Studio apartment dwellers are faced with a unique interior design challenge: Transform one open room into a multifunctional living space.
The average studio apartment in the United States is 514-square-feet, according to a recent article in the real estate publication Rent Café. That can be a tight squeeze to fit a kitchen, living room, bedroom, bathroom, office, or more.
Limited floor plans don’t automatically translate into limited design options. The right colour wall paint and space-saving furnishings, such as a Murphy bed, do wonders for transforming small studio apartments into warm and welcoming homes.
Upgrade your studio apartment with these small-space design tricks.
Install a Glass Partition
Credit: Beautiful House
Inviting in natural light is one of the best interior design tips for making small spaces appear larger. Installing a glass panel divider has the benefit of sectioning off designated spaces while maintaining an open and airy feeling. Beautiful House featured the above example designed by Fantastic Frank, which adds visual separation while still allowing plenty of light to flow through.
Fold Away your Bed
Studio apartment living often means the bedroom and the living room are one and the same. A fold-away Murphy Bed frees up valuable square footage, making it easy to transition the singular space from a sitting area to sleeping quarters in moments.
Some modern Murphy bed companies, such as the Lori Bed, offer easy-to-install pre-manufactured kits that take only a couple of hours to assemble. Many models also offer stylish shelf storage when the bed is in the upright position.
Dark Wall Colors
It’s a common misconception that dark paint colors can make a room feel smaller than its square footage. But using hues like forest green or violet add complexity and create mood and drama.
Luxury home stylist Cheryl Eisen of Interior Marketing Group in New York City told Long Island Pulse Magazine that contrast is key to designing with such a commanding colour palette. Pairing dark wall colors with light-colored furniture and accessories makes a room appear more expansive and luxurious.
Maximize with Mirrors
Mirrored walls are a go-to interior design solution when it comes to giving the illusion of having a larger space. That is because it works every time.
Mirrors bounce light further into the room, which in turn illuminates the entire space, making it feel much grander. Mounting a mirror near a window is very effective for bringing in more natural light without a major renovation.
Experiment with using multiple mirrors in your design and don’t be afraid to try to use them in unexpected places, too.
Apartment Therapy recommends hanging a mirror behind the kitchen’s stovetop to bright up a traditionally dark area in the house. Mirrored or reflective furnishings can also help achieve the effect.
Statement Wall Art
Credit: Boco Do Lobo
Rule of thumb: Go big in a small home. It may sound counter-intuitive, but one large statement piece is more polished than an arrangement of smaller hanging accents when wall space is at a premium.
Clustering photos and another wall-hanging décor can make the space feel cluttered instead of expansive. On the other hand, one large-scale piece of artwork mounted on an otherwise empty wall makes a small space feel more luxurious.
Mount Wall Lights
Every inch in a studio apartment matters. Wall-mounted or recessed lighting frees up precious space on tabletops while creating a warm ambience.
Interior designer Marie Burgos told Elle Décor that sticking with bulbs that emit a softer, yellow light makes smaller homes feel warm. Opt for bulbs that are lower on the Kelvin scale to achieve a warm, inviting look.
Hang Curtains High
Credit: Décor Aid
Floor-to-ceiling curtains can make a small studio apartment feel grand without an expensive price tag. Even if your place doesn’t have lofty window panels, installing a curtain rod as close to the ceiling as possible will create the illusion.
The experts at Décor Aid suggests installing sheer floor-to-ceiling curtains to make your studio feel instantly larger and more impressive. If you like printed designs, choose a vertical curtain pattern over a horizontal option to further elongate the sightline.
Choose Solid Fabrics
Purple leopard print or yellow polka dots may not be the best options for studio apartments.
If your goal is to make your space appear larger, The Spruce recommends selecting solid-coloured upholstery for furniture instead of bold plaids, stripes, or prints. For visual interest in a sea of solids, use textured accents, like velvet pillows.
Today’s space-saving furnishings and interior design solutions have the ability to transform even the smallest studio apartment into a cosy home. From Murphy beds to wall-mounted lighting fixtures, these small-space design tricks prove that you don’t need to a big house to live in high style.