43 imaginative studio apartment ideas to make the most of your small space
Transform a compact space into a palace with our pick of the best studio apartment ideas
Anyone who’s ever had to decorate a studio apartment will tell you that it’s no mean feat. While on the one hand you might think less space equals less decor to think about, striking the right balance between cosy and calm can be a tricky task when you have one single room to act as your bedroom, living room, kitchen and home office.
If you’re starting to think that making your studio feel homely but not cluttered, cohesive but separate is an impossible task, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to tell you that with a little bit of planning and some clever décor tips, anyone can transform their studio apartment into their own little slice of heaven – because if there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s that you shouldn’t have to have lots of space to express your own personal style.
With these studio apartment ideas, you can maximise the feeling of space in your flat without having to sacrifice your decor personality. Keep reading to discover a gallery of our favourite studio apartment ideas, plus all your top studio decorating dilemmas, answered!
Studio apartment ideas
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How do you decorate a studio apartment?
Unfortunately, there's no secret formula when it comes to decorating a studio apartment, as each space will differ in size, lighting, age and style. It's super important that you keep these factors in mind, as choosing furniture and accessories that complement the age of your home will ultimately result in a space that feels harmonious and cohesive.
That being said, the most important thing to remember when decorating your apartment is that you shouldn't be afraid to choose pieces that encapsulate your individual style, just because you're working with a small space. Below, we've outlined a few small space decor tips that will ensure you have plenty of room to fill your home with your favourite characterful and charming treasures.
Try using transparent furniture
While dark, chunky furniture certainly has its place in a number of decor schemes, when it comes to decorating a studio apartment, it's all about striking the right balance between feature furniture and functional furniture.
In other words, while you definitely shouldn't shy away from choosing a few standout pieces, you should also have a number of more subtle pieces that allow your statement furniture to shine while still fulfilling a functional purpose. One of the easiest ways to do this is by incorporating clear furniture into your scheme.
Transparent furniture makes a fantastic addition to a studio apartment for a number of reasons. Not only is it incredibly stylish and timeless, but its light-reflecting, 'see-through' qualities instantly create the illusion of more space, as they trick the eye to believe there's more room than there actually is.
A set of perspex dining chairs, for example, will allow light to pass through them and subsequently create a more flowing, open feel to your studio, while a set of solid, dark wood chairs, will absorb the light and appear as though they're 'filling up' the space beneath your table, making it feel more cluttered.
While we're by no means suggesting you should only have transparent furniture in your apartment, incorporating a few clear pieces - even if it's something as simple as a glass coffee table - will add to the illusion of space, thus allowing you to incorporate those all important statement pieces without having your space look overwhelmed.
Choose slimline furniture
Once upon a time, getting your hands on furniture for compact spaces was near enough impossible. Thankfully, nowadays, the majority of our favourite homeware brands cater to small-space living, as the number of people living in apartments and flats gets higher and higher.
Opting for slimline furniture is one of the simplest ways you can maximise the feeling of room in your studio apartment, and the great news is that you don't have to compromise on style, either. We suggest checking out your best-loved home brands' websites, as they will often have dedicated ranges that have been specially designed for small space living. Our favourite's are Dunelm's compact living section, Wayfair's 'furniture for small spaces' range and Argos' 'Small room ideas' page.
Opt for nesting tables
One of the frequently encountered dilemmas in studio apartment living is the need for adaptable surface space. For the majority of the time you might only need a small coffee table or side table, but it's always nice to be able to cater to friends and family if they happen to pop round. This is where nesting tables come in!
Nesting tables are great for small space living because they essentially provide you with three different table options, while most of the time only taking up the space of one. By the same token, it might also be worth looking into extendable dining tables, as this will give you a bit of flexibility and allow you to have more seating options should the need for them arrive. Made.com have some really nice extending tables that switch between 2-4 seating options, as well as some that switch between 4-6.
Add plenty of mirrors
You certainly don't have to be a decor aficionado to know the transformative power a mirrors can have on a room, but when it comes to studio apartment decor, it's worth thinking outside the box.
Indeed, hanging a statement mirror in all the usual places - above a fireplace mantle or on a hallway wall - will all add to the illusion of more space, but it's also useful to think about incorporating mirrored surfaces in some more unusual spots in your studio.
If you've got any awkward spaces that are too small for wall art or a traditional mirror, why not consider completely covering it with mirrored panels? Why not replace your existing kitchen splashback with a single mirrored panel, or use mirrored tiles to transform your fireplace surround? The more reflective surfaces you have, the more light will bounce around the room and create the illusion of more space - plus, it'll add an interesting talking point.
How do I make my studio apartment luxurious?
Want to know how to make your studio apartment feel luxurious? We've outlined the essential steps below:
When we caught up with iconic designer Kelly Hoppen, she shared that the most important thing you can do to elevate a space is add texture. Layer as many different textures as possible - think cushions, rugs, blankets and throws - but don't forget about the rest of your space either.
Add texture to your walls with interesting wallpapers, choose beautifully flowing window dressings, and try to include a few decorative accessories with interesting textures too. Use trays to display beautiful objects and pillar candles on your coffee table, and showcase fresh flowers in a statement vase with an interesting textured finish. It'll make the world of difference, and instantly give your studio a more expensive look.
Choose a colour palette
Choose a colour palette of five colours - three of the same shade but in varying intensities, a light accent colour - ideally with the same undertone - and a dark accent colour.
Use the colours from this palette in the entirety of your studio apartment to create a sense of cohesion and flow that'll instantly add luxury vibes. If you're not sure what palette suits your style the most, you really can't go wrong with neutrals or earth tones - you can always add a splash of colour with your accent accessories, and switch this up as seasons change.
Have multiple light sources
It seems like a simple thing, but lighting is one of the most important things to get right if you want your apartment to have a luxury vibe. Experts suggest that each room should normally have around eight different light sources, but in a studio apartment, you might want to have more so you can distinguish between the different zones.
Use lots of lamps to create little pools of light, but also consider using plant uplighters, spotlights and strip lighting (put these under cabinets and shelving) for added drama. Wall sconces also look great, and if you're renting, you can get battery powered ones and stick them on with command strips.
Hang artwork, and illuminate it with picture lights
Whether it's framed prints, a canvas or a decorative wall hanging, adding wall art to your space is one of the quickest ways you can inject personality whilst making your space look expensive.
Got a limited budget to spend on wall art? Don't panic as we have 14 ways of sourcing free pictures - or almost free!
When it comes to choosing your artwork, don't be afraid to experiment with scale - although it can be tempting to choose small pieces so they don't overwhelm your space, opting for larger prints and canvases will actually create a much more luxurious effect and give the impression of more room. And, most importantly, don't forget to use picture lights to illuminate your chosen wall art - this will immediately elevate your space and give it a luxury look.
Pick your window dressings carefully
If you want your studio to have expensive hotel vibes, always opt for floor to ceiling window dresses. Try hanging your curtain pole way above the top of your window, and make sure your curtain flows all the way down to touch the floor if you want a luxury look.
Voile works really well in studio apartments as it lets the light flood through while still giving you a sense of privacy. If you'd rather have a less sheer window dressing, you can always layer a sheer voile fabric underneath some floor-to-ceiling black out curtains - the double layer will immediately add a sense of opulence, but on a practical level, it works really well too.
How do you layout a studio?
The most important thing when laying out your studio is making sure you create distinct areas. Ideally, you should have a separate sleeping area, living area, dining area and kitchen area, and the key to achieving this sense of separation is all about creating distinct zones.
Use rugs, room dividers, screens, curtains and lighting to section off different areas of your apartment, and decorate them so that they have a different 'feel' to each other. It's important to have designated spaces where you can eat, work, relax and so on, so make sure the decor in each area is conducive to how you want to feel in that part of your home.
When deciding on your layout, it's also useful to think about how each space flows into the other on a practical level - you might rather have your bed next to your living space than your kitchen, and so on. If you're struggling to visualise how it's all going to work, use masking tape on the floor to map out what's going to go where - this is a great way to check if you can walk through your space with ease as well as finding out if everything fits.
How do you fit everything in a small studio apartment?
- Choose furniture that has inbuilt storage solutions - think ottoman beds and sideboards with concealed compartments
- Opt for multifunctional furniture - nowadays you can get sideboards with hidden bin storage inside
- Find wall mounted furniture to increase floor space - this will create the illusion of more space too
- Utilise wall space - you might not have room to display trinkets on a table, but they'll fit on open shelving
- Use vacuum pack storage bags - keep out of season clothing and decor in these to maximise wardrobe space
Looking for more small space decorating ideas? Check out our guide on how to make a small room feel bigger, plus our favourite small bathroom ideas: eight style tips for a small space!
Thea Jeffreys is the Digital Writer on YourHomeStyle.uk, and is passionate about all things home décor. When she’s not scouring the internet for budget-friendly homeware finds, you’ll find her writing about the latest interior trends and handy upcycling tricks.