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.
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Create a Landing Area
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.Continue to 2 of 25 below.
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Zone It Out
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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Use Area Rugs to Define Spaces
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.Continue to 4 of 25 below.
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Define Areas With Lighting
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.Continue to 5 of 25 below.
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Rightsize the Furniture
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.Continue to 6 of 25 below.
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Hide the Bed
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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Make a Feature of the Bed
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.Continue to 8 of 25 below.
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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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Utilize Vertical Space
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.Continue to 10 of 25 below.
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Hang It Up
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.Continue to 11 of 25 below.
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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.Continue to 12 of 25 below.
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Put It On Wheels
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.Continue to 13 of 25 below.
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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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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.Continue to 15 of 25 below.
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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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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.Continue to 17 of 25 below.
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Use Everyday Objects as Décor
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.Continue to 18 of 25 below.
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Float the Furniture
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.Continue to 19 of 25 below.
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Use Textiles to Absorb Sound
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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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.Continue to 21 of 25 below.
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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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Look For Stealth Storage Opportunities
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.Continue to 23 of 25 below.
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Don't Be Afraid of the Dark
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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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.Continue to 25 of 25 below.
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Decorate Your Outdoor Space
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.