How to Create Living Spaces in a Studio Apartment

More and more people are choosing to live a simpler life. I don’t mean out in the country without Internet access, but rather downsizing to smaller living spaces, such as studio apartments. This is especially true for folks who desire city living at an affordable cost. A studio apartment includes most of the same amenities found in other dwellings, including a kitchen, a bathroom, and a… well, the rest is usually up for interpretation. And that is precisely what this blog post is about.


The remaining open space usually needs to include a dining area, a living room, an office or study area, and a bedroom. With so many different living spaces to designate in a single room free of walls, one might be challenged to lay them all out efficiently. But if you’re like me, this challenge presents a fantastic opportunity to think outside the box. 

Not all studio apartments are the same size, so you’ll likely discover the following ideas are quite scalable. Below are some creative tips for how to establish separate living spaces in a studio apartment.

Furniture as walls.

One of the best tricks for establishing barriers between living spaces rests on where you choose to position your furniture. Whether it’s a computer desk, a sofa or bookshelves, you can place any one of those items away from walls to create a visual distinction between, say, the bedroom and the living room. Anytime someone has to walk around a piece of furniture, that person has just entered a separate living space. Even though a sofa doesn’t provide the same privacy as a wall, it still divides the floor of a studio apartment into separate sections. The taller the furniture, the greater the distinction—in fact, tall bookshelves can often serve well as a dividing wall.

Flat dividers from the ceiling or floor.

Whereas a piece of furniture serves dual purposes when placed in the middle of a studio apartment, other items provide barriers as their sole purpose. Some common examples include curtains or fabric hung from the ceiling, or collapsible partitions or room dividers that rest on the floor. This very affordable option is appealing to those who enjoy coordinating colors or textures. These dividers also provide substantially more privacy than the dual-purpose furniture; you might want to consider this option for separating out your sleeping area. Another creative alternative is to suspend a picture frame, an antique window frame, or some other flat piece of art from the ceiling with a sturdy chain or cable.

Lines of color and texture.

Another way to define a boundary between one room and the next is with paint and floor coverings. For example, to help distinguish where the kitchen ends and the living room begins paint the kitchen-area walls until you reach the section of wall you decide is the beginning of your living room. You can achieve a similar effect by placing the edge of an area rug in the living room area against the space you designate for your kitchen. While this illusion is not intended to provide any privacy, it does establish defined boundaries in a single living space.

Whatever you choose to do in your studio apartment, acquire permission from the landlord first. Also, invite a close friend over to review your work and offer some feedback, just in case some of the living spaces you create end up too small or unclear for a guest to distinguish. And be sure to create distinct living spaces not only for your guests, but for yourself as well. Just because you live in a studio apartment does not mean you should pay your bills, eat your dinner, and watch TV all from your bed.

What do you think would be the most challenging aspect of living in a studio apartment? Which personal space could you absolutely not live without, and what are some creative ways you could recreate and preserve that space? Please share your ideas with us in the comments below.


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