Skip to content

How to Live Comfortably in a Studio Apartment

Small living and scaling down doesn’t mean you have to compromise on personal taste

Bookmark article to read later

By House & Garden South Africa | December 14, 2023 | Small Spaces

So, just how compact are today’s spaces? The typical Micro or Studio apartment is a single room — no larger than between 20 - 40 square metres — that combines a bedroom and dining room with a small kitchenette and bathroom. Small, yes but not impossible for us to make these living spaces stand out.

Like all our developments, one of the most attractive features of a Micro apartment is how it enables lifestyle. Due to their central location, they work best in the realm of a ‘15-minute city’ concept. These apartments enable easy access to co-working spaces, restaurants, bars, and other aspects of vibrant city life that together contribute to a healthier, happier, and more socially engaged lifestyle.

Here are ten ways you can make your own compact living space feel more homely and comfortable:

First Impressions in Your Entrance Way

You don’t need a formal entrance hall to make a statement for anyone entering your Micro or Studio apartment. All you need is a statement accessory like art, a plant, or even a hat and coat stand.

It’s that simple.

Dual function furniture

Dual functioning furniture is a House & Garden SA favourite. Furniture that folds out, folds up, and doubles as shelving, seating or storage is perfect for rooms with limited floor space. In small rooms, it’s a must to make ceiling height work hard, and hidden storage pieces with a compact footprint are a win. Ladder-style shelves that give you a work surface are effective double duty solutions for your Micro or Studio apartment. You’ll be surprised at how many combinations you can create with the right pieces of multi-purpose furniture.

Furniture that folds out, folds up, and doubles as shelving, seating or storage is perfect for rooms with limited floor space. Image via Unsplash.

Open the floor as much as possible

Talking of floor space, open as much of it as you can, even (and this may sound odd) by choosing furniture with legs. Some experts advise choosing a couch with tapered legs while others opt for slim line seating so that it does not dwarf the space. And seriously, do not allow that chunky old three-seater couch in the door.

Another solid piece of advice is to let your furniture ‘float’ by not pushing all of it right against the walls.

Lean on Colour Co-ordination

Catch the right colour co-ords by keeping colours cohesive from wall colour to accessories and furniture. Choose just two to three colours for your home palette. Colour plays a big part in the energy of a room so pick the ambience you want to come home to after a busy day – and bring that to life.

Go for a Gallery Wall

Be bold by making one feature wall a ‘Gallery Wall’. This could be just one large piece of art or a collection of images that make up a larger collaged picture.

Be bold by making one feature wall a ‘Gallery Wall’. Image via Unsplash.

Wall-Mounted TV’s

TVs can swallow up space in even the biggest room. There’s a two-fold solution for compact rooms here. Go for a wall-mounted TV and conceal it with a fold-across artwork screen so that it isn’t an eyesore black hole in the wall.

Reflective Genius

Mirrors really do work to open up a closed space. But before you go out and buy a room full of reflection, decide on one or two clever walls and angles from which a mirror will do its best work in adding the illusion of more living room.

Decide on one or two clever walls and angles from which a mirror will do its best work in adding the illusion of more living room. Image via Unsplash.

Trim Down

In a home of any size, clutter and over collection of things just makes for a mess. Keep spaces calm and centred and let your favourite essentials in your living space breathe.

The best home making suggestion is always ‘a place for everything and everything in its place.’

Keep it Tidy

Seriously, tidy surfaces and floors. This cannot be overemphasised as it creates organised and collected home spaces.

Don’t be tempted to keep collecting new goods. Instead, for every new candle you add to the coffee table, take one item away.

Get Your Light Fix

Then there’s light, which is largely what this year-end season asks that we share with others.

In compact living spaces, light is an all-important provider of good energy. One practical piece of advice here is to make sure you have at least three working lights in a room. And if your Micro or Studio apartment has good window space, consider adding to this flow of natural light with blinds, shutters, or light voile curtains to ensure you literally let the light in.

Remember, it’s your living space. It’s only you who calls it home – make it your very own space of joy.