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Home Design Tips: How to Decorate a Small Studio Apartment

A small studio apartment can look and feel like a tiny dorm room if not decorated properly. With careful space planning and the right decor, you can maximize every square inch of your studio apartment to create a home you would love to come back to. You may be wondering how you’re going to fit the living room, kitchen, dining area, and bedroom into one single open floor plan without feeling cramped. Well, we’ve got answers. We’ve rounded up some home design tips to help you decorate a small studio apartment and transform it into a beautiful home.



Keep the colors light


A clever home design tip to decorate a studio apartment is to keep the paint colors light to give your small space the illusion of a bigger one. Although darker colors can bring a nice touch of drama, when in doubt, always try to lighten and brighten up your small studio to keep the space open. A common suggestion is to go with neutral colored walls and incorporate colorful accents through furniture and decor. Sticking to one color palette throughout the entire space will help bring a sense of cohesion throughout, even after you’ve split your apartment into different sections. Not only do lighter colors make a space feel bigger, but so does natural lighting. Leaving the space in front of windows bare and welcoming the natural light will help brighten and open up any small space.



Design an accent wall


If you’re set on incorporating darker shades in your studio apartment, but you’re afraid of it shrinking the look of your space, a helpful home design tip is to create an accent wall with it. A dark accent wall in a small studio is the perfect way to build some visual interest in your open space. If you’re renting a space that does not allow paint on the walls, there are many other alternatives to painting apartment walls. You can use stick-on decals, create a gallery wall of decorative items and framed photos, or use bold patterned wallpaper to serve as a giant piece of art behind your bed, in your kitchen, or in your living room. This is a great alternative to make an impact when decorating a studio apartment, which can be limited with a small space.



Create an illusion of a bigger space


When dealing with small spaces, an immediate goal is to create the illusion of a bigger space. One of the easiest small studio apartment design ideas to accomplish this is to include large mirrors. This shiny added touch reflects light and bounces it around a small space, making an open floor plan feel more expanded. If a floor mirror does not flow with the rest of your space, you can create a gallery wall of mirrors to carry out the same effect.


High ceilings are beneficial to small spaces as it makes a studio apartment feel less cramped and caved in. If your studio apartment doesn’t have high ceilings, there is a quick fix to bring that illusion to your smaller space. Floor-to-ceiling curtains draw the eyes upward and like mirrors, make a small room look and feel larger than it is. Hanging tall curtains using a curtain rod that’s placed generously above the top of the window also creates the illusion that the windows are larger than they are.



Utilize multi-purpose furniture and hidden storage


The best space saving home design tip is to utilize multi-purpose furniture and hidden storage to conceal and reduce the clutter and keep what is visible to the eye organized and minimal. All-in-one furniture pieces like container beds are a great example of multi-purpose furniture because it comes with closet space, storage drawers, and under bed storage, which decreases the amount of furniture in your studio apartment layout. Another clever interior design idea is to switch out your bed for a daybed that can convert to a sofa when you’re not sleeping. This provides extra seating options for guests in your studio apartment. If you prefer your bed over a daybed but still want the versatility of a bed that can become a couch, simply place your bed against the wall and use pillows to create a couch-like look.


Finding double-duty furniture pieces that can also act as storage is the key to decorate a small studio apartment in an efficient way. A bed with built-in storage underneath or an elevated bed frame with legs or wooden pallets that gives you space to create under bed storage are ideal for a small studio apartment. Murphy beds and drop-leaf tables are also popular as the ultimate pieces of space-saving furniture that can easily be folded back into a storage closet or entertainment center. An interior design decorating hack is to find a coffee table that doubles as storage, such as a trunk or ottoman with hidden storage inside.



Put your clothes on display


If your studio apartment floor plan doesn’t include a closet, there are many creative solutions to make your own “walk-in closet” and put your clothes on display like a work of art. Adding floating shelves creates storage space on walls that had none and open up a space. Hooks can be hung to hold coats, scarves, bags, purses, etc. Hanging pipes, ladders, or other creative elements are fun and eye-catching ways to hold and display your clothes. A rolling garment rack is another simple solution that makes moving your closet space to different areas an easy process.



Create division


An open floor plan lacks separation between distinct spaces, such as a bedroom and living room. A home design tip to decorate a small studio apartment is to create your own dividers to help make your apartment feel less like a dorm room and more like a comfortable home. Rugs are a necessity with open floor plans because they assist in creating the look of separate “rooms” and distinguished areas. Your bedroom should be a relaxing place and it’s hard to feel that way when you’re lying in bed and staring at your kitchen. Creating a division between where you sleep and the rest of your studio apartment is essential to making your small studio apartment feel like home. There are many different ways to create dividers for privacy including bookshelves, curtains, folding screens, and built-in sliding doors.


Dividers should be chosen carefully as some can make a studio feel choppy or confined. A home design tip is to use open bookshelves because they allow light to flow through, which will prevent the space from feeling completely closed off. Dividers that let light through and aren’t extremely tall can show visual division without feeling cramped.



Be bold


There are plenty of ways to be bold without using a single drop of paint. Decorating a space with large pieces of art is a simple way to add a pop of color to your walls and have decorative pieces that stand out, which gives the eyes something exciting to look at. Instead of hanging the art piece, you can also lay the art pieces against the wall on the floor or in front of bookcases to hide clutter. Bold accent pieces, including colorful area rugs, throws, and curtains, vibrant throw pillows, and multi-colored ottomans, bring in color and fun design elements without taking over or using up generous amounts of useful space in your small studio apartment.



Create a nook


A small space below a window in a studio apartment is the perfect place to create a nook. With the simple addition of a storage bench and some decorative cushions and pillows, it becomes a comfy little reading nook. Placing a small table in front of the seating arrangements easily transforms the area into an office space or a breakfast nook. Creating a corner nook is beneficial to turning one single space into a multi-purpose area, from a hangout area with guests to a dining area or a home office.



Hang things


Wall and ceiling space should never be wasted when working with a small studio apartment layout. Your walls are an open canvas and adding hooks or pegs give you the opportunity to hang functional items and decor to save space. Your small studio apartment may not have plenty of free floor space to turn your studio into a plant paradise, but your ceiling does. Amazon has many affordable ceiling plant hangers and pots that can add greenery to your space without compromising the little space you have.


If your kitchen counters and cabinets aren’t providing you with enough storage, a few simple additions can open your eyes to a new world of storage space. Hanging pot racks from the ceiling can hold some of the larger and bulkier items that take up the most space in your cabinets. Installing floating shelves is a great way to nicely display and store your cups, plates, and bowls and even your spice rack. Every inch of your space can be adjusted for maximum efficiency, storage, and appeal.


Don’t let 600 square feet or less stop you from designing an awesome space. With our decorating tips and our free DecorMatters app, designing your studio apartment is going to be a lot less tricky. Get started on creating a comfortable studio apartment you’ll want to show off!



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