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13 Design Tips for Decorating a Studio Apartment

By: Justin Chaplin
January 8, 2020

You’ve found the neighborhood and apartment building of your dreams.  That’s great! However, you've already stretched your budget as far as it will go. Can you figure out how to decorate a studio apartment and still thrive in your new home?

Fortunately, the lack of space doesn't mean you need to compromise on your studio apartment decor. Create a look you love with intentional, space-saving style choices. 

These tips will help you turn your studio apartment into a home. Here are 13 ideas for decorating your studio apartment.

1. Avoid Clutter and Overcrowding

Figuring out how to decorate a studio apartment starts with eliminating the mess. Avoid clutter and overcrowding by getting rid of everything that isn't necessary. In other words, get your Marie Kondo on!

Those items may range from stacks of magazines to miscellaneous seating to old clothing. Use one eye-catching basket to dump mail and paper items in. Then, make a date to go through it all and toss the junk once a week.

2. Maximize Your Space

Instead of focusing on the lack of space with your studio apartment decor, concentrate on how to maximize it. Create a reading area in the nook by your front door, or up against a window.

You can also add a bench or loveseat in front of your bed. That’ll create a separate seating area. Remember to leave some space between each area to prevent feeling claustrophobic. 

3. Invest in Space-saving Furniture

Decorating a studio apartment means maximizing every inch of space possible. Opt for a full bed instead of a queen-size mattress. Choose a loveseat instead of a couch. You'll be surprised how much space will open up!

Adding fold-up upholstered chairs can also help save space without compromising on your desired seating area. Look into beds and sofas with extra storage options to make the most of your space.

4. Try Multifunctional Furniture

Need studio apartment ideas that add more functionality to your space? Try an ottoman that does double duty as a secret storage space and seat. 

A small dining table can double as a desk. Your bookshelf can hide away a murphy bed behind it. 

5. Stock Up on Trays

There's really no need for a computer desk, coffee table, or dinner nook when you have trays. Well, there's a need, but trays definitely make them a bit more expendable! Folding tray tables are one place to start. 

You can also stock up on stackable trays. Those can turn an ottoman into a coffee table and your lap into a workspace.

6. Add More Height 

Studio apartments can feel small and cramped without the right height. Create the illusion of depth and height when decorating your studio apartment.

You can achieve that with high curtains that you anchor above your windows. You can also use hanging art and fabric dividers cascading from floor to ceiling. Those can hide away a bed until you need it.

7. Create Separate Living Spaces

Feeling like you hang out all day on your bed? Turn your studio apartment into a cozy home by creating separate living spaces. 

Hang heavy curtains or use room dividers. That can create the dimension you're looking for without compromising on your favorite studio apartment decor. 

8. Add Pops of Color

It may seem intuitive to keep your studio one neutral color to avoid overwhelming the senses. However, pops of color can add more depth to your studio apartment decor. 

Add bright throw pillows or a small rug to your seating area. You can also change up your window treatments. 

Dressing up a single wall with vibrant colors and accents can help anchor your studio apartment decor. It’ll also create depth.

9. Rethink Your Wall Space

What's going on with your walls beyond your favorite artwork? Add more functionality to your walls by adding hooks to hang your folding chairs. You can also hang step stools or kitchen items. If your bike is taking up too much space, get crazy and hang that too!

A coveted coat closet can also transform into storage space when your jackets are hanging from hooks on the wall. You can also fold them neatly on wall shelves.

10. Design a Loft 

Why sacrifice precious floor space for beds and seating areas when you can create a loft space instead? Design a loft to hold your bed, a seating area, or your workspace. Try creating one with a simple ladder or staircase that doubles as a space for storage cubes or bins.

11. Bring the Outdoors In

Make the great outdoors part of your studio apartment decor without the need for a balcony or patio. Try adorning your windows with colorful window boxes or planters. You can also throw open your Juliet doors and let the natural light pour in. Natural light paired with greenery will make your home come to life.

12. Enhance your Natural Light

Decorating a studio apartment requires plenty of light. That’ll make your small space feel larger than life. 

Enhance your natural light by adding mirrors directly across from your windows to capture the light. Hanging a few crystals and adding glass vases to your mantel can also help refract the light.

13. Make an Accent Wall

Don't disregard art because you are in a small studio! Decluttering and maximizing space can pose a challenge for art connoisseurs. An accent wall makes perfect sense for a studio! Adorn a prominent wall with artsy wallpaper.

Final Thoughts

Make sure your landlord is on board before starting any studio apartment projects like lofting your bed or hanging planters and pots from your windows. 

With the right strategy in place, figuring out how to decorate your studio apartment doesn't need to be a chore. Focus on a space-saving style that makes you feel like your home is a cozy refuge you actually want to spend time in.

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Justin is a Content Manager and contributing author at Apartment List, helping people navigate the world of renting. Justin previously spent his time earning his BBA in Marketing from Boise State University. Read More
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