The studio apartment: bane of the lives of many a university student or young professional just getting started on their own. While it may be easy to find three and four bedroom townhomes in Malaysia, in the big cities like Petaling Jaya, efficiency apartments like those in Property Guru’s Empire Damansara development are becoming increasingly popular. While it’s easy to consider the studio a last resort, they can be the perfect startup for a single professional or a newly married couple. All it takes is a little creativity.
One of the most common mistakes new apartment owners make is trying to dress up a small space with bright patterns and busy colors. You can see the thought process: bright colors are fun and vibrant, and they’ll add light and life to a small home!
Unfortunately, too many colors will quickly backfire and leave your space feeling claustrophobic and cluttered. The design experts at lifestyle eZine PopSugar say leave it neutral: clean, simple colors like off white, creams, and grays will give you a cool, open, and bright space which you can liven up with small pops of color like hand towels or throw rugs.
That doesn’t mean you can’t decorate, of course: PopSugar’s designers added some texture to an entire wall of a studio apartment with patterned peel-and-stick wallpaper in blues and grays. Peel and stick paper is removable too, making it a great option for rentals!
Divide up Your Space
With only a single room and no divisions between living, eating, and sleeping spaces, the layout of a studio apartment can become jumbled and disorganized. Finding ways to carve out separate spaces in your studio won’t just help control the clutter: it promotes better sleeping habits and better focus as well.
Your dividers don’t have to be elaborate: a couch or tall flatscreen TV make an excellent barrier between a living and sleeping area. Hanging rods with curtains are another dividing option: try hanging curtains across your bed to create a cozy, private sleeping space or set the dining area apart.
Make the Most of Your Light
Natural lighting makes any space more pleasant, but in a small apartment in a tower block you may only have one window to work with. Make the most of your light with white or bright-colored window dressings, which will brighten up the window space and help reflect light into the room. If you need even more reflection, place a mirror at a right angle to a window.
A single ceiling lamp may seem like enough for a one room apartment, but there’s a fine line between cozy and dim once the sun goes down. A few standing or table lamps will keep you from feeling like the shadows are closing in during your evenings.
Can’t Hide It? Make it Pretty
Storage is the eternal challenge of a small apartment with a limited supply of broom closets and cupboards. Designer Erin Boyle came up with a brilliant solution for clearing clutter from the 22 square meter apartment she shares with her husband. With no broom closet to tidy away cleaning supplies, she swapped out her plastic broom for an attractive wood and copper dustpan and brush set…which hang on the wall as decoration when they’re not in use. If you can’t hide your unattractive clutter, there are always solutions to make it attractive display pieces. Transfer cleaning sprays and soaps into glass or ceramic jars that can be lined up on a shelf, and get rid of the ugly plastic bottles, or leave folded towels hanging for a spot of color in a bathroom.
Storage in Three Dimensions
Making it pretty won’t work for everything you need to store, unfortunately: there are some things you just need to get out of the way. When your floor space is limited, it’s time to start thinking in three dimensions: try vertical shelves or pegboards to make the most of your vertical wall space. Having odds and ends just sitting out on shelves around the walls can push you right back into clutter territory, so consider investing in decorative storage boxes or cloth bins: convenient, durable, and easy to incorporate into your décor.
Small apartments also require you to find creative uses for “dead space,” like the area above a door: a perfect place for a high shelf to hold items you only need occasionally. Another creative space saver? Take your closet (or even bathroom) doors off, and replace them with sliding doors or simple curtains. In a large apartment or house, we never think about the floor space required for a swinging door! In a studio, that half of a square meter can make a world of difference.
A Few Final Words
If you’re just getting started, or like a cozy living environment, don’t be scared off by studios. They’re a great, affordable option, often located close to city centers and thriving nightlife. Start building your dream home – in miniature!