Studio apartments may be cheaper than a multi-roomed apartment, but you have to admit, they can sometimes feel a little snug. A little cozy. Maybe a little…. small? Fortunately, there’s a solution. While there’s not a lot you can do about the physical size, there’s plenty you can do to make the apartment look, and more importantly feel, a whole lot roomier. If you’re tired of feeling cramped, check out these top ten ways to make a studio apartment feel bigger.
1. Get creative with mirrors
Mirrors can help make any space look instantly lighter, brighter, and more spacious. Incorporate a few into your décor to create the illusion of a wider, longer room. Don’t feel you need to be conventional with how you lay them out either – one large, centrally placed mirror can look dramatic (especially if its housed in an eye-catching frame), while an entire series of mirrors (either simply framed or frameless) running the width of a wall will do fabulous things to the sense of space.
2. Work with height, not width
Your studio apartment may be lacking in width and length, but it may be secretly making up for it in height. If you have soaring ceilings, use them to your advantage. Use wall shelves and hooks to create useful storage spaces – they’ll take up minimal space while giving you plenty of room to store any clutter.
3. Go light
If you want the studio to feel as bright and airy as possible, steer clear of dark colors and stick to light, bright colors that’ll help magnify the sense of space. Dark colors can be beautiful, but they tend to absorb light, making an already small space seem even smaller. Light colors, on the other hand, will help give the impression of space even where there isn’t any. You can also employ a few other little tricks to help ramp up the light – a mirror strategically placed next to a light source will reflect the light around the room, instantly making it feel lighter, brighter, and airier.
4. Turn the temperature down
It may sound crazy, but temperature has a big impact on how an apartment feels. Crank the temperature too high, and those walls will soon start to feel like they’re closing in on you. In the summer, a small apartment can start to feel unbearably claustrophobic… which is exactly where air-conditioning comes in handy. As interpages.org notes, skip the bulky, conventional A/C units and opt for a small, portable A/C instead. Not only will it keep the temperature at an even keel, but it’ll also take up so little space you won’t even notice it.
5. Double up on your furniture
Even if your apartment is on the petite side, you’re not going to be able to do without a certain amount of furniture. And furniture takes up room. So – make it work double time. Rather than take up valuable space with a bed AND a sofa, combine the two and get a sofa bed instead. As Apartment Therapy recommends, line-up the sofa bed against a wall to help cement the illusion of it being a simple sofa, and decorate with a few throws and cushions – no one will ever know the difference.
6. Make a focal point
6SQFT has several excellent ideas about how to make a small studio seem bigger, including this one about adding a focal point. Pick an existing feature (a fireplace or something similar) you’d like to accentuate and go to town with making it the main feature of the room by adding plants, artwork, and other bits of décor that draw the eye. If you don’t already have a feature that screams ‘focal point!’, make a new one. Perhaps you could make a feature wall by painting one of the walls in a different color before adding some big, colorful art pieces? Look at the room with an open eye, and then find a way to ramp one particular aspect of it up.
7. Make the most of storage
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to make a small space seem even smaller, it’s clutter. If your work surfaces, floor, chairs, and everything else is groaning under the weight of a thousand magazines, newspapers, documents, cups, plates, and detritus, it’s time to get sensible with storage. Under-bed storage is a great option for clothes, bed linen, books, and other odds and ends, taking up no extra room but giving you plenty of extra storage. Wicker baskets and shelving units are another two handy options worth incorporating.
8. Add plenty of light
If your studio’s dark, it’s going to feel even smaller than it actually is. Even if the apartment is blessed with plenty of natural sunlight, make sure you have enough artificial sources of light to keep things bright long after the sun’s gone down. Avoid single, centrally placed ceiling lights and opt instead for a tiered approach to lightening – as well as brightening up the room, it’ll let you match the ambiance to the occasion.
9. Avoid heavy furniture
Making a small studio seem larger than it really is is all about creating an illusion. Choosing furniture that’s raised from the ground won’t do anything to make your room physically bigger, but it’ll do a grand job of making it SEEM bigger. Steer clear of clunky, chunky furniture that will break up the flow of the room and opt for lighter pieces on legs that let you see under and around them with ease.
10. Create zones
Sometimes, the joy of open-plan living can start to wear thin. Carving out specific zones for specific purposes can make a dramatic difference to both the look and the feel of the apartment. A room divider, a bookcase, or a screen can all be used to create a physical barrier between the different areas… but don’t stop there. Art, accessories, rugs, or even tables can all work to give a sense of identity to the different parts of the room. Used wisely, they can stop the apartment feeling like one big bedroom and start feeling more like… well, an apartment.