How to Decorate a Studio Apartment

city studio apartment

Alvin Wayne

Prepping to move into a studio apartment and wondering just exactly how to set up this type of space? We spoke with interior designers to gather an assortment of tips on what to keep top of mind when laying out and decorating a small studio. You won't want to miss out on their valuable advice, which pertains to everything from purchasing furniture to determining the best layout to making proper use of wall space.

Do Some Space Planning

Space planning is a key first step prior to selecting furniture and decor for a studio apartment. "Space planning is always important for any project, but essential for spaces where every inch matters," Ashley Macuga, of Collected Interiors, explains. The earlier you can get started in the planning process, the better. "Before moving in, ask the landlord to allow you some time to measure, grab some graph paper and start making your plan," Macuga suggests.

Measure, measure, measure when it comes to furniture pieces you already own. "Pull out your painter's tape and consider the measurements of every furniture item so you know well in advance what fits and if you are able to pull off your desired floor plan based on the spaces you need to function," Ashley Ross, of Muse Noir Interiors, urges.

small neutral living room

@houseofchais / Instagram

Shop for Double Duty Pieces

In a small space, utilizing furniture pieces that can perform multiple functions will serve you well. "Look for space-saving pieces that can pull double duty such as a nightstand that can also double as a desk, an ottoman with built-in storage, or a magazine rack that can also serve as an end table," Lauren Sullivan, of Well x Design, suggests. Marlaya Ross, of Studio One Nine Design, adds, "A multifunctional piece of furniture like a storage ottoman serves as a place to put your feet up and store extra blankets and pillows, while adding a tray on top gives you a surface to display books and rest your coffee mug."

No room for a big bed? "Consider the ever-popular Murphy bed for even more multipurpose options," Sullivan adds. "They’ve come a long way in recent years with more aesthetically pleasing designs, smoother mechanics, and more creative storage solutions than ever before."

trunk as coffee table

Sarah Lyon

Have Fun With Color

Living in a small studio doesn't mean you need to stick solely to neutrals and other hues that we often see in petite spaces. "Add bold wallpaper or a moody paint color to an accent wall to bring personality and energy to your space," Marlaya Ross suggests. Ashley Ross expresses similar sentiments. "We ask clients to consider the idea that this space may not be their forever home and in light of this have fun with their design choices," she says.

Get Creative With Layout

If you're looking to set up a workstation, crave a spot in which you can unwind in front of the TV, and need to set aside ample food prep space, you're going to need to get creative with the layout in your studio. "If you are working from home, and tight on space, try placing your TV over a desk," Macuga says. "Not only does this save space, but some of the new smart TVs allow for the TV to double as an extended monitor."

Creating zones within your studio is also a smart idea. "Furniture like consoles and bookshelves can act as room dividers to help define different spaces," Cristina Lehman, of C Lehman Home, notes. You can also try a privacy screen. "Something modern and sculptural divides the room into hard-working areas with different purposes," Beauty is Abundant's Leah Alexander says. Whether you prefer hidden or open storage depends on your desired aesthetic. "If you find yourself on the minimalist end then it's time to get creative with your hidden storage options," Ashley Ross notes. "If you find yourself swimming in the maximalism pool, then open storage is your friend."

tv over desk

Collected Interiors

Work the Walls

Don't forget to make the most of your walls, too. "Take advantage of the vertical space you have by using taller bookcases, dressers, and cabinets for storage," Marlaya Ross notes. And be sure to add some personality with art or decorative objects. "For open wall space not used for storage, consider hanging textiles or sculptural wall decor as well as collections of artwork and photos," the designer adds.

Hang Mirrors

Mirrors aren't just for checking your hair—in a studio especially, they really do come in handy! "Mirrors are a great way to help make a space feel bigger, especially if it's facing a window to help reflect the natural light," Lehman says.

Finish Things Off With Plants

Once your furniture is arranged by zone and your space is looking good, finish it off with some green friends. "Add some plants to brighten up the space and add an organic feel," Lehman recommends. "If floor or countertop/surfaces are limited, hang your plants. Ceiling hooks or wall planters are a great way to still have plants without taking up precious floor or counter space."

large plants in apartment

@dommdotcom / Instagram