We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
Studio flats tend to be small. They usually have one space for sleeping, cooking, eating and lounging plus a separate bathroom so they need careful planning and good organisation, not to mention a hit of creative inspiration.
Look at the space you have in your studio apartment and decide how you can arrange furniture to create distinct areas. You may not have a separate living room, dining room, kitchen and bedroom, but by using the space you have wisely you can create zones for these different functions.
If you have the room for one, position a dining table at the kitchen end of your space and the seating and sleeping area at the other end so you are as far from the noise and smells of a busy kitchen as a single space will allow.
Look at light levels and let the position of windows guide the placement of furniture. You may prefer a desk to sit under a window, for example, rather than a sofa so that you can work with maximum light and be able to open and close windows easily.
The placement of a sofa will dictate the position of your TV so check where your sockets are and how easily it will be to run cables and aerials to that spot. Use flooring to help demarcate function. Rugs can help to ‘ground’ furniture and designate a space for dining or lounging, while a break from laminate to carpet signals the move from practical kitchen space to comfortable living area.
As studio flats are small it pays to keep walls plain and neutral throughout, though you may want to be a bit more adventurous in a separate bathroom or do something different if you have a ‘kitchenette’ type of arrangement that sits slightly back from the main living area. Keep window treatments uniform too to keep the look consistent.
A bathroom or shower room will be a separate space so let your creative juices flow. One of the benefits of having a tiny room is that it won’t cost too much to make it fabulous. You can try out those tiles you’ve always fancied or that favourite wallpaper. If your bathroom is an internal space with no window, let the decorating scheme add the light, colour and pattern.
Dual-purpose furniture is a brilliant solution in a small space such as a studio flat. Of biggest benefit is a sofabed as it means you won’t have to have a double bed out on show during the day. Look for a sofabed that can house your bedding too so you don’t have to worry about storing it somewhere else.
Use a breakfast bar as a desk as well as for eating at and incorporate storage wherever you can. Go for wall-hung shelves over floor-standing bookcases and consider furniture that you can fold up or store neatly in a streamlined, space-saving way when not in use, such as guests' dining chairs or nests of tables.
Living and bedroom space dressed in blue, white and grey (pictured)
Dress a bed in natural fabrics, the subtlest of patterns and the gentlest of colours so that it doesn't dominate a multifunction open-plan space. Go for bedding in keeping with the decorating style of the room and layer up the cushions so it has the feel of a sofa.
A partition wall with glazed doors can break up the space in a studio flat and allow you to screen off one end of the room for the other - particularly useful for closing off the kitchen area at the end of the day. In this space the tall kitchen cabinetry has been painted grey to emphasise the different functions either side of the glazed doors.
A breakfast bar can be invaluable in a studio flat. Use it for food prep, dining if you don't have room for a separate dining table and for computer work if there's no space for a desk. Match worktop to flooring for an easy, streamlined feel and choose units with plenty of storage - accessed from both sides if possible to maximise versatility.
Give a dining area a distinct feel, while keeping it part of the decorative whole. In this smart space, the table matches the kitchen worktops beyond and the white chairs tone with walls and cabinetry. However a table runner, china and coloured glassware add pretty but subtle accents that draw the eye. Go for an extendable or drop-leaf table that will take up less space when it's not in use.
A sofa with its back to the kitchen area will give seating the feel of a separate space. Similarly, from the kitchen, the back of the sofa will act as a room divider and break up the space. A sofabed would work especially well here, given the amount of room in the living zone. Use a single flooring solution to unite the open space.
Place a living area sofa so that it creates a cosy spot for a sofabed and desk beyond. In this perfectly organised room, the space behind the long sofa is a working area by day - with desk and seating area - and a bedroom by night, when the sofabed becomes a bed and the desk a dressing table. The oak beam and low ceiling have been used to good effect to demarcate the two spaces.
Throws and cushions
Bring elements of a bathroom into a sleeping area for super smart looks in a studio flat. Instead of a completely separate bathroom, a basin and chic roll-top bath have been brought into the bedroom zone. Deep blue walls create a calming, tranquil feel and bring the different elements of the room together.
Hague Blue at Farrow & Ball
Keep things super-simple in a studio flat with a low-level bed and storage. A wall-hung light is the smart choice where bedside tables aren't possible. Have an easy-to-store mattress to hand that you can use for unexpected guests. In this simplest of spaces, storage is bright white, super-streamlined and built in.
Marquis & Dawe
Similar wall light
If you have stuck to a strictly plain and neutral decorating scheme in the open-plan area of your studio flat, then go for it in the bathroom. If yours is an internal space with no natural light, let colour and pattern bring it to life. In this bijou bathroom, blue mosaic tiles follow the nautical style suggested by beach-hut shower curtain and towels.
A themed wallpaper can transform the smallest of shower or bathrooms. This fabulous fish design on the palest of blues has been used on all four walls for a truly striking effect. The glory of a tiny room is that it doesn't cost too much to use your favourite wallpaper design. A Perspex panel behind the basin creates a neat splashback that allows the fish to smile through...
Cole & Son at Wallpaper Direct