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How to Design a Studio Apartment Layout that Works

Studio apartment in Moscow-City

Vostok / Getty Images

Designing a studio apartment layout presents its own set of unique challenges. On one hand, you’ll want to break up the space in a way that makes sense. On the other, there’s no reason for function to override aesthetics. The following design techniques help you achieve the best of both worlds. They’re our favorite tips for creating a space that truly works for you, no matter how small it may be.

Small office interior with projector screenExperienceInteriors / Getty Images

Limit the color scheme

What does color scheme have to do with layout? It’s more important than you might think. Overly-complicated schemes have a tendency to make small apartments feel choppy or too busy.Focus on choosing two or three colors and incorporating them throughout the entire apartment, rather than in just one particular section. This helps tie your entire studio together in a way that’s very easy for the eye to process. It also helps the overall design feel more cohesive.As always, you should follow the 60-30-10 color rule. When working with such limited square footage, we highly suggest having your dominant shade (60%) be a neutral color, in order to open up the space as much as possible. Then, choose a middling shade (30%) for your secondary color and, finally, use pops of something bolder (10%) as your accent color.

Living room in modern studio apartments.

IP Galentarnik D.U.

Divide wisely

When designing your studio, you need to divide your space up somehow. That said, not all dividers are created equal. Using too many, or the wrong type, leaves your space feeling choppy, or unnecessarily cut off from the rest of the room. Before you run out and buy dividers, it’s important to determine where, and how, you’re going to use them.Classic room dividers work best in areas where you truly do need a little more privacy—consider them for the area around your bed. However, to avoid making your space feel too separated, opt for a divider that lets natural light shine through. Open shelving is an excellent option, as it provides the added benefit of additional storage.Look into alternatives for the remainder of the apartment. A well-placed sofa or entertainment center separates the space without making your design feel segregated. If you choose either of these options, pick lower pieces you can see over — doing so brings a sense of depth to the room.

Decor that puts the living into living roomLumiNola / Getty Images

Define each functional area

One of the biggest mistakes we see with studio apartment decorating is the desire to make the space feel too utilitarian. This often occurs when people work with limited budgets, and hope to move into larger living arrangements in the future, causing them to neglect investing in their studio’s design.Don’t do your design a disservice! Each section of your open concept layout serves a distinct purpose. Your goal should be making each section of your space feel like a room unto itself, even if there aren’t any walls or doors for separation.It doesn’t take much to transform a design from “strictly functional” to “purposefully designed.” For example: something as simple as a few throw rugs really ground each area. Adding a few accessories—especially appropriate textiles and décor elements—creates a sense that the area has been fully finished.

Interiors of a bedroom

Audras / Getty Images

Create visual height

When dealing with limited square footage, visual height is one of your best tools for making your space feel as large as possible. By purposefully drawing eyes upward, you ensure that everyone who sees your home is taking in the space as a whole, rather than just the tiny section at eye level, making your design look and feel more complete.To make it happen, utilize anything that draws eyes toward the ceiling. Here’s a few examples and suggestions to get you started:

  • Invest in verticle shelving
  • Use a room divider
  • Invest in some sizable wall art
  • Hang a vertical mirror
  • Hang things from the wall to create vertical storage
  • Consider using a hanging light fixture as your statement piece

Open space interior with a bedroom cornerFilippoBacci / Getty Images

Due to square footage constraints, laying out a studio apartment requires different design techniques than a decorating a traditional home. However, with a little forethought, planning and inspiration, you can easily create a space that’s both functional and beautiful. If you need a little help figuring out your studio layout, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you put together an apartment layout you’ll love.Do you live in a studio apartment? If so, what tips do you have for making tspace feel as functional as possible? Share them with us in the comments.

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