to the front of the closet, and summer clothes move to the back. The stacks of shoeboxes will rotate: Instead of sandals on the top, boots will come to the forefront. The drawer that stores bikinis becomes the drawer that stores tights. Long-sleeve dresses replace sundresses, while sweaters and scarves move into the spots previously held by beach cover-ups and hats. Make the time to edit and rearrange your closet—getting dressed each day will become so much easier. Store swapped-out summer or winter clothes in bins under the bed or at the top or bottom of your closet.

06 of 20

Use Multipurpose Furniture

tv stand for small spaces
Sean Litchfield ; DESIGN: Gabrielle Savoie

If you’re looking for an ottoman, why not find one that has a secret storage area? Need side tables but have very little room between your couch and wall? Look for nesting tables that can be pulled out and used when you need them. A daybed can double as sofa and bed; a dining table can double as a desk; a dresser can also work as a TV stand. These are the types of furniture you should invest in.

07 of 20

Seek Out Perfect Pieces

West Village Studio Tour
Zio & Sons for StreetEasy

Your place is small—which means that every inch counts and everything is on display. So if you don’t absolutely love a piece, don’t buy it. Keep searching until you find the coffee table that you can’t live without, rather than buying the one you sort of like out of necessity. Ask a friend whose apartment you love to help you search for the perfect piece. Apply the same philosophy for hard-to-find items. As a last resort, have something custom-made.

08 of 20

Remember, Less Is More

Small Bedroom Furniture

Courtesy of Fantastic Frank 

Knickknacks and tchotchkes are cute, but they make a small space feel cluttered. The less stuff you have, the bigger your space will feel. Don’t overcrowd it with furniture pieces that are too big. If there isn’t room for a traditional coffee table, turn a small side table or two into a coffee table. In essence, channel the principles of a hotel room: Only keep the bare essentials; pick pieces you love and keep surfaces bare.

09 of 20

Clean Regularly

West Village Studio Tour
Zio & Sons for StreetEasy

A clean house is a happy house. Your space will naturally feel bigger when it is clean and removed of clutter. Put away clothes, wipe down counters, and vacuum the rugs at least once every couple of weeks. While you clean, have a mini decluttering session, reorganize drawers, and purge excess clutter. Soon enough your space will be entirely clutter-free.

10 of 20

Put Your Island to Work

small kitchen decor
Sean Litchfield ; DESIGN: Gabrielle Savoie

Lucky enough to have an island in your small studio? Make it work for you. Depending on your needs, an island can be used as a desk, a dining table, or used to provide additional seating when guests are over.

11 of 20

Sconces Are Your New Best Friend

Bedroom organization
Courtesy of Fantastic Frank

Studios are often lacking in light, but you need light to make a room feel larger. Floor lamps may not be the best option if you're already short on floor space, so sconce it up. Sconces are an easy way to add light to your studio, without taking up any much-needed space.

12 of 20

Use Architectural Elements

Tips for Decorating Small Spaces
Tessa Neustadt

Use your studio's architectural elements to your advantage. This small drawer becomes a vanity with the addition of two mirrors and a stool. What would have been a spot to store keys and receipts now becomes a space to get ready in the morning.

13 of 20

Get a Clothing Rack

Studio Apartment Ideas — Clothing Rack
Fantastic Frank

Studios are often lacking in closet space, so get a clothing rack to gain some more hanging room. Don't worry about it looking like an eyesore in your living space—if you choose a stylish rack and hang your prettiest pieces of clothing on it, it'll actually look seriously chic.

14 of 20

Put Your Bed in the Back

West Village Studio Tour
Zio & Sons for StreetEasy

You don't want your friends to walk right into your bedroom, so be strategic and situate your sleeping space in the back of the studio. That way, you walk into the living area, keeping your bed further back and a little more private.

15 of 20

Shrink Your Sofa

Small space living room
Genevieve Garruppo for Homepolish

As much as we all want an oversized, plush sofa, it's not the best space-saving practice for a studio. A loveseat is your best bet, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice comfort. Layer it with throw pillows and blankets—the mix of textiles will up the cozy vibes.

16 of 20

Use Your Shower Rod

studio apartment bathroom
Sean Litchfield ; DESIGN: Gabrielle Savoie

Finding a place for all your makeup and skincare essentials in your bathroom is hard enough, but then you have to consider things like towels, robes, and other bath accessories that you need, but just have no room for. Use your shower rod to gain storage—when you're not showering, it can be used to hang a robe or extra towel.

17 of 20

Maximize Vertical Space

Studio Apartment Ideas — Kitchen Storage
Fantastic Frank

Opt for one or two tall pieces of furniture, like bookshelves or an armoire. They won't take up too much width on the wall (key in a studio), but you'll gain vertical storage space. Just make sure you don't crowd too many vertical pieces into your studio, or it will look cluttered.

18 of 20

Get a Fold-Up Bed

West Village Studio Tour
Zio & Sons for StreetEasy

A fold-up bed (also called a Murphy bed) is a game-changer in a studio. If you have the room and can spring for it, it's the easiest way to hide your sleeping space during the day or when friends are over.

19 of 20

Go Narrow

Studio Apartment Ideas - Bedroom
Fantastic Frank.

You might think you have no room for a dining table or a desk, but you don't have to give them up, you just have to get narrow. Choose the most narrow and sleek pieces of furniture you can find to maximize space. Bonus: They'll also give a cool, modern vibe.

20 of 20

Place Your Bed Against a Window

tiny bedroom

Nicole Franzen

Wall space is precious in a studio, so if you can conserve it by placing your bed against a window, you'll have more room for your artwork or small pieces of furniture, like a console table. Add curtains to frame it in.

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