Frustrated with decorating your tiny studio apartment or room?
Decorating tiny spaces can be very challenging, sometimes it can even feel like an impossible puzzle. There are so many things you want to fit in but there’s just no space and it’ll make it feel and look even more cramped!
Whether you’re just starting out with your own studio apartment or getting onto that minimalist journey, there’s no way we’re going to let you sacrifice on style.
With our decorating tips and tricks for your petite dwelling, you’ll very soon find your home clutter-free, so much bigger than it actually is, and, of course, amazing! There will always be space to flaunt your style using our favorite ideas.
Let’s get started.
1. Beware of clutter
To achieve a well-designed tiny space, there is no truer saying than “less is more”. Tiny spaces mean you’ll tend to keep your belongings to a minimum in general, since there’s not enough room to work with – but clutter is going next level.
Clutter makes any space look cramped and tight (and frustrating to look at). Keep in mind to leave open spaces, giving you room to move and hopefully, turn into extra storage space. For starters, you can keep the floor clear by having floating pieces for some shelves, nightstands and lighting such as sconces or wall lights.
This points to clean floors, tables, countertops, etc. This degree of tidiness makes a space look brighter, plus, you can place extra storage beneath these floating pieces when needed.
Quick tip: if you really have a lot of things, you can buy furniture that can double as storage like a coffee table that has a secret storage bin when you roll around the top
Photo source: Unsplash | Spacejoy
2. Consider getting hidden or floating pieces
You might need a work desk or a dining table but you wouldn’t need it 24/7. Get folded pieces that you can hide away when not in use. You’ll free up floor space and avoid potential clutter on those areas.
To begin, you can have folding chairs tucked secretly in a corner or stowaway furniture like cube stools hidden under coffee tables. Then, only take them out when you have some guests, otherwise, keep them hidden to avoid clutter and get more space.
If you think you have no room for a good-sized work desk, think again because folding pieces are usually floating pieces too. Find an empty wall in an unused corner of your space and have a mounted wall desk installed!
This quaint but useful furniture takes up much less space and you can even put in additional shelves on top of it for more storage to keep your work area uncluttered and organized. In another way, you’re also making sure to put every available space to good use.
Quick tip: if possible, you can place this folding desk near the window to maximize use of natural light and have a more pleasant working area
Photo Source: Contemporist
Photo source: Max Pixel
3. Focus on lighting
Tiny spaces will usually feel darker because of nonexistent or limited sources of natural light. Lighting design is magic – not only can it open up a space but it can also influence your mood and emotions.
Remove those black out blinds and let in as much natural light as possible! On top of that, make it brighter by installing more lights throughout your space – from your bedroom to your kitchen and your entryway.
You can play with different lighting options if you’re trying to avoid floor lamps from taking up prime real estate. Combine ceiling fixtures and wall lights, or get a pretty pendant, some string lights, sconces or table lamps.
Quick tip: backlighting gives your furniture an extra sense of depth, plus, it looks quite elegant and very welcoming; you can put it behind TV screens, bed headboards, or below your floating desks or nightstands
Photo source: arch2o. Vertical lighting paths create the illusion of height
4. Mirrors are your friend
Mirrors serve a double purpose. It’s the oldest trick in the book but it works!
They can make the illusion of a bigger space by reflecting back natural, even non-natural, lighting around the room. Consequently, they give the illusion of more square footage.
Consider using one large mirror, or line an entire wall with mirrors or create a gallery wall with mirrors of different shapes and sizes (like you would do with art).
Quick tip: this trick will be more effective if you can keep the color palette light and airy
Photo Source: Unsplash | Andrea Davis
5. Pick a rather large rug
Rugs are important. They bring together different furniture and decor in a space which will otherwise look like floating individual pieces.
Like mirrors and light, rugs can bring that magic into your tiny space and make it seem bigger; plus, rugs can make a space look more cohesive and better ‘put together’. And remember, when picking a rug for a small space, you must definitely not skimp on it (size-wise).
A small rug will make the space seem – well, small. While a large rug will have that look of grandeur. Choose a rug where your furniture can be placed on top of it.
Quick tip: don’t get alarmed by the price of large rugs because they work, it will still be cheaper to go big now than have to replace the small ones later on
Photo source: Pexels | Curtis Adams
6. Go with neutral colors partnered with a sudden pop
An even-toned room creates calm and can fool the eye into thinking that the space is bigger than it is. Similar to that quick tip above with the mirrors, light and airy color palette is pleasanter to the eyes in a limited space.
Don’t forget to add some texture too to prevent the space from falling flat. Adding texture means creating some visual interest in the furnishings, objects and decor you put in.
But more importantly, small spaces lend themselves very well to sudden pops and bold colors. You can transform a space with a simple pop of color from throw pillows to picture frames. Or if you’re up for it, you can incorporate an accent or feature wall with wallpaper, paint or eye-catching art.
Quick tip: partnering these pops in color and accents with more neutrals prevents it from overwhelming the room
Photo source: Unsplash | Spacejoy
7. Add some living color
An easy and straightforward way to breathe life and style into your space is to add some indoor plants, but be careful not to overcrowd.
Against your backdrop of neutrals, indoor plants can give that additional color you’re looking for. And apart from the aesthetics, they have other benefits like improving indoor air quality and boosting mood and mental health – but that’s another topic altogether.
You can add huge indoor plants on a corner spot that you’re unsure what to do with. Otherwise, smaller plants atop tables, on your floating shelves or window ledges will work just fine.
Quick tip: play around indoor plants that have different colors – like the red of bromeliads, yellow mix of snake plants, or the purple/pink hue of the rex begonia
Photo source: Unsplash | Kam Idris
8. Keep it cohesive
Amidst getting that neutral tone, adding pops of color and placing some plants, the most important is to keep it all cohesive. Remember, it’s a small space and there’s only so many things to put and look at, so they must all fit.
Don’t worry about it seemingly becoming boring because you think everything has to match. There are different ways to exercise cohesiveness in a space, and here they are:
- Choose a color you like and stick with it – your pops of color are also ways to show your personality
- Pursue one style throughout the entire space – if you go for contemporary, maintain it and don’t suddenly go traditional or bohemian in other areas
- Mix vintage and new pieces to create character and sophistication but do not overdo it – keep it balanced, don’t overwhelm the space or it may seem cluttered
- Don’t worry about using a set of furniture to make sure they match; similarly, you can mix the old and new to give your space some visually interesting pieces
Quick tip: once you select your go-to color and style, allow your decorating to evolve over time by bringing in new items to keep your own space interesting but still ‘you’
Photo source: Country Living Magazine. Cohesive design for a studio apartment that maintains the same color palette with a few complementary shades throughout
9. Make every piece count
In a small space, every piece must pull its weight. Going for multi-functional or double duty furniture will save you both space and money. With the tiny house/apartment trend, there’s no shortage of smart furniture that can help you with a variety of functions while saving up space.
There are many pieces you can play with. You can opt for a bed that has built-in storage, or ottomans and center tables that have secret storage where you can tuck away your blankets or sweaters.
Quick tip: If you’re not particular about having a queen or king-sized bed, opt for a daybed instead and watch your bedroom double in space, it can also serve as a sofa
Photo source: Decoist. Custom daybed with ample storage space that still looks cozy and great on style
10. Take advantage of vertical space
When it comes to small living spaces and its storage problems, one direction you can look to is up! Exploit the often overlooked and under-utilized space on those empty walls and between the tops of our furniture and ceiling.
Empty walls scream storage and design potential. You can play with taller items, or wall-mounted elements like shelves that go all the way to the top to make the room feel higher – this vertical depth adds to that feeling of spaciousness. This could either be extra storage space, or art or both!
Quick tip: this is most commonly done for off-the-shelf kitchen cabinets; also, you’ll have to be careful of the maximum load wall-mounted shelves or decorations can take
Photo source: Pexels | Pixabay
11. Divide and conquer
Imagine entering a small studio apartment and immediately being greeted by a bed or the sleeping area, wouldn’t that be rather awkward? No matter how small your space is, it will do you good to have some designated areas and spaces, the most common of which is separating the area where you sleep from the rest.
When you create zones, you give yourself some private space and an area where you can entertain friends without having them hang out in your ‘bedroom’. Believe me, this will also help with your sanity.
Partition is still possible in small spaces without making it feel tight or cramped. The key is to ensure that light can continue to shine through your dividers to keep that airy feeling in your space. Also, this will still keep adjacent spaces connected.
Quick tip: dividers don’t need to be walls, try installing a partial glass wall, sheer curtains, or low open shelving or rugs. Plus point: these dividers can act as decorative elements in their own right.
Photo source: Pexels | Dmitry Zvolskiy
12. Play with scale
Even if you’re stuck with a small space, it doesn’t mean you’ll have to limit yourself to only getting tiny or small furniture. It might not exactly be what you would automatically go for, but having a few large statement pieces will surprisingly make your space look more grand.
You only need very few of these in the overall space. These eye-catching pieces or attention-grabbing large scale art will draw attention away from the size.
Quick tip: make sure the rest of the space is relatively clutter-free to make these statement pieces shine more
Photo source: Pexels | Tatiana Syrikova