Just because you live in a tiny space doesn't mean it can't be well designed. Check out four important pointers for approaching studio living spaces.
Studio living is a way of life in many big cities such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York. A studio apartment is usually defined as a single room, which includes areas for cooking, eating, and sleeping, and it’s not uncommon for these spaces to be only 200 square-feet or less. While a few may have separate eating or sleeping areas from the rest of the common room, most are open layout. Living in a studio has its advantages, though, particularly in highly populated areas where space is at a premium. The key to creating a successful studio home lies in the design, and we have just the tips below.
1. Maximizing Visual Space
No matter how large a studio is, the simple fact remains that it’s never going to be spacious. For that reason, it sometimes helps to design the studio space in way that maximizes the visual size of the room. For example, using one coherent flooring material throughout the space, rather than using different floors for the kitchen and entry areas, can help create an unbroken line that makes the area appear larger than it is. Including plenty of light in the studio design can also help it feel larger than it is. This can be achieved through the use of windows and additional lighting fixtures, if needed. It’s not uncommon for studios with views of a city to include at least one wall of windows, both to maximize the view and to encourage a larger perception of open space. Make sure to use lighter window treatments, so as not to obscure the light and view you have.
2. Creating Functional Design
Space is limited in a studio, which is why function is so important for the design. This means that when designing the kitchen area, a lot of thought needs to go not only into the “working triangle” and the layout, but also into the storage of the room. If the ceilings are tall enough, sometimes an added row of upper cabinetry can help to maximize storage without taking up valuable space on the counters.
In addition, creating storage opportunities throughout the room (without interrupting the rest of the space) is also helpful. For example, cutting niches into the walls, rather than using bookcases or shelves can help facilitate better storage and display without cramping the area. Niches can also be used for things like desks or nightstands.
If room dividers are necessary, make sure that they hold some other function beyond simply dividing the space. Acoustic panels are one such idea, which both designate space but also reduce noise. Open shelving that allows you to store items (and still see through into the surrounding area) can help to increase storage and maximize the visual space in the room at the same time.
3. Multifunctional Furniture
Going hand-in-hand with functional design, we have to talk about furniture and spaces that double up on function. Since you can only fit so much furniture in a studio, it is useful for some of your pieces to double up on purpose. Your coffee table or media console can double as storage. An ottoman can serve as extra seating when you have guests. A desk can transform into a nightstand in the evening. And of course, there’s the classic sofa doubling as a guest bed in a pinch.
4. Design Around Living
While most people don’t set out to choose a studio to live in, many people end up embracing the life that comes with city living. Make sure to design studio spaces around the way that people live, not just around the building or number of occupants. When studios are designed with the occupants in mind, they become warm, welcoming places that are full of character, and just the type of home many city dwellers would love to make. Think of the way you interact with your home and make your studio unique to fit that way of life. Design for studio living on all levels to create a home that transcends its size.
For more on small space living in general, check out Homepolish designer Ariel Feldman’s shoppable guide.