Clutter accumulates in every home, but in a studio apartment, it can quickly take over entire areas. So how do you maximize space in a room the size of a shoebox without giving up half of your treasured clothes, furniture, and collectibles? 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 you've 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. Explore 20 of the best and most simple studio apartment storage ideas that will instantly make your small space feel bigger.
Create Hidden Storage
If your space is closet-challenged, you can get creative with how you store your things. For instance, choose a bed with high legs or under-bed storage, and store large, flat items underneath. Think chunky sweaters during the summer months and bathing suits for the colder ones.
Also, 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.
If you’re keeping most of your personal items in hidden storage areas, try documenting where you put each item with an organizational map. That way, when you need to find the random items you aren't reaching for very often, like wrapping paper, you can consult the map and quickly remember where you stored it months before. In our opinion, the kitchen is the best place to start when it comes to organizing.
Separate Each Zone
Whether you use distinct rugs, screens, or curtains à la Carrie Bradshaw, try to set up separate areas for performing specific tasks in your studio. Get 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. We love the chic look of a glass screen.
Edit Your Items
In a small apartment, every item takes up valuable space, so anything unnecessary—whether it's an article of clothing you haven't worn in a year, a handful of reusable grocery totes collecting dust in a closet, or an old wine rack you hardly use—can be a burden.
If you come across something you haven’t used in a while, don’t put it back where it was. Instead, bring it to Goodwill or dump it down the trash chute.
It’s so easy to accumulate things over the years without realizing the clutter it creates, so take stock of your collections frequently and purge unnecessary belongings at least twice a year.
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. Rotate your stacks of shoeboxes, too. 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 sun hats. Set aside some time during two weekends per year to rearrange your closet. We promise that getting dressed each day will become so much easier.
Use Multipurpose Furniture
If you’re looking for an ottoman, why not find one that has a secret storage compartment? Need side tables but have very little room between your couch and wall? Look for nesting tables that you can pull out and use when you need them. A daybed can double as a 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.
Seek Out Perfect Pieces
In a small place, 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.
Remember, Less Is More
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 either. If there isn’t room for a traditional coffee table, turn a small side table or two into a coffee table.
Channel the principles of a hotel room: Only keep the bare essentials, pick pieces you love, and keep surfaces bare.
A clean house is a happy house. Your space will naturally feel bigger when it is mess-free. 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 unnecessary piles of stuff.
Put Your Island to Work
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 a food prep station.
Studios are often lacking in light, but small spaces feel even more so when they're perpetually dark. Floor lamps may not be the best option if you're already short on floor space, so sconce up your studio. Sconces are an easy way to add light to your studio, without taking up any much-needed space.
Use Architectural Elements
Use your studio's architectural elements to your advantage. This small drawer becomes a vanity with the simple addition of just 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.
Shrink Your Sofa
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.
Choose a loveseat over a big sofa and layer it with throw pillows and blankets—the mix of textiles will up the cozy vibes.
Get a Clothing Rack
Studios are often devoid of significant 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 make a serious style statement.
Put Your Bed in Back
You probably don't want your friends to walk right into your bedroom upon entering your apartment, so be strategic and situate your sleeping space in the back of the studio. That way, your guests will walk into the living area, rather than into your private sleep space.
Use Your Shower Rod
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.
Maximize Vertical Space
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.
Get a Fold-Up Bed
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.
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.
Place Your Bed Against a Window
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 the window behind your bed to bring more focus to the area.