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If you’ve already decided you’re going to rent a studio apartment, you’ve probably thought a little bit about the space you’re giving up.
When you rent a small apartment, it’s usually because you demand little from your housing other than a safe place to sleep, bathe, relax, entertain yourself, store your belongings, and cook a few meals.
With a studio apartment, you trade the luxury of extra room for the reassurance of lower rent.
According to rental property experts at Utopia Management, studio apartments are increasingly popular in many desirable cities where rents are skyrocketing, such as Bakersfield, Las Vegas, Stockton, Tampa, Austin, and Baltimore.
Still, even when you know what you’re getting into, it doesn’t take long for your cozy studio apartment, which looked rather open and spacious when you first toured it, to seem cluttered, stuffy, and claustrophobic.
As we live, we accumulate possessions, be they clothing, lamps, knick-knacks, or a piece of furniture you couldn’t resist snagging at a thrift shop or yard sale.
If you’re not conscious of how you’re using the small amount of space you have, you’ll find yourself less than happy. So, before you settle into that new studio, here are some tips for conserving space while maintaining comfort.
Is any space-saving guide complete without a recommendation to downsize? Of course not! Yes, your things are important, but they aren’t all equally important, are they? If you’re living in a studio apartment, do you need five frying pans of different sizes or just one decent one?
Do you need every phone charger and USB-to-wall adapter you’ve amassed since 2013, or just one for your apartment and one for your backpack? And how much of your wardrobe do you actually wear?
For many people, half of guaranteeing an uncluttered living space is just downsizing, clearing out all of the useless things they’ve been dragging from apartment to apartment. Before you move into your new studio, take the opportunity to sell, donate, or just throw out all the things you can live without.
2. Utilitarian Storage
There are two categories of objects that consume space in a home: furniture, and everything else. That “everything else” is made up of things that are either used or stored, and the storing of those objects is what will introduce problems in space efficiency.
In a studio apartment, with little in the way of in-built storage other than a closet and pantry, it’s easy to fall into the habit of just leaving things lying around, or shoved haphazardly into whatever drawer can accommodate them. Even worse are the bulky breeds of storage furniture, like bookcases and dressers, that drain valuable square footage.
Try to think about ways you can store your belongings creatively. If you have a desk, buy a set of desk shelves to introduce some vertical storage. If your bed rests directly on the floor, a raised bed frame will provide you with some useful under-the-bed storage space.
Wall-mounted shelves will save you from large bookcases. In your closet, use some hanging cubbies for your socks, underwear, and accessories, instead of a dresser. In your kitchen or kitchenette, figure out the best way to make use of the top of your refrigerator. Think about it: it’s a big, flat surface. Surely it can support some creative storage products!
Mirrors are wonderful additions to any dwelling. In addition to allowing, you to check your appearance before leaving the house, mirrors have the almost uncanny effect of making an indoor space seem larger.
This may be more of a psychological trick than a genuine space-saving hack, but the visual sensation of being in a larger space will make you feel more at ease and more comfortable in a small studio, especially if you aren’t afforded too many windows.
4. Multi-Purpose and Portable Furniture
A studio apartment is all about tradeoffs. Do you want a queen-size bed, or do you want a small enough bed that you can accommodate a couch as well? Do you want a desk, or is it more important to you that you have a large TV? Sometimes, doesn’t it feel like you wish you didn’t have any furniture, so you could use your space for activities instead?
There are actually quite a few compromises you can make by using dual-purpose and convertible furniture. It’s common for studio apartment dwellers to opt for a futon, eliminating the bed vs.
couch question entirely, and these days, there are quite a few comfortable futons available. Alternatively, you can invest in a folding memory foam mattress, which provides an extremely comfortable night’s sleep and can be folded and stored during the day, opening up tons of floor space.
Proper lighting is essential to creating a comfortable living space. Out of the box, most apartments will feature a single ceiling-mounted light source, which can be draining, dull, and unflattering, so getting some better lights is something you should do right away.
However, your typical lamp is a space hog and dust collector, whether it’s on your nightstand or free-standing in the corner. So much could go in that corner!
Instead, consider light sources that don’t consume your real estate. RGB light strips are all the rage and can be mounted to any flat surface.
With some RGB light strips mounted along your ceiling line, you’ll not only avoid big, dusty lampshades, but you’ll also have the ability to light your space in just about any color you can think of, to suit whatever your mood may be.
Not a fan of RGB lights? See if your landlord will allow you to drill into your ceiling, so you can plant some hooks for hanging lamps!
6. Shop Japanese
Generally, those who rent studio apartments do so because they’re working with a tight budget. However, if that’s not the case if you’re renting a studio out of preference, and you have some cash to blow it may be a good idea to outfit your tiny pad with purpose-made, compact furniture.
And if there’s one country on Earth where tiny dwellings are the norm, and compact designs represent a large share of the furniture market, it’s Japan.
The Japanese are historically minimalistic people, and Japanese apartments are known to be just big enough to live in.
In fact, many westerners report feeling a little too large in Japanese homes, where everything from desks to appliances is minimized, and it’s even commonplace for people to sleep on stashable floor futons.
So, if you’re planning on making the most of your little apartment, take a look at Japanese retailers and furniture designers, even if only for inspiration.