How to Successfully Decorate Your Studio Apartment, No Matter How Small

studio apartment ideas, room with a kitchen, pink chair, and small round table i the back
25 Inspiring Studio Apartment Ideas Vostok - Getty Images

Living in a studio apartment doesn't have to mean skimping on style. Despite it being a bedroom, living room, kitchen and almost every other room in one, the right layout can make the compact space feel grand. To help you out, we've gathered creative studio apartment ideas and designer-approved tips to maximize every square inch of your space, even if it's less than 400 square feet.

There's so much to consider in order to make your studio cozy and functional. Imagine the possibilities: You can use a room divider to designate zones; place art (and kitchen appliances like a microwave) on ledges; install tall shelves to free up floor space; or try a space-saving Murphy bed (perfect for hosting overnight guests). And let's not forget that you can easily bring your space to life with the right paint color or graphic wallpaper!

No matter your personal style — modern, minimalist, traditional or rustic, for instance — you can make your studio apartment one of the best places you've ever lived with these inspiring design ideas. Get ready to think big and live large!

Take Advantage of Ceiling Height

"Since there's typically not a plethora of floor space in studio apartments, utilize tall shelving units for display and storage purposes," says Molly Torres Portnof of DATE Interiors. "This will also make the room feel larger." Plus, you'll be able to see your favorite things clearly and quickly grab what you need.

studio apartment ideas, room with shelves full of things and a guitar on the floor and wall
Louisa & Fyodor

Utilize Every Part of the Kitchen

A small yet practical built-in table or peninsula can offer just enough seating to work, entertain and enjoy meals in the kitchen. It replaces the need for a kitchen island, which consumes much more space.

studio apartment ideas, studio apartment with a kitchen to the side and a small table in the back
Vostok - Getty Images

Utilize Ledges on the Wall

This basement apartment in Mount Washington features a charming bedroom, complete with ledges to display art and collectibles. "We used vintage pieces and lots of found art depicting the neighborhood," says Julia Chasman of Julia Chasman Design.

studio apartment ideas, basement with a bed and art and collectibles on wall ledges
Sean Ryan Pierce

Try an Accent Wall With Wallpaper

Designer Ruthie Staalsen recommends installing black and white peel-and-stick wallpaper behind your bed. "It gives it a designer look and makes your small space feel more fresh, open and fun," she says. The other elements, like your bedding, can be full of color.

studio apartment ideas, black and white wallpaper behind bed with yellow bedding
Ruthie Staalsen

Layer Color and Texture

Color "immediately gives you a joyful welcome," Staalsan says. It doesn't matter what style you want to replicate in your studio, get creative when mixing and matching colors in your design. Add texture by incorporating multiple patterns, such as florals, stripes and polka dots.

studio apartment ideas, room with a green sofa and vibrant pillows
Nathan Schroeder Photography

Go Small With Your Desk

Reconsider the size of your tables and desks, along with their placement. "A small organic desk fits nicely in a corner and takes up minimal space," says designer Glenna Stone. "It provides an artistic element and can also double as a unique dining table."

studio apartment ideas, small desk in the corner of a room with a chair
Rachel McGinn

Install Plenty of Shelves

In a studio apartment, shelves will be your best friend. Install floating shelves anywhere you see fit — think above your couch or bed. Arrange belongings on bookshelves and add built-ins for more permanent storage.

studio apartment ideas, white shelves behind the couch
Rachel McGinn/ Designer: Glenna Stone Interior Design

Incorporate a Bar Cart

Squeeze in a bar cart for entertaining, similar to this industrial-inspired pick. Bar carts aren't just great for displaying drinks and glasses — they can also be used to store books, plants and small decorative accents. Plus, they can easily be moved around throughout the open space.

RELATED: The Best Bar Carts to up Your Hosting Game

studio apartment ideas, bar cart by the kitchen with drinks and glasses
Gloribell LeBron/ Designer: Nicole White Designs Interiors

Upgrade the Bathroom

Your studio's bathroom might not be as big as you want, making the layout all the more important. "We renovated the small bathroom with a 3/4 shower and vanity," says Chasman. The square corner shower doesn't require as much space as others, while the vanity has multiple drawers for essential items.

RELATED: Creative Bathroom Storage Ideas to Make the Most of a Small Layout

studio apartment ideas, bathroom with old school vanity and corner shower
Sean Ryan Pierce

Remove Unnecessary Walls

Nicole White of Nicole White Designs removed a wall to create an open-concept kitchen, and you can do the same in your studio! This made "room for seating at a peninsula and easy conversation with guests at the dining table," she says. Then, she maximized storage with an apartment-sized fridge that was 28 inches wide.

studio apartment ideas, kitchen with open space and island with stools
Gloribell LeBron

Choose Simple Dining Furniture

Seating arrangements don't have to be grand and extravagant to make a design statement. In fact, your space may benefit from an elegant round dining table with minimal seating for hosting.

RELATED: Elegant Dining Room Decor Ideas, No Matter Your Home Style

studio apartment ideas, round table with two seats
Liz Daly/ Designer: Carolyn Thayer Interiors

Define Zones

"When it comes to a studio apartment, start by carving out distinct zones," says Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Studio. "Think about arranging your furniture in a way that defines different areas – like a cozy living space, a stylish sleeping nook and a functional workspace." She recommends using area rugs, stylish room dividers and furniture placements to create visual separation. "This way, you'll create a harmonious flow while maintaining individuality in each," she says.

studio apartment ideas, space witha blue couch on the tight and seating on the left with a rug between
Kerrie Kelly Studio

Experiement With Lighting and Color

Kelly considers lighting and color to be "the magic wands of interior design." She suggests using transparent curtains or blinds to allow natural light to come through. "When it comes to colors, opt for light and neutral tones to visually expand your space," she says. "Add pops of color through accent pillows, artwork or decorative accessories." Kelly's finishing touch: strategically placing mirrors so they'll "bounce light around and make your cozy haven feel more inviting."

studio apartment ideas, office room with wide windows and a desk in front
Kerrie Kelly Studio

Make Room for Storage

Use a barn door to section off the hallway from the living space, similar to this setup by designer Ayca Stiffel of By Design Interiors. Carve out an area to use as storage space. Don't forget to add wall hooks and a storage bench!

studio apartment ideas, space with hooks with a blanket hanging
Daniel Angulo Photography

Paint Everything White

Brighten a small studio apartment with white walls and furniture. This works great for spaces with minimal access to light and helps evoke a grander feel.

studio apartment ideas, studio apartment painted white with white furniture
Ziga Plahutar - Getty Images

Save Space for Entertainment

"In studio apartments, the living areas need to be used for both relaxation and entertainment, so I always like to consider including a sleeper sofa as a secondary sleeping space for guests," says Ashton Joseph, senior interior designer of By Design Interiors. In this setup, the sofa makes room for table football and small stools that can act as extra seating in a pinch.

RELATED: The Best Sleeper Sofas to Transform Your Space for Overnight Guests

studio apartment ideas, room with a white sofa and a football table
Daniel Angulo Photography

Use Bar Stools in the Kitchen

"Bar stools along the island create an additional dining and social area, as well being a functional space for meal prep," says Joseph. What's more, they can easily boost your kitchen's visual appeal.

studio apartment ideas, barstools by kitchen island
Daniel Angulo Photography

Make the Kitchen the Focal Point

If the kitchen is your favorite place to be, don't position space off to the side. Instead, make it the studio's focal point, similar to this open kitchen with island seating. The kitchen even has a "movable" island that can be wheeled around the room for additional prep and dining.

studio apartment ideas, kitchen in the center of the room with an island
Daniel Angulo Photography/ Designer: By Design Interiors, in collaboration with Erika Barczak

Use Double-Duty Furniture

According to Stone, "day beds can double as extra seating or a reading nook," says Stone. They're comfortable, functional and can be used as beds for you or your guests! "Scoot it up to a table to maximize seating capacity, or snuggle in to read a book with a comfortable throw," Stone says.

studio apartment ideas, white day bed in a room with two pillows
Rachel McGinn/ Designer: Glenna Stone Interior Design

Rethink Your Seating

Carolyn Thayer of Carolyn Thayer Interiors designed this Boston studio with various seating throughout. A space-saving tip: Go for smaller stools to place in corners or under tables, similar to this layout under the television. "Surprisingly, there is quite a bit of seating, making the space available for small gatherings when the pieces are all in use, but interesting and organized when not," she says.

studio apartment ideas, two stools under the white table with green art on the wall
Liz Daly

Install a Murphy Bed

We love Murphy beds for many reasons: they can be used as guest beds, they can look like a regular wall, and overall, they're just multifunctional! What's more, they can "transform the living room into a bedroom at night," says Thayer.

RELATED: 13 Space-Saving Beds for Small Rooms

studio apartment ideas, murphy bed with storage shelves on both sides
Liz Daly

Consider Built-In Seating

Here's an apartment-style reading nook and kitchen designed by By Design Interiors, in collaboration with Erika Barczak. Consider this layout for your own studio, where you can easily lounge during the day and walk "next door" to cook when looking for a bite.

studio apartment ideas, reading nook beside the kitchen
Daniel Angulo Photography

Create a Gallery Wall

One of the easiest ways to increase height in small spaces is to "create a gallery wall with different size frames and a curation of interesting elements," says Staalsen. Hang a collection of mirrors, photos, paintings and objects to create an instant focal point.

RELATED: Unique Photo Wall Ideas to Display Family Photos and More

studio apartment ideas, gallery wall with a bar cart in front
Nathan Schroeder Photography

Create a Multifunctional Dining Space

Use your kitchen island as a dining table or breakfast space. The island will help you when cooking or washing dishes, while offering guests a wide and longer table for eating together during gatherings.

studio apartment ideas, kitchen island used as a dining table with purple chairs
Daniel Angulo Photography/ Designer: Ashton Jospeh of By Design Interiors

Maximize Kitchen Space

If your kitchen's design has a smaller square footage, don't worry about space! "Make the most of a smaller compact floorplan by adding several storage options, such as cabinets, shelving and a small prep island," says Joseph.

studio apartment ideas, kitchen with two walkways
Daniel Angulo Photography

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