Three Ways to Arrange A Studio Apartment

1) Physically divide your space: Use bookcases and other furniture to divide your space into separate living areas for privacy and to feel like you have a designated (small) area for everything. This apartment makes great use of small space and the bookcases are used to separate the bedroom area, a little office nook and to separate the living room from the dining area. Photos and design below by Marissa.   2) Keep it open, but create zones: This studio has a more open and airy layout, but it’s  divided into zones using the help of rugs, art and other accessories. The rug in the living room anchors that specific area and the art and accessories help to define each space. Photo and design by Sing (blog no longer available).

3) Go vertical: I realize this might not be possible for everyone, but I just had to share this awesome layout. The lofted bedroom area gives tons of privacy and allows for a larger sofa and dining table below. If you do have the option or find a space that is already lofted, it can make a small apartment feel much bigger. Photos and design by Holly.

For more studio apartment tours, click here! If you have a great studio or one bedroom or another stylish small space you want to share, email me a couple photos for consideration.

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume IV

Tiffany in Virginia asks:

I recently started following your AMAZING Instagram page. I recently moved to a studio apartment in Alexandria that is extremely small and it has carpet, I have no idea how to decorate it so it’s been so plain for the past month or so. I really like everything on the blog so if you have any suggestions I’m open to anything! I would say my style is chic and stylish. Thank you so much for creating this blog and I can’t wait for it to look as cute as or close to as cute as yours!

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Studio Style Blog Response:
Thanks for your kind words and email! I think your apartment has a lot of potential, so don’t be discouraged by the carpet. I’ll break down my suggestions into a couple categories below and be sure to let me know if you end up utilizing them as you decorate. I’m sure the readers would love to see some ‘after’ photos as well.

1. Layering rugs: I wrote about this in a design trend post awhile ago, and it’s a great solution to cover up rental carpet. Try layering a larger jute rug with a colorful patterned smaller rug on top in the living room area. See photo example below:


This jute rug from World Market is a stylish and affordable option. For pattern and color, try this rug from Target or this rug from West Elm.


2. Add curtains and pull back the blinds: This will draw attention away from the not-so-chic look of vertical blinds and will draw the eye up away from the carpet. Simple white curtains will keep the space light and airy but these are thick enough to provide privacy when needed.
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3. Decorate the walls: Whether it’s with art, wall decals, shelving or all of the above, adding elements to the walls will brighten the place with color, pattern and style. And will make your apartment feel more lived in and more like a home rather than a rental apartment.

  • Adding art: Resources for art and prints here. DIY art project example here. Gallery wall post here. Many more art-related posts on Studio Style Blog can be found here.
  • Adding wall decals: tutorials from both of my studio apartments: old and new.
  • Adding wall-mounted shelving: A few favorite resources for shelves: West Elm // CB2 //Ikea // The Container Store 

2015-03-15 12.30.164. Add furniture, especially dual storage pieces: I’m not sure what’s on your list of furniture that you need or already have, but I’ll throw out a few options for apartment-friendly stylish and affordable furniture.

  • Sofas: Neutral sofas work well in any space and won’t feel too bulky or overbearing. World market has one very similar to my sofa here and I love this one from CB2. More affordable sofa posts on Studio Style Blog here and here.
  • What better to pair with a neutral sofa than a ton of affordable throw pillows from yesterday’s Style on a Budget post here.
  • For dual storage options, tall dressers and media consoles are great for apartments. The dresser can be used out in the main room and won’t look out of place if you style it correctly. Adding a lamp, a few accessories and leaning art on top of a dresser like this would look great. And you obviously don’t have to use a dresser for clothes if you have other storage needs (books, toiletries, shoes, anything goes!) I’m currently using a dresser as a media stand. If you need a place for a television, try a colorful media console like this one. You’ll be able to use the cabinets as great hidden storage.

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Hope this was all helpful for you and any of my readers with a similar problem!

Thanks to Tiffany for writing in and for info on how to submit your questions to Studio Style Blog, click here.

How to Instantly Double Your Kitchen Counter Space

While I love my kitchen, it’s certainly lacking in counter space. I really only have a small section between the range and the sink and the only other counter space is the island. I often find myself setting things on top of the burners when I run out of room. So, I’ve been in search of a solution to utilize the range as an extra work space without an ugly cover or an expensive slab of granite or marble. 2015-03-15 12.24.38-1IMG_4867

Enter: the Ikea “as is” section! There’s a small little area near the checkouts where they have discounted damaged items for final sale, weird sized pieces of wood, etc. I forgot to measure my stove before going, but I found a white piece (that actually looks exactly like my dining table) with zero damage/markings for only $2.99. It seemed close enough to the size of my stove, and if it happened to be too big or small, it wasn’t a huge risk at that price. I brought it home and to my delight, it’s almost the exact size. There is a bit of overhang at the front, but nothing too significant. This piece is perfect for extra work space. It’s heavy and sturdy enough not to move around and the plain white color works well with the rest of the kitchen.

IMG_4862 IMG_4863 IMG_4865I‘m so glad I found this piece and for a few dollars, I now have a great deal of extra “counter” space. If you have a similar problem, I would definitely suggest checking out the “as is” section at Ikea or your local tile/stone place to see if they have remnants or samples that will allow you to cover your range for an extra work space.

Update: this project was recently featured! Check out the post here.featured_button

Ask Studio Style Blog: Volume II

It’s time for another edition of Ask Studio Style Blog!
Check out Volume I here. For info on how to submit your questions to Studio Style Blog, click here.
Design Dilemma:
I came across your instagram/website and love the work you do (your decoration is truly adorable)! I was wondering if I could get some decorating/design advice for my open/one bedroom loft space. I have two empty corners and am not quite sure what to do with them (things to put on the wall, potential small furniture pieces, etc). I’d love your feedback and any suggestions you might have!
I just moved into a new place and am trying to figure out what to do with an empty corner by my bed. How would you decorate the space? Any furniture pieces you’d use, or things you’d put on the wall? I have very high ceilings, and the area looks pretty bare – I want to warm the place up a bit!
-Tina (Washington, DC)

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All photos are from Tina

Studio Style Blog Response:

First off, I think the space is gorgeous and I love what you’ve done with it so far! I’ll break this post down into a few options and ideas for the space.

Advice for the walls:

  • Create a large gallery wall: along with the art and accents you have now, consider filling up that entire wall with other art, framed prints, accessories, etc. It will definitely ground the space and draw your eye to that wall.
  • Paint (if possible): depending on your restrictions with management/landlords, etc. I would consider painting if you’re up for it. A darker grey would look great in the room. If you’re really feeling adventurous, paint the ceiling! I’ve blogged about this new trend and it really makes the space feel warmer and luxurious.
  • Add wall-mounted shelving: if you’re in need of additional storage, consider adding a few wall-mounted shelves. You could add books, small accessories, etc. A few favorite resources for shelves: West Elm // CB2 // Ikea // The Container Store 

Advice for the space:

  • Switch out one nightstand: Disclaimer: I love those nightstands, I just think you might be able to re-purpose one (entry table, accent table next to a chair or sofa, etc) and replace it with a larger piece of furniture. If you take away the nightstand closest to the mirror and replace it with a taller, longer, simple desk, it could add visual interest to the space and help fill the empty corner. A desk could duel-function as a nightstand and could also be a great little spot to get ready in the morning, or to display art, jewelry, etc.


  • Add furniture: if you keep both nightstands in place, perhaps add a tall bookshelf in the corner, a comfortable accent chair or even a tall plant to help fill the space. Do keep height in mind. Anything with a bit of height will really help fill the space and not make the ceilings look so far away.


  • Purchase a rug: this will be the easiest way to warm up the space. It looks like you have a couple neutral elements in the room right now, so a rug with pattern will really bring visual interest and personality to the space.