Interior Design

A Guide to Living in a Studio Apartment


Studio apartment, efficiency apartment, and small apartment— all these terms refer to the same type of small living space. Many people, especially those in large cities with a high cost of living, are opting to call a micro apartment home. However, living in a studio apartment does come with unique challenges as well as surprising benefits.

If you’ve never lived in a small space, you might be wondering how to live in a studio apartment. With the right tips and tricks, you can make a small studio be just as comfortable as a larger apartment.

Our team has created a guide to living in a studio apartment. Read on to learn more about this type of living space and how to make the most of living in a tiny apartment. 

First, what is a studio apartment?

A studio apartment is different from a traditional one bedroom rental in several ways. However, the biggest difference between a studio vs. 1 bedroom apartment is the limited space. Most studio apartments have about 300 to 400 square feet of floor space. This is compared to about 700 to 1,000 square feet for a one bedroom apartment.

Aside from having less square footage, the other big difference between studios and other types of apartments is that there is no separate bedroom in a studio apartment.

Instead of having separate rooms like in a one or two bedroom apartment, you have different spaces in a studio. For example, you have a sleeping area, a living area, and a kitchen area all in the same room. Typically, you will have a separate room for your bathroom.

Studio apartments come in several different layouts, which can typically be divided into three different categories:

  • A living and sleeping area with a bathroom, a kitchen, and a closet in different rooms.
  • A living and bedroom area with a kitchen and a dining room on one side of the studio and closet and a bathroom on the other side.
  • A living, sleeping, and dining area with a kitchenette on one of the walls and a bathroom and a closet in separate rooms. This arrangement is the most likely to feel cramped without some creative design.

It might seem overwhelming to fit your entire life into a studio apartment. However, with some creativity and handy tips, you can reimagine a tiny space to make it become a comfortable home that will rival any bigger apartment.

Divide the space to create the illusion of a bedroom

When you’re living in a smaller apartment, you need to be creative with your use of the space. This is especially true when you’re living in a studio apartment. One of the biggest challenges for most renters is trying to find a way to separate the living and sleeping spaces.

One of the best ways to make it feel like you have a living room and a bedroom in a smaller space is to use a curtain, shelving unit, or a bedroom divider to create the illusion of having a separate bedroom. Doing this not only divides up the floor space, but also gives you more privacy and can help create a more peaceful sleeping area.

What if you have such limited space that dividing your entire apartment into different areas isn’t possible? Thankfully, there are options that can work perfectly if you’re living in an especially small studio apartment.

  • Make use of the vertical space and get a loft bed. If you’re wondering how to furnish a studio apartment, you can take a cue from large cities. Build your space upward, instead of outward. A loft bed can help you take advantage of the vertical space in your apartment, giving you a sleeping space up high and a living space below it.
  • Invest in some transitional furniture and hide it away. If you’d really prefer not to look at your bed when you aren’t using it, a daybed or a Murphy bed could be for you. While a daybed can be converted into seating, a Murphy bed can be hidden away in the wall during the day and pulled out to sleep on at night.
  • Take time to make your bed in the morning. Even though it can be annoying to make your bed every day, you have to admit it makes your space look so much more put together. And if you live in a studio apartment, it’s much harder to hide a messy bed behind closed doors, so take the time to make it look nice when you hop out of it.

Think about what you need and how much space you have

If you ask someone how to live in a studio apartment, they will likely tell you that less is more. Because you have less storage space and square footage, you need to think long and hard about what you actually need to put in your living space. 

Ask yourself, “What do I need to use every day, and will it fit inside my new studio apartment?” Your answer will likely include items like a bed, a loveseat, a dining table and chairs, and a TV. All these things can fit in most studio apartments.

However, if your answer included items like exercise equipment or a large sectional couch, you might need to think about getting a gym membership or purchasing a smaller sofa.

As you think about what to bring when you’re living in a studio apartment, you’ll also want to think about smaller items too. This includes clothing, grooming essentials, kitchen utensils, and even food.

  • Stick to the essentials when it comes to the kitchen and bathroom. Because you’ll have limited storage and counter space, it might not make sense to bring items like a tofu press, an ice cream maker, and an excessive makeup and hair product collection. Try to pair things down to what you’ll really need and use.
  • Avoid overstocking your fridge and pantry. While you don’t want to have an empty kitchen, you also don’t want to stock up like you’re preparing for the apocalypse. There’s a very good chance you won’t get around to eating all that food before it goes bad and it will clutter your living space in the meantime. 
  • Be smart about your clothing choices. Before you move, take a look at your wardrobe: what do you wear regularly and what haven’t you worn in months, or even years? You may want to create a capsule wardrobe that’s full of pieces that you can easily mix and match to create different looks without breaking the bank or requiring a ton of storage space for countless pieces.

Pick a furniture layout that works for you

As you’re wondering how to live in a studio apartment, you need to think about what you want to do in your space. 

  • If you want to entertain friends, you’ll need to come up with creative solutions to create more seating for guests.
  • If you’ll just be sleeping and getting ready at your apartment, you might only need a bed and place to store your clothing.

You’ll also want to think about whether you need to work from home. If you do, you’ll want to invest in multipurpose furniture. Instead of buying a dining room table and desk, you should consider buying a table that can serve both purposes. Or, if your studio apartment feels too cramped to work in, you could consider making the neighborhood coffee shop be your office.

As you think about how you’ll use the apartment, take time to think about whether you’re trying to make the space do too much for you. With only a few hundred square feet, it might not be reasonable to try to make it be your home, gym, office, and social space.

Finally, keep it clean because there’s nowhere to hide a mess

One of the biggest tips for living in a studio apartment relates to cleaning. Because you have a smaller living space with fewer doors to hide things behind, you’ll want to stay on top of your chores. Otherwise, your apartment will look cluttered and cramped, which can make spending time at home unpleasant at best and stressful at worst.

Here are some areas that you’ll want to focus on to keep your studio apartment looking its best.

  • Make the bed. We mentioned it before, and it’s worth mentioning again. Making your bed is one of the quickest and easiest ways to make your studio apartment look neat, clean, and put together.
  • Wash your dishes and wipe down your counters. The kitchen is an area where things can look dirty quickly. To avoid having to do a big deep cleaning session every so often, just quickly wash your dishes and clean up the kitchen and dining area after each meal.
  • Stay on top of your laundry. This is especially important if you have a smaller wardrobe. By washing your laundry regularly, you avoid having to wash bigger loads and minimize the clutter. The last thing you want is your hamper overflowing in a small space!

Turn to Common to find a studio apartment to fit your lifestyle

Now that you know how to live in a studio apartment, you’re ready to take advantage of all the benefits a small space has to offer. Common offers micro-units in Seattle, with access to gorgeous amenity spaces, discounts to your favorite local and national brands, cleaning services, and so much more! Renting has never been easier or more enjoyable. Find your dream home with Common today!




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