Interior Design

7 Actually Functional Ways to Set Up a Studio Apartment

One room, lots of options... none of which are cramped!

February 23, 2022
Photo by Rocky Luten

Studio apartments can get a bad rep, but they’re really quite practical. They’re generally more affordable than one-bedroom units, allow light to stream from one end to the other, and often come with massive walk-in closets. That said, laying out a studio apartment can be tricky—we’ve all been there. After all, there’s only so much space to work with, and you have to make room for the essentials, which likely include not only a bed and sofa but also a coffee table, dresser, and workstation.

One piece of advice: Don’t lay out your studio so that the sleep space becomes the main focus. Many studio dwellers would prefer a space that feels like a chic, inviting lounge rather than a glorified bedroom. Plus, most of us just don’t want to stare at our beds all day long (I mean, maybe we do, but such a sight will only make us want to curl up and nap). So blocking off our sleep spaces is also extra important.

Don’t fear, though—if you’re feeling stumped about layout possibilities, we’ve got you covered. The studio apartment dwellers of the internet are full of genius layout ideas that will help assuage all of your biggest fears about small space living. Read on for seven studio apartment layout hacks that you’ll want to replicate in your own small-but-mighty space.

1. Add a Room Divider

With so many styles on the market, you’re sure to find one that matches your ~aesthetic~ and helps create zones within your space. Using a divider to section off your bed will ensure you aren’t distracted by reminders of your daytime life as you drift off to sleep.

2. Lay Down a Soft Rug

Maybe you’re not wild about the concept of room dividers—that’s ok, we have an alternative: Simply use a rug to section off your sleep space from your general living area. Here, a soft shag rug helps create a bedroom nook within this studio, separating it from the larger work and dining space. And as a bonus, we bet it feels super soft underfoot first thing in the AM.

3. Try an Open Shelf

If you’re short on storage solutions but are still looking to create a division of space within your studio, an open shelf with various cubby holes also makes for a fun and functional choice. Plus, it’s a clever place to house all of your precious plant babies.

4. Be Thoughtful With Chair Placement

Try positioning accent chairs so that they face away from the bed, not towards it, so guests lounging in your living area can focus on the gathering at hand and not feel like they’re sipping margaritas in someone’s bedroom.

5. Be Smart with the Sofa

Or…simply use your sofa as a divider! When positioned parallel to the bed, it serves as a comfy natural barrier. This placement also offsets any concerns about staring at the bed while entertaining friends.

6. Forgo the TV Stand

Think you don’t have room for a desk in your studio? Think again. Ditch the TV console and set up a table below the television instead. When the TV is off, grab a seat and plug away on your 9 to 5. At night, tuck your laptop out of sight and turn the surface into a sideboard that can hold snacks and drinks when friends come by to watch The Bachelor.

7. Place These Items Next to Your Bed

We don’t see a lot of bedrooms that feature reading nooks and gallery walls, unless such spaces are particularly large. But in a studio apartment, incorporating these features next to the bed will make the overall setup feel less like a sleep space and more like a lounge-y living room that just happens to feature a queen-sized mattress.

Have you successfully laid out a studio apartment? Tell us your secrets below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Sarah Lyon

Written by: Sarah Lyon

Freelance writer and interior design enthusiast


SunnyDays February 27, 2022
Great suggestions and I'm surprised that you didn't include one more: positioning the bed against the wall lengthwise and then accessorizing it with pillows and a throw to make it look like a daybed or even buying a daybed (with a real mattress), pilling pretty pillows on it for the same effect. Removes the "bedroom" look completely. I have a single mattress (actually 3/4 the size of a full!) positioned lengthwise against the wall with big throw pillows, etc. It's on the opposite wall (and slightly down the room) from my sofa so it looks like another seating area. Easy way to avoid the bed look and works well in a really small space (mine is just 410 square feet).
M February 23, 2022
Best I've ever seen is positioning the room so the window-facing sofa back is parallel to the length of the bed, with enough room to walk between the two. Then guests are sitting facing away from the bed as if it's in a different room. Being able to see out the window, and not have a shelf or screen directly behind the head, kept the small room from ever feeling cramped or claustrophobic.