Ten Tips For Decorating a Small Studio Apartment - Tiny House Blog

Ten Tips For Decorating a Small Studio Apartment

Studio apartments can be difficult to decorate because everything is basically all in one big (or not so big) room. Sometimes this small space has to accommodate several different activities: sleeping, entertaining, cooking and an office area.

Here are ten tips for decorating a small studio apartment:

1. Provide enough storage. Try to find furnishings for your apartment that will do double duty. You can even find chairs and ottomans that have storage areas inside of them. Just lift up the top and there you will find space for blankets, pillows or other items.

2. Use containers to hide clutter. Buy wicker baskets or old steamer trunks to store out-of-season clothing, linens and towels. They will look great and contain all of those small items that make a room look cluttered.

3. Use mirrors to reflect the light. A large mirror or several small mirrors placed strategically can make a small space feel lighter and larger. If you like a more modern style of decorating, furniture and tables with metal or glass can visually expand the space.

4. Don’t block the light. Covering every window with blinds and draperies can make a small room feel dark and crowded. Leave windows bare or only cover with sheer draperies to let the light shine through. Light always makes a space seem larger.

5. Place furniture in rooms. Try to create specific areas for specific activities. Put a bed and dresser in one area for the bedroom and a sofa and coffee table in another area. Having your apartment furnishings put any-old-way can make it cluttered and uninviting. You might have to leave out the bed and use a sleeper sofa if your apartment is super-small.

6. Create a focus. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, accentuate it. Even if you don’t have a natural focal point, create one. Painting just one wall a different color will draw the attention into the room an make it seem bigger. Put a large credenza or entertainment center on that wall and decorate it with beautiful accessories.

7. Use dividers for larger apartments. You can find beautiful dividers in both thrift shops and high end furniture stores. Use them to enclose various areas of your space. I saw an episode on HGTV where they used four beautiful wooden dividers to make a separate bedroom. It not only provided a private sleeping area, but also created another wall on which to place furniture.

8. Keep clutter at bay. When you have a small area, clutter is not an option. Too many knick-knacks and too much furniture crowds everything together too much. Keep your necessary items, such as extra bed linens put away in a dresser or wicker baskets. Kitchen counters should be kept clean with everything in the cupboards if possible.

9. Another trick for a small space is to buy furniture with legs and that are higher off of the floor. Your eye will look under these pieces of furniture and add visual space. Furniture that is blocky and low to the ground makes a room appear more crowded.

10. Paint with lighter colors. You don’t have to use white, but using paint colors that are lighter in color expands a space more than dark colors.

Decorating a studio apartment can be a challenging task, but using the above tips can help you get started in the right direction.

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Source: Home Management

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Terrie - July 1, 2008 Reply

Decorating small spaces is a daunting task. I work mostly with condos at the coast. I have found a great resource for furniture for small spaces, as well. It’s a company that primarily sells online called Simplicity Sofas and you can access them here http://www.simplicitysofas.com. I bought some furniture for my condos and it is very high quality and designed to fit through tight spaces. They have regular sized sofas, apartment sofas, storage ottomans, chairs, and over 50 fabrics to choose from. I purchased their sleeper sofa for one of my clients, because the condo was basically one big room. The sofa is incredible. It’s a 20 inch air sleep system. I thought your readers might want to know of this resource.

    Dean - October 19, 2021 Reply

    With the openness of a studio apartment, sometimes it’s hard to establish a defined floor plan. A great way to do this is to carve out an area in your st 00004000 udio with a large piece of furniture like a bookshelf. In this example from Ikea, they’re using a tall shelf to block off some space for a home office.

Kent - July 1, 2008 Reply

Hi Terrie,

Thanks for the link to that great site. I appreciate it. It looks like they would be perfect for tiny houses and small spaces. Maybe I’ll do a little write up on them.


di - July 25, 2008 Reply

Fewer possessions:

7 outfits, 2 pair shoes, wallet, laptop
all-weather hooded jacket, boots, gloves

Store dishes vertically on narrow shelves with mug hooks beneath shelf. Omit dish drainer – dry dishes on towel. Use towel as potholder, knife as spatula, fork as whisk, mug as ladle. Use pot as mixing bowl, ordinary teaspoon and mug to measure. Reuse jar for leftovers, canister, utensils, or vase. Omit ironing board – place towel over counter to iron.

Assemble 3′ x 7′ shelf as window seat and for sleeping. Store bedding in floor cushions. Use floor cushions at window seat for dining or as desk. Curtain beneath seat to cover storage.

5 Easy Ways to Make Your Studio Apartment More Efficient - August 11, 2008 Reply

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Terrie - August 21, 2008 Reply

Thanks Kent for the response to add a review to your website. You should do it!

I can tell you stories about the frustrations of getting apartment sofas or small sofas or even chairs, let alone – – living room sets into tiny houses and condos. Until I found Simplicity Sofas. http://www.simplicitysofas.com

I ran across an overwhelming review on another site about this company. I thought I would check back and let your readers see the response: http://www.furniture-for-small-spaces.com/ready-to-assemble-sofas.html

I have started putting this furniture into RVs and live on-board boats now as a result; but my love is small, tiny houses, just like yours! Imagine that. This is great quality furniture for tiny houses.

A great avenue for your readers …

Custom House Plans - February 18, 2010 Reply

If you are looking for custom house plans, architectural designs, apartment plans or a custom house plan, check out KFMArchitecturalDesign.com

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Hailfawebbe - April 29, 2010 Reply

I bought some furniture for my condos and it is very high quality and designed to fit through tight spaces. They have regular sized sofas, apartment sofas, storage ottomans, chairs, and over 50 fabrics to choose from.

Holiday Apartments Bol

apartment searcher - April 30, 2010 Reply

This is great stuff. Light is so important and, as you point out, using light colors can really help you get more mileage out of the wattage and sunlight you already have.

Towels is a cool idea and great for those on a budget. I’d also say “fabrics” for getting different colors and textures.

Check out more decorating tips here: http://bit.ly/axarag

Kaitlin - August 16, 2010 Reply

These tips are great! Also, check out this site. I have used and even bought some of the stuff off this site when I decorated my apartment down at school. It’s http://www.squidoo.com/apartmentdecorations

Its really convenient and shares a lot of good tips!

Home Sweet Home Apartment Style | The Diana Way - September 23, 2010 Reply

[…] Home Sweet Home Apartment Style Posted on September 13, 2010 by mrscutiepiebride So I used to live in this area called Patterson Park. Which in the beginning I adored. I loved being able to take my dogs to the park, hang out at the park. But as I started to realize like every other area, they have their fair share of crime. Now mind you I have worked in some pretty tough neighborhoods and can hold my own. Plus my dogs and me we are one(s) to be reckon with! However I have grown up in East Baltimore, MD. You know Hampden, Cold Spring, Mt. Washington and etc… Well I have lived most of my twenties in those areas and loooved it. I started missing what I consider home. So back to Hampden I went and found a familar apartment. Now this will sound odd but this apartment is familar because an old ex of mine used to live there. I always thought this was by far one of the best apartments ever and I already knew what to expect. Heat wise, air wise, bug wise neighbor wise you name it. I spent almost 4 years of my life in this apartment with my ex and it was amazing times! So why not re-visit happy memories right? Get to the point you say as you read all of this craziness! Well I moved in and totally need to decorate! Ah hah I knew this story had a point,lol. All of my walls are bare except a recent Maryland poster(framed) but I want to add things to decorate that are A. in-expensive and B. Chic and Cute. So where do you turn for such. DOMINO. Does anyone remember this wonderful magazine, that was made for us apartment dwellers. Well I do, so I search the internet for some fun finds to redecorate my apartment. Keep in mind I am looking for Eco Friendly, Dog Friendly, the off again on again current boyfriend friendly ( that was a mouth full) also did I mention it has to make me HAPPY In my midst of searching I came across these top ten things for decorating small or studio spaces ( my space is way bigger then a studio space but thought it would be helpful)http://tinyhouseblog.com/tiny-house/ten-tips-for-decorating-a-small-studio-apartment/  […]

gf - January 2, 2011 Reply

For my small space the key was to seek out narrow versions of furniture. When your apartment’s largest dimension is only 11 feet a 30 inch deep dresser or chest of drawers chews up most of it. I ended up getting made-to-order 9 inch deep book cases with doors for clothing storage.

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Furnish 123 - April 22, 2011 Reply

Thanks so much for sharing! There are many great ways to decorate small spaces. Just because you home is small doesn’t mean your design can’t be big! Best of luck to all of you!

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Mat' - October 10, 2011 Reply

Great ! A lots of ideas. Love the pics. I’ll share it on my blog déco and design

furnished rental Calgary - October 29, 2011 Reply

This just shows what you can do if you really want to. You take a little and make a lot . Just looking at this you would not think it was a studio? it looks very comfortable.I would stay in this and feel like a queen. Keep the good work up whom ever this studio belongs to

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Jin Jarnus - April 23, 2012 Reply

Generally it is fairly easy to take out a loan on an apartment as long as it has the size of about two or more bedrooms. Banks and lenders have no qualms of granting loans on these purchases. The difficulty is essentially when one would like to loan in order to purchase a single bedroom or studio type apartment. These are also called bachelor pads, bedsitter units, or single bedroom apartments. The reason why banks are adverse to these apartments is that they think that the resale of these apartments will be difficult, and in case of default, it will be hard to get back the money through a sale of the property.

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Ryan - October 30, 2012 Reply

I have a studio apartment that is approx. 400 sq feet, and I recommend utilizing a modern style loft bed. I put a loveseat under my queen loft bed, but I think a great use is to put a desk under as well. See http://www.francislofts.com for aluminum loft beds that are designed for adults. They have 10 unique colors to choose from.

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boy room decoration ideas - April 8, 2013 Reply

Boys are usually not that into fairytales like girls.

Lots of new corporations or current one give superior pay to interior
designers to style the workplace or renovate it. Again you will discover
numerous styles and alternatives when getting a single of these accessories including completely enclosed
display cabinets.

Bob Ratcliff - December 31, 2013 Reply

Tip for those looking at great design photo’s. Look for the three following things before falling in love. Where’s a telephone, plenty of lights and a clock next to the bed? That picture above is luscious yet I only saw one light and none of the other. As a designer myself, I’ve found people are the happiest in an environment that “works” for them, not just looks pretty. We can have both, but it’s tricky. I loved many of the other ideas listed in this article:)

TomLeeM - December 31, 2013 Reply

those are really good tips; IMO.

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[…] of brightening a room and making it feel less cloistered. You’ve probably heard someone advise using mirrors to make small rooms feel large. The mirror approach is often a bit drastic and obvious, but you […]

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Shannon - April 25, 2014 Reply

Proper cleaning is easy and requires little except a few supplies and roof
blinds some time.

decoracion de interiores - September 15, 2014 Reply

I love this ideas, thanks!! 😉

home decorating ideas - October 3, 2014 Reply

those are really good tips

Mikey - February 27, 2015 Reply

This is a good one no.but I think the way you do and we can make it together a home and lay our heads down on a pillow or some books ..yes

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Casas Pequeñas - July 28, 2016 Reply

well i think decorating small studios and even in apartments is difficult , I mean if you live in a tiny house like me , you have to make your best to saves spaces and more in decorating time.

I will be applying those tips right away .

Thanks to be so care with our community.

Keep working like this
This is Jesus Rodriguez From http://www.casaspequenas.org the biggest comunity for latin people in usa and Spain.

Georgia B - November 28, 2016 Reply

I love your tip on creating a focus point in the room. I’m about to move into a studio apartment and have been looking for ways to make it feel as spacious as possible. I think finding a focal point for the room would be perfect, especially since my apartment does have a great fireplace!

Archer - January 1, 2017 Reply

Awesome Idea.. How much is the sq of the example above picture? I’m interested to design my place like this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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Ellie Davis - April 20, 2018 Reply

I like where you suggest using something like a wicker basket to store clutter and make the room seem more put together. My husband and I have been wanting to redecorate our living room but with our apartment being small we weren’t sure the best way to do this. I think I am ready to start looking into finding cute decor to give the place a new vibe.

Amaia Bacolod - August 16, 2019 Reply

Thank you for your tips! I will definitely using these tips to decorate my condo at Amaia Philippines!

Sheena Hans - August 27, 2019 Reply

My unit is too small, and its kinda hard to decorate, good thing, I’ve ready your article, it gave me an idea on what to do on my condo. Thank you. 🙂

Jerry Woods - October 22, 2019 Reply

I loved how you mentioned that light makes a space seem larger than it actually is. My wife and I are wanting to move into a tiny home and we were wondering how to make our house look bigger even though it will be small. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should have windows without blinds to make it appear big.

Tristan - December 12, 2019 Reply

I love your tips to do double duty with your furniture so that you can have lots of storage options. My parents are retiring in a small apartment because they don’t want to care for a yard or lots of different rooms. I’ll let them know that they need to find some new furniture soon so they can save space and be more comfortable.

Tyler Johnson - December 13, 2019 Reply

That’s good to know that mirrors will make the room look larger. I feel like if you were in a small apartment with a roommate or two then that would be useful. I should look into getting some mirrors for my son when he leaves for college so that his apartment will feel bigger.

Rick Davis - March 17, 2020 Reply

It’s interesting to learn that mirrors can make a room feel larger. My wife and I are moving into an apartment soon and we were wondering how we can make our living room appear larger than it is. I’ll be sure to tell her that we should add big mirrors into the living room.

Joe Hall - June 29, 2020 Reply

I really like your idea to use wicker baskets throughout the apartment as storage. They are always in style, and they can hide away a lot of items. My spouse and I are moving to a new apartment this year and we need to get some storage options so that we are clean and organized.

Afton Jackson - July 19, 2020 Reply

Thank you for pointing out how you can use light to make the apartment room seem bigger than it is. One of the things that I was concerned the most about when living in an apartment was how cramped it might end up feeling. Your tips sound like the perfect way to add natural feelings of space without spending much extra money, so I’ll definitely keep them in mind when searching for apartment listings I can stay at.

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