Design Ideas for Studio Apartments

Contemporary living room. Loft. Studio apartment. Bedroom
IP Galanternik D.U. / Getty Images

Just because your home has only one room doesn’t mean it has to feel small, cramped or uncomfortable. There are actually lots of advantages to living in a small space: lower utility bills, not as much to clean and a reduction in clutter or excess belongings. But you still need a separate area for sleeping and dressing.

Here are a few secrets to decorating your studio apartment.

  • 01 of 08

    Use Color to Your Advantage

    Modern apartment kitchen with exposed brick.
    Jean-Yves Brue l /Photographer's Choice / Getty Images

    The secret to carving out a sleeping space in a tiny apartment is to use color, design, and function to your advantage. For a great example, just check out the contemporary studio apartment shown here. It was designed by Designwest, Inc.

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  • 02 of 08

    Add Walls to Separate the Bedroom

    Livingroom with animal prints in modern apartment.
    Courtesy of Mikiko Kikuyama, Axis Mundi.

    Temporary walls are one great way to separate the bedroom of a studio apartment from the more public living areas. The design team from Axis Mundi used glass panels for a touch of dramatic shine but lined them with gold silk drapes to provide privacy to the sleeping area. This apartment is a great example of contemporary style infused with the owner’s personality. Fun, trendy pieces of furniture—most custom made—add character as well as space and comfort in this small apartment.

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  • 03 of 08

    Decorating a Bachelor Pad

    A masculine studio apartment.
    Photo courtesy of Nicholas Moriarty Interiors

    Looking for ideas for a masculine space or bachelor’s pad? Then check out the studio shown here, from Nicholas Moriarty Interiors. Sleek, stylish, and contemporary, this tiny apartment makes fantastic use of a neutral color scheme, interesting artwork and collectibles, and smart positioning of furniture, including the bed, which is tucked into its own cozy nook. Notice how the area rug defines the living area, while the sleeping area has drapes that can be closed for privacy. This studio is also a prime example of furniture scale done right; all the furniture in the space is large enough to make a statement, yet small enough to not overpower the room.

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  • 04 of 08

    Combine Ideas and Concepts

    French style apartment bedroom and living room.
    Photos courtesy of Nichole Loiacono Design.

    This adorably feminine apartment has a bit of French flair and a whole lot of eclectic style. Designed by Nichole Loiacono Design, the mostly grey-white-and-black color scheme takes on a soft edge when accented with plenty of dusty pink. Another smart touch in a studio apartment is the use of glass or Plexiglas furniture: here, it’s the bench at the foot of the bed and the coffee table. See-through furniture helps a tiny room look a bit larger.

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  • 05 of 08

    Pastels and Soft Colors

    Studio apartment with a soft palette.
    Courtesy of David Lower, Tervola Designs.

    A palette of soft pastels with plenty of creamy white is another way to make any small space look larger. Here, Tervola Designs used a soft yellow wall color, wainscoting, and light wood floors and furniture to create visual space and depth. The color scheme, quilt, floral throw pillows, and casual décor turn this tiny apartment into an adorable country cottage, full of welcoming warmth and easy comfort.

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  • 06 of 08

    Use All Spaces and Nooks

    Serene, small bedroom.
    Courtesy of Peter Margonelli, Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C.

    Every nook, cranny, and foot is important when decorating a small space or bedroom. Don’t let precious real estate go to waste when you don’t have a lot to begin with. There’s always something you can do ​with a closet, corner or window, as long as you open up your mind and let your creativity run free. For example, this eclectic bedroom designed by JP Warren Interiors and Neuhaus Design Architecture, P.C., uses all of the limited space to its full potential.

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  • 07 of 08

    Choose Versatile Furniture

    Folding furniture in studio apartment.
    Photo courtesy of Normal Projects.

    This unfolding apartment, designed by Normal Projects, is a wonderful use of space in a studio apartment. The gorgeous, glossy blue doors open to create a private area for a bedroom at night, yet fold up out of the way during daylight hours. This sleek and stylish idea is perfect for any modern or contemporary studio apartment where extra space is at a premium. A similar—and less expensive—alternative is a Murphy bed, which is a classic and affordable solution that folds right into a wall cabinet when not in use.

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  • 08 of 08

    Re-invent the Space

    Studio apartment partial walls.
    Photo courtesy of Gutman + Lehrer Arquitectas.

    There are many ways to create a fun and interesting layout and design for your studio apartment, including moving furniture around, adding a half wall, or installing a floating or suspended ceiling. A good example is this eclectic urban apartment designed by Gutman + Lehrer Arquitectas. They installed a partial wall to hide the sleeping area and hung a suspended ceiling to provide a spot to hang artwork. Having a lower ceiling over the bed also gives a cozier feel in a room that otherwise has very high ceilings.  

     Updated by Michelle Ullman

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