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Ask Casa: How to Decorate a Studio (Part 1)

Hey Casa,
I'm not sure if you ever did a post on how to decorate a studio, but I am moving into one early next month. It's about 400 square feet, I think. I want to make it cute but I'm on a very tight budget. Any advice you have is much appreciated!

To hear my suggestions, just

Hi LorenAshley,
Thanks for writing! I have lived in a studio before, and it's not such a hard-knock life after all. There are so many dual-purpose furnishings these days that really help to maximize your space. Once you've settled in, you'll realize that you can be comfortable without all of the big-space living amenities you're used to.

The Bed:
The first thing you must decide on is your bed. Do you want a twin bed or a full? Obviously, if you choose a twin bed it will offer more space for your living area. But, there are no wrong answers here. One option is to go with a murphy bed, which folds up at the head of the bed to be concealed by a pair of doors, to offer up floor space when it's not in use. If you have a large walk-in closet, you may be able to squeeze your bed into the closet, making the main studio room a designated living area. You could also use a pull-out couch as a bed, but I'm not so sure how good that'd be for your back. If you go for a classic bed, think about getting a bed with built-in storage, or using bed lifts (with a long bedskirt) so you can fit storage boxes beneath it.

Room Dividers:
Once that's decided, you can separate your sleeping and living areas with a room divider, or a curtain panel on hospital tracking. A transparent room divider bookcase is another option, which will divide the space without cutting out the line of sight across the room. Check out the Brocade Home Silhouette Storage, West Elm Room Divider Bookcase and Rectangle Cutout Bookcase, and Ikea EXPEDIT Bookcase to see what I mean. You can also blend the sleeping and living areas by placing a bench or ottoman, or an accent table and two chairs at the foot of the bed, opposite your coffee table and couch area.

To see the rest of my answer, drop by tomorrow to see what I have to say about the living area, dining table, and resources for studio living.


Urban3091244 Urban3091244 5 years
I live in a studio apartment in NYC.  I was inspired to create a website featuring art print room dividers. Basically art work and photography printed on a folding screen. I have about 150 different themes. Perfect to conceal your bed or use as a corner accent piece. check it out
GeriAnne1932 GeriAnne1932 9 years
I'd say definitely buy a chair or something so you're not always sitting on the bed or if more people come over you're not all on the bed....lots of floor pillows help with that. Also, consider where you are going to eat and what you want to cook....maybe a small bistro table or a tall pub table would be worthwhile....because you can also use it as a desk. I know that when I started an internship and moved into a studio, I had no money....but definitely check out craigslist because people are often upgrading from thier studios to other apartments so you can get some sweet deals. I just gotta be a strong advocate for having very little "possessions and junk" a great purge is a great way to prepare for living in a studio....because then you don't need all the decorative/storage stuff and you can have a nice spacious home with little stress and mess. I downsized into a studio and it was the most freeing thing I ever did.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 9 years
Fabric and candles. Trust me, it will serve you well.
bhilb bhilb 9 years
I just want to give another shout out to the EXPEDIT bookshelf. I lived in a studio for about 5 years and there is no way I would have survived without that bookshelf. It holds a LOT...and I have a rather large book/cd/movie collection.
CityGrrl77 CityGrrl77 9 years
I live in Akron (OH) in a 1920's era studio is roughly 350 sq.ft. and I love it! Living in a small space helps you to scale down. It also helps you to realize what are necessities and what you can live without. Lately I have had my bed in the main room, but I have been debating on whether or not I should move it into the walk-in closet (its a Full bed which will fit with no problem). I also have the IKEA EXPEDIT bookcase and altho it serves as a great room divider, I have since moved it against a wall. I agree with 'acullin' in regards to finding nice, inexpensive furniture at IKEA and Target. When it comes to living in a small space, its all about scale and furniture placement. If you want to get creative, IKEA has a room planner that you can mess around with (you can build your space and use their furniture as a template) to see what might work best. Good Luck!!
stephsharer stephsharer 9 years
that picture is gross.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tips!
JessNess JessNess 9 years
*when I am NOT cooking
JessNess JessNess 9 years
Im currently living in a studio (I dont know the exact footage). Im lucky enough that the apartment automatically comes with a wall that divides my living from sleeping space. Its great! It totally makes the studio feel like a 1 bedroom apartment. So if yours doesnt come it one you might want to consider buying something. There are great small couches that fold out into beds in case you have guests. They are inexpensive and super light. My closet is a small walk-in and I use it to store my roll away kitchen island. I literally have the smallest counter space (2x1 foot) so the extra space from the island is ideal. Plus I can fit it in my closet so it is out of the way when I am cooking Definitely invest in some closet organizers to maximize your space. The best thing you can do is make your studio feel homey with personal touches like a color scheme, art, pillows, rugs etc. Studios can feel like caves (specially if you have one window like me!) so decorating makes it a lot more comfortable
acullin acullin 9 years
My studio is about 415 sq feet, and it's plenty of space to have a fabulous place! I have the EXPEDIT bookcase, and a few boxes that fit perfectly in the cubbies. Its a great way to add storage to a small space. I disagree with the bed size recomendations though. If you're in a studio, you're probably just starting out, like I am. The BEST advice I got was to buy a decent bed, then worry about the rest of the furniture later. I have a queen sized bed, and while it's big, it's worth it to have one piece of furniture that I know I can keep when I upgrade. In a small space, it's nice to have a big bed to sprawl out. Keep the rest of the peices small, and it'll all work out! I really like having the "bedroom" space seperated from the living space. I put my Expedit on one side of my bed, and the couch across from the Expedit on the other side. It's great. A tiny little living room, a tiny little bedroom! It keeps it from being weird having friends over (no one has to sit on your bed!) You can make it perfect with a few things from IKEA and target(they have AWESOME furniture, and it's cheap!!) Good luck, I'm sure you'll love your little space!! Whew! can you tell I'm enthusiastic? I think I got a little carried away with this post!!
wickedcupofjoe wickedcupofjoe 9 years
I have the smaller Ikea EXPEDIT Bookcase and it's HUGE! I don't use it as a room divider - but it would be awesome as one! (It's heavy and you will need at least two people to put it together.)
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