For many of us, our first studio apartment was a mismatched mess of poorly put-together Ikea furniture, a couch from Craiglist and a “storage system” consisting of cardboard boxes. We could never find our keys and we were always confused as to whether we were in the kitchen, bedroom, living room, guest room or dining room. But, at some point, after we lost our phones in a 600-square foot space more times than we’d like to admit, we realized that “studio” doesn’t have to be synonymous with “cluttered” or “lacking space.” You don’t have to freak out about the lack of square footage in your spot or sacrifice style (and sanity) when space is at a premium. Scope out these stylish, space-saving tips to transform your tiny dwelling into a sprawling sanctuary.
1. Store your stuff in unique ways. Instead of cramming all your books and baubles on a shelf, get boxes or baskets to create a less cluttered look or organize books and magazines by size and color to make things cohesive.
2. Use mirrors to create the illusion of a bigger space. Take a page from a magician’s handbook and use mirrors to form an illusion. This trick is simple: The more reflective surfaces there are in your space, the bigger it will look. Line one wall with a large, horizontal mirror or place several small ones around your space to eradicate a cramped vibe. Consider placing a mirror across from a window to reflect light and make the room seem larger.
3. Use curtains to separate your space. Hang curtains to divide your space into separate “rooms” and create privacy. If you’re tired of waking up and staring straight at a sink full of dirty dishes or a cluttered kitchen table, put curtains around your bed (or around your kitchen!).
4. But don’t put them on your windows. Ditch the dark-colored drapes. Instead, opt for sheer curtains or none at all; this will create an airy atmosphere and add depth to your digs.
5. Get innovative with your furniture. Turn a shelf into a “breakfast bar” instead of taking up space with a clunky kitchen table. Hang hooks or shelves by your bed to store things that commonly clutter a bedside table. Pieces of furniture that have more than one purpose are also a plus, such as ottomans that also serve as a storage space or coffee table.
6. Find the beauty in blank space. College students are notorious for being borderline hoarders, with everything from pizza boxes to postcards from home. Not every corner of your apartment needs to be filled with crap, and eliminating clutter will make your space appear bigger and make you feel less claustrophobic. De-cluttering can seem like a daunting task, so use this simple rule to help streamlines the process: If you haven’t used it in the past year or wouldn’t buy it now, it’s time to part ways.
7. Choose a cohesive color scheme. Create unity in your apartment by using different shades of the same color in your décor and going monochromatic when it comes to furniture. A white bed frame paired with black bedside tables and wooden chairs will make a space look clunky and cluttered, while all white furniture creates visual fluidity.