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Posted 
Sep 22, 2020
 in 
Dorm Decor
 category

Besides the obvious essentials like a bed and kitchen appliances, what you truly need is to decorate your apartment to make it feel like a home. This can be hard when you are dealing with a limited amount of space, but it is not impossible. If you live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment, this is the guide for you. 

Image courtesy of Irvine Company. 

First and foremost, the key to having a beautiful looking studio apartment is proper organization. You are going to be dealing with very limited space, so in order to maximize that space, organizing the apartment properly is extremely important. There are several ways to organize an apartment. One way is using storage techniques that keep your items out of sight. For instance, the use of storage containers that slide easily under your bed or can fit on top of shelves are great. What's that phrase again? Out of sight out of mind. Keeping your apartment looking clean and organized will also make it seem bigger and spacious. Proper organization does not end with where and how you store unused items. especially for studio apartments, it is important to draw the line between what is your bedroom and living room. 

Now, you can do this in a couple different ways. One way that I find the most convenient is setting up some sort of divider between the two sections of your apartment. The divider could be as simple as a curtain or, if you want to look a little fancier, the use of a screen would work. A glass screen would be the cleanest and sexiest option, but you can always just get the cheaper option. The divider aspect of a studio apartment allows you to maintain that privacy factor. you don't want to have friends over and have them walking into your bedroom. That being said, it's also important to make sure your bed is towards the back of the apartment, not in the first section right when you walk through the front door. However, there is a cheat code to avoid this whole mess, but it's a little bit more pricey. You could always buy a bed that folds up against the wall, that way there is way more space in your apartment for entertaining and you don't have to worry about people seeing where you sleep at night. You can afford it, go for it, if not the divider system will work out just fine. 

Look how clean that glass screen divider is between the bedroom and living room area. Very easy option to separate the two sections. Image courtesy of My Domaine. 

Let’s talk about your living room area. A comfortable living room is required. In a one bedroom or studio apartment, the living room really only needs a few seating areas. A loveseat or two would do just fine in order to sit between two to four people depending on how much empty space you are working with. Odds are, you will only be able to fit one loveseat and maybe an arm chair of some kind, possibly with an ottoman. If the apartment has an island in the kitchen area, getting some high-top chairs would work perfectly. That way you can always eat at the island or countertop, and if you have a couple more friends over you can always pull those chairs over to the living room area. 

Going back to our discussion about organization, when you're dealing with limited space is important to have furniture with multiple purposes. For instance, in your living room area, your TV stand can also be a dresser. The dresser could be for your clothes or shoes or even more storage. You kind of want to reference your college dorm days when you're thinking about this. When you were living in a dorm and had a roommate, you were dealing with even less space than what you are trying to manage with right now. You may have not had a TV in your dorm, but if you did you probably would have sat it on a chest of drawers, and that's kind of what we're doing here. Remember how we mentioned that ottoman for your armchair? Well maybe you can try to find an ottoman that also doubles as a storage area.

Have you ever heard of a nesting table? Nesting tables are a great way two have multiple tables with only taking the space of one until you need to have more than one. That sounded confusing didn’t it? Here's a better explanation, nesting tables are basically like those Russian stacking dolls that stack on top of one another and as you remove the outer or higher layer, you get smaller and smaller doll, or in this case a smaller table. 

The point of investing in these very specific items is to maximize your apartment's space while also maintaining a clean look and being able to have full functionality for when you are entertaining guests. Before you buy anything, make sure you do your research and take the necessary measurements of your apartment. Do not buy the first thing you set your eyes on, only buy an item that you feel fits you and the apartment perfectly. All we’re saying is that if the item has more than one purpose, it will be a much more valuable asset to your apartment. 

Here’s an example of a nesting table. This is a great option for a side table and can be used for much more when needed. Image courtesy of The New York Times. 

Shall we talk about tables? Depending on how much space you have left after finding seating areas and dressers for your apartment, you may not have room for a full-blown dining table, which is as expected. If you have an island, we would not fixate too much on a proper dining table. For those that do not have an island, a sleek, square, four person dining table could fit perfectly in the corner of your apartment just to the side of your living room area. If that's not the case, your living room will have to double down as a dining area as well. Which means we have to find a proper coffee table that would also work as a dining table. 

Now, we are not looking for anything fancy, and we do not want it to be too tall because it will get in the way of the television. So really, we're looking for a table that might require smaller chairs that can be pulled out of hiding when needed. For the people that have the island, a coffee table in front of your loveseat is still important because realistically you are not always going to want to sit at the island to eat and I bet most of the time you are going to want to eat or drink something while you interact with your television. Again, it cannot be anything too tall and it can't be anything too bulky, so something sleek like a granite top 5’ by 4’ table would be perfect. As for side tables, that's where the multipurpose nesting tables come in handy. Since you probably do not need all of the options that the nesting table provides in one room, you can always take the largest one and use that as a bedside table and leave the rest of the smaller options in the living room area. 

Let's talk about lighting. Studio apartments sometimes really lack lighting in general. If you have a large set of windows, the natural lighting should illuminate most of the apartment. But for when the sun goes down, you are going to need additional lights. This too can be tricky with the limited space and not a lot of room for tables that a traditional lamp can sit on. To combat this problem you could do one of two things-- one you can purchase a few stand-alone, narrow eight foot lamps that really do not take up much space at all and can live in a corner or next to the dresser your TV sits on. The other option is to purchase lights that you can actually install onto your walls. This option is the most ideal, however you may have some regulations with what you can and cannot drill onto the walls of your apartment. 

Both of these options can work for anywhere in your apartment, but for your bedroom section you could always purchase very cheap LED lights that would line the ceiling of that area. This option may sound corny, but LED lights are very bright and can illuminate an entire section of your apartment very easily, especially when set to a brighter color like white. As for those windows, you're probably going to want to purchase some blinds if the apartment does not already have some installed. You can go with whatever color you choose based on the overall theme you are going with for your apartment, but whatever color you choose we recommend using blackout curtains. Blackout curtains not only block out that pesky light that can creep through your window in the mornings, but they also typically only consist of one base color creating a very clean look. 

Grey blackout curtains keep your apartment looking slicker than ever. Image courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

The final element that will make your apartment pop is a good rug. If you are living in a one-bedroom apartment, you can purchase two rugs, one for your bedroom under your bed and one for your living room, that is if you want a rug under your bed. But for both styles of apartments, a rug in the living room area that sits under the coffee table and maybe slightly under the loveseat really ties the whole room together. 

There are several different ways you could go about purchasing a rug and this really depends on preference. First you must decide what style of rug you want, whether it is a simple wool or cotton rug, or something fancier like a silk or hide rug, the choice is for you to make. Then you have to decide what pattern or lack of pattern you desire. Choosing the right rug is entirely up to you, it is both the easiest and hardest item to purchase for your apartment since it is very straightforward yet there are so many options to choose from. 

And you're done, take a step back and look at your beautifully decorated apartment! See, it is not impossible to take a small apartment and make it look much bigger than it originally appears to be. All it takes is a little bit of planning and the proper items to really maximize the apartment’s space to witness its full potential.

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