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Ten Tips For Decorating a Small Studio Apartment

Jun 30, 2008
Studio apartments can be difficult to decorate because everything is basically all in one big (or not so big) room. Sometimes this small space has to accommodate several different activities: sleeping, entertaining, cooking and an office area.

Here are ten tips for decorating a small studio apartment:

1. Provide enough storage. Try to find furnishings for your apartment that will do "double duty." You can even find chairs and ottomans that have storage areas inside of them. Just lift up the top and there you will find space for blankets, pillows or other items.

2. Use containers to hide clutter. Buy wicker baskets or old steamer trunks to store out-of-season clothing, linens and towels. They will look great and contain all of those small items that make a room look cluttered.

3. Use mirrors to reflect the light. A large mirror or several small mirrors placed strategically can make a small space feel lighter and larger. If you like a more modern style of decorating, furniture and tables with metal or glass can visually expand the space.

4. Don't block the light. Covering every window with blinds and draperies can make a small room feel dark and crowded. Leave windows bare or only cover with sheer draperies to let the light shine through. Light always makes a space seem larger.

5. Place furniture in "rooms." Try to create specific areas for specific activities. Put a bed and dresser in one area for the bedroom and a sofa and coffee table in another area. Having your apartment furnishings put any-old-way can make it cluttered and uninviting. You might have to leave out the bed and use a sleeper sofa if your apartment is super-small.

6. Create a focus. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, accentuate it. Even if you don't have a natural focal point, create one. Painting just one wall a different color will draw the attention into the room an make it seem bigger. Put a large credenza or entertainment center on that wall and decorate it with beautiful accessories.

7. Use dividers for larger apartments. You can find beautiful dividers in both thrift shops and high end furniture stores. Use them to enclose various areas of your space. I saw an episode on HGTV where they used four beautiful wooden dividers to make a separate bedroom. It not only provided a private sleeping area, but also created another "wall" on which to place furniture.

8. Keep clutter at bay. When you have a small area, clutter is not an option. Too many knick-knacks and too much furniture crowds everything together too much. Keep your necessary items, such as extra bed linens put away in a dresser or wicker baskets. Kitchen counters should be kept clean with everything in the cupboards...if possible.

9. Another trick for a small space is to buy furniture with legs and that are higher off of the floor. Your eye will look "under" these pieces of furniture and add visual space. Furniture that is blocky and low to the ground makes a room appear more crowded.

10. Paint with lighter colors. You don't have to use white, but using paint colors that are lighter in color expands a space more than dark colors.

Decorating a studio apartment can be a challenging task, but using the above tips can help you get started in the right direction.
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