Let’s face it: living in a studio is awesome but it isn’t always easy. The small open space has all of the comforts of home — and certainly lends itself to a lower price tag — but it can be a shock to downgrade from shared housing or even a one-bedroom apartment to a studio or loft space.
However, many have mastered the challenges of studio living long before you and there is no reason you cannot make the space just as functional and comfortable as any other type of dwelling. Below are four common problems that come along with studio apartments — and the easiest ways to solve them.
Challenge #1: It’s one big room.
Often times, a studio is one extra-large room without much clear separation between dining, living and in some cases sleeping areas.
Solution: Create visual divisions.
You don’t have to build walls or erect partitions to define the spaces in your studio. Instead, use pieces of furniture and décor to divide up areas into different zones. For example, a decorative rug can tie together your living area and cement its dimensions: everything on and around the carpet becomes part of the living room zone. Then, you could try popping a decorative screen next to your bed to show where the bedroom — and a little bit of privacy — begins.
Challenge #2: Buying furniture is difficult.
Even with the measurements of your space in hand, you don’t quite know how an extra-large sofa is going to look in your studio until it gets there.
Solution: Go for slightly smaller pieces
Sometimes, that extra-large couch will make a statement in a small space. But your best bet for a studio is to go slightly smaller with a loveseat or other seating that takes up less room than the average three seater or L-shaped couch. The same goes for the rest of the pieces in your space — scale it all back to suit the size of the overall space. By investing in smaller options you’ll play up the vast proportions of your high lofty ceilings and impressive open living space. Plus, it’s more likely your smaller pieces will fit easily into your next home when it’s time to move on.
Challenge #3: I want to personalise the décor.
You want to bring life, colour and individuality into your stark neutrally decorated loft, but with such a big space you don’t know where to begin.
Solution: Small upgrades make a big difference.
If you’re renting your studio, you probably can’t paint or make other big upgrades to the walls, cabinetry, construction, fittings etc. But there are small swaps you can make to give your space a personal decorative look without breaking the terms of your lease.
For one, your kitchen cabinets will get an instant upgrade not with a coat of paint, but rather with a new set of hardware. You can remove the existing knobs (and store them in a bag until you move out and have to put them back as your landlord had them). Try and find a set that’s similar in size to the ones you have so you don’t have to drill new holes to install them; that way, swapping the hardware in and out will be easy.
You can also go dramatic with your accessories to give the space more of a decorative punch. Hanging curtains instead of blinds, for example, will add drama and make the space seem larger, especially if they hang the full length of the wall: it will make the window and space feel taller.
Challenge #4: There’s not enough storage.
Your studio may come with a closet or some built-ins if you’re lucky. But most one bedroom dwellings leave much to be desired in terms of the storage they provide.
Solution(s): Go vertical, get creative & purge your closet.
You’ve probably already used the obvious storage spaces, like the gap beneath your bed. Now, you need more room, and the best place to look for extra storage opportunities is up.
Tall but narrow storage is the best use of your small amount of loft floor space. Do some searching through furniture catalogues and online shops to find dressers that are narrower but taller; you can also add floating shelving with baskets to expand upward if you can’t find the perfect thin piece of furniture. There are also plenty of versatile pieces of furniture that double as storage. Everything from ottomans, to mirrors, to beds with built-in drawers will make your studio life more organised.
And, just to make it easier to find a home for everything, make sure your studio storage is only housing the things you need. Go through and clear out your closet, for example, and remove everything that you no longer wear, everything that’s damaged, etc. Coming into your studio with less will make storage much simpler.
Make it your own
No matter which of the above solutions you plan to use in your own place, the most important thing to do is make your studio a reflection of who you are. That’s the easiest way to make a house feel like home, no matter how big — or small — it is.