25 Studio Apartment Decor and Layout Ideas

studio apartment decor ideas

Hotel Henriette

Whether you find yourself living in a studio apartment out of choice or necessity, small space decorating can be a challenge in a super-sized world. But it can also be fun to embrace the creativity that comes from having constraints, and rewarding to create a functional and elevated small space. Here are some clever tips for decorating your studio apartment that will help you maximize your space without skimping on style.

  • 01 of 25

    Create a Landing Area

    Studio apartment design tips

    Sara Tramp / Jess Bunge for Emily Henderson Design

    Not every studio apartment has a built-in entry, but if you have some spare wall space in a hallway near the door you can create a landing area with simple wall hooks or floating shelves and a small bench if space allows. Otherwise, install transparent removable hooks on the back of a closet door to store coats, bags, keys, and umbrellas. 

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  • 02 of 25

    Zone It Out

    living room office

    s.u.s.a.p / Instagram

    Creating multiple zones will help enhance the impression that your studio apartment is more spacious than its footprint. Even small distinct areas for activities such as sleeping, eating, relaxing, and working will give you a sense that there are multiple rooms within a single space. 

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  • 03 of 25

    Use Area Rugs to Define Spaces

    Studio apartment design tips

    Sara Tramp-Ligorria / Emily Henderson Design

    Add area rugs under your desk, dining table, bed, or sitting area to give each zone a self-contained feel. Don't be afraid to layer rugs in different patterns, textures, and styles, but keep a common color theme for cohesion.

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  • 04 of 25

    Define Areas With Lighting

    jessica nelson design lighting areas

    Jessica Nelson Design

    A pendant lamp over the dining table will define your dining area from above in the same way that an area rug defines it on a floorplan. By lighting your dining, kitchen, living, working, and sleeping spaces separately, you can illuminate areas in use and dim unused zones, giving you the sense that your one room apartment contains multitudes.

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  • 05 of 25

    Rightsize the Furniture

    Becca interiors kitchen with small island

    Becca Interiors

    Choosing lots of small furniture pieces for your studio apartment will create a cluttered and uncomfortable dollhouse effect. Select the largest pieces you can fit comfortably, taking care not to use oversized furniture, such as king size beds and overstuffed sectionals. Vintage midcentury modern pieces with slim profiles and quality kids furniture retailers are good sources for stylish small space décor.

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  • 06 of 25

    Hide the Bed

    becca interiors multi purpose bed

    Becca Interiors

    If you feel awkward about entertaining in a studio apartment with a visible bed, or don’t like looking at the bed during waking hours, install a sofa bed, a Murphy bed or a multifunctional piece of furniture that turns from a bed to a dining table or desk. Make and style it up to function as a couch when not in use, hide your bed behind a screen, or if you have the space and wherewithal, install a retractable bed that disappears into the wall when not in use.

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  • 07 of 25

    Make a Feature of the Bed

    studio apartment decor ideas

    Hotel Henriette

    If you choose a bed that fits the space, there’s no reason to camouflage it. Instead, make a feature or even a focal point out of your bed. Give it a sense of presence with an extra-tall headboard that will take advantage of untapped vertical space and create an expansive feel. Have fun with linens. Add dramatic sconces or hang a bold piece of art above the bed.

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  • 08 of 25

    Gallery Wall

    Studio apartment decor ideas

    Sara Tramp-Ligorria / William Hunter Collective for Emily Henderson Design

    Too many small pieces of art scattered on the walls of your studio apartment can make it look busy. Focus a collection of small paintings and photographs by creating a statement-making gallery wall above the sofa or a casually chic space-saving daybed.

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  • 09 of 25

    Utilize Vertical Space

    high ceilings

    House 9 Interiors

    Utilizing vertical space will draw the eye upward and make your space feel larger than it is. Extend shelving to the ceiling, or hang plants, pendant lights, or art in the empty space above furniture. If your ceiling is high enough, paint it in a different color to create a sense of expansiveness.

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  • 10 of 25

    Hang It Up

    hanging lighting

    Esther Schmidt / Instagram

    One key strategy for small space living is freeing up floor space and surfaces to create an airy feel, and make cleaning a breeze. Using hanging or wall mounted lighting fixtures is a great way to save space and decorate your walls. Choose vintage lighting to create a cozy feel, or industrial black metal task lights to add a graphic punch to a neutral space. 

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  • 11 of 25

    Wall Mount

    studio apartment decor ideas

    Hotel Henriette

    In a studio apartment, every inch counts. To create a tiny desk corner, choose a wall-mounted secretary desk, or a two-legged, wall-mounted desk with a slim midcentury vibe.

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  • 12 of 25

    Put It On Wheels

    Studio apartment decor ideas

    Sara Tramp / Emily Henderson Design

    A pretty vintage or modern bar cart is multi-purpose small space wonder. Park yours in a corner and style it as a place to house your vinyl collection. Use it to store magazines, books, keepsakes, glassware, or plants. Or keep it free and clear so you can swoosh it around as needed for extra kitchen prep space, or a serving station when entertaining.

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  • 13 of 25

    Mirror Mirror

    Studio apartment decor ideas

    Sara Ligorria-Tramp / Julie Rose for Emily Henderson Design

    Carefully placed decorative mirrors are a studio apartment’s best friend. A mirror hung on the wall opposite a window will multiply natural light and add new perspectives. A giant leaning floor mirror will visually double the size of your room by increasing sightlines.

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  • 14 of 25

    Open Shelving

    studio apartment decor ideas

    Sara Tramp / Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design

    While it's often a good idea to incorporate hidden storage into a small space, too many closets, cabinets, dressers, and armoires can also eat up precious square feet. Incorporating open shelving can keep a kitchenette feeling light and airy and encourage you to edit your possessions to the essential.

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  • 15 of 25

    Layered Lighting

    Studio apartment decor ideas

    mixetto / Getty Images

    There is nothing sadder than a studio apartment lit by a single overhead light. Combine task lighting with ambient lighting and add decorative lighting that will function as décor. A good rule of thumb is to light all four corners of your space to minimize shadows and create an overall glow. Having multiple lighting options will also help if you live with a partner whose sleeping schedule differs from yours. 

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  • 16 of 25

    Bathroom Break

    studio apartment decor ideas

    Tessa Neustadt / Emily Henderson Design

    The bathroom is usually the only part of a studio apartment that isn't constantly visible, making it an oasis and a decorating opportunity. Turn a tiny bathroom into an art gallery with inexpensive colorful art or photographs. Add a shower curtain with a wild pattern or an unexpected color palette, or install some splashy removable wallpaper in a fun pattern that gives you a boost.

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  • 17 of 25

    Use Everyday Objects as Décor

    cathie hong kitchen

    Cathie Hong

    One key to creating a well accessorized but uncluttered studio apartment is to treat everyday objects as décor. Take care to select functional and aesthetically pleasing essential items. Natural wood cutting boards in different shapes and sizes and thoughtfully selected dishware, glassware, copper pots, or colorful dishtowels will make even the tiniest kitchenette look homey and effortlessly appealing.

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  • 18 of 25

    Float the Furniture

    Studio apartment decorating ideas

    KatarzynaBialasiewicz / Getty Images

    Resist the instinct to push every piece of furniture against the wall in a small space. Pull your desk away from the wall and float it in a corner, facing out into the room. Float the bed in front of the windows at the far end of a narrow apartment, and place a small sofa with its back to the bed, to create a sitting area that faces away from it so you'll forget it's there when you're entertaining or relaxing.

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  • 19 of 25

    Use Textiles to Absorb Sound

    home and spirit boho bedroom

    Home and Spirit / Instagram

    While you can’t fix thin walls and shoddy construction with décor, you can reduce noise from neighboring apartments by layering sound-absorbing textiles such as plush wool rugs, pillows, throws, drapes, and upholstered furniture.

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  • 20 of 25

    Screen Time

    Studio apartment decor

    Helin Loik-Tomson / Getty Images

    If you’re sharing a studio apartment with someone else, or live alone but want the option to camouflage certain areas of your space, use room dividers such as screens, open-shelf bookcases, curtains, or even large potted plants to create a sense of privacy.

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  • 21 of 25

    Clothing Rack

    Studio apartment decor ideas

    A Beautiful Mess

    If your studio apartment is lacking in the storage department, remember that there are plenty of ways to store your clothes without a closet. The simplest solution is to install a simple, stylish clothes rack out in the open that will give your well edited wardrobe the air of a home boutique (and double as an eco-friendly drying rack).

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  • 22 of 25

    Look For Stealth Storage Opportunities

    Studio apartment design ideas

    Sara Ligorria-Tramp / Emily Bowser for Emily Henderson Design

    If you are lucky enough to have a window in your studio apartment bathroom, you might be tempted to keep the sill bare. But if you need additional storage, adding glass shelving and neatly displaying items in transparent bottles can create a de facto medicine cabinet that doesn't block natural light.

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  • 23 of 25

    Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

    Studio apartment decor ideas

    Sara Ligorria-Tramp / Velinda Hellen for Emily Henderson Design

    Conventional wisdom tells us to use light neutral colors in a small space. But if you like it dark and moody, painting your small space in a dark color can also make it seem bigger than it is by creating a sense of depth and tricking the eye into not seeing where the wall ends. Lighten the mood with metallic pieces, lacquered finishes, and decorative mirrors that will bounce light around.

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  • 24 of 25

    Bonus Space

    Studio apartment design ideas

    A Beautiful Mess

    Identify dead or empty spaces that can be transformed into bonus areas like reading nooks, desk corners, or dressing tables, and decorate them with care and attention, like this cute reading spot from A Beautiful Mess.

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  • 25 of 25

    Decorate Your Outdoor Space

    susap balcony

    @s.u.s.a.p / Instagram

    If you are lucky enough to have even the tiniest amount of outdoor space, do not let it languish. Outfit a small balcony with a café table and chairs or an oversize pouf and an outdoor rug. Add plants and outdoor string lights or a portable USB lamp and you’ve got an extra room for drinks, reading, or contemplating life.