Develop a studio apartment design plan
Before you decorate, you need to know exactly what you’re working with. That’s according to James Stanley, founder of James Stanley NY, a boutique architectural and interior design firm in New York City.
We asked Stanley and Artem Kropovinsky, founder and designer at Arsight — another New York City-based firm — for their tips on how to do your studio right.
Start your plan with the following steps, then read on for detailed decor recommendations from our two design pros.
Take exact measurements: Studio apartments range from 23 square metres to 65 square metres, with most in the 30 to 55 square metre range. Measure yours to determine scale and create a reasonable wish list. Draw it up on grid paper, or use a design layout app like Amikasa or the IKEA Room Planners (it isn’t limited to IKEA products!) for a 2D or 3D concept.
Decide how you’re going to live in it: Do you just need a crash pad? Do you work from home? Are you a frequent dinner-party host? Being realistic on how you use your home base will help you determine your needs. Would you benefit from a drop-leaf table for expandable dining space? Would you prefer a separate bed and sofa, or a futon or fold-out couch?
Further define your physical layout: What setup makes the most sense for your flow and personal comfort? One open space? Or multiple smaller zones — say, a separate eating area or a lounge separate from the sleeping area?
Narrow down your vibe: Bright and light? Moody and sexy? Once you have that in mind, you can dive deeper into the design details and streamline some of your options — colour palette textiles, furnishings, etc.
Gather inspiration: It can be a pattern, a pillow, or a collection of Pinterest images. Anything can be a jumping-off point or a place to return to if you feel a little lost in the process.
Invest in a modular sofa
If you can eke out separate lounge and sleep areas, consider a multi-use modular sofa. “This adaptable furniture option is ideal for studio apartments, as it can accommodate various activities and styles,” Kropovinsky says.
Modular sofas are great because they can be reconfigured easily, Stanley says. It can be set to a usual shape for your everyday living, then broken apart for entertaining, or switching up your layout when it starts to feel stale. And many modular sofas are versatile, offering a built-in bed for you or for guests and hideaway storage.
Use lighting to define living areas
Good lighting is key to any homey-feeling space and signals changes in living zones. Think of a chandelier over a table, pendants over a bar or island, or lamps on end tables flanking a sofa. By adding good lighting, you add a level of luxury – with a sense of expansiveness, too.