Hey guys, Kelly here. Around the time Grace moved out of her small Manhattan studio, I moved into one that was even smaller (just over 200 square feet), and have been learning the hard way how to fit my life into this tiny space, especially while on a budget. When I moved in, I couldn’t afford to really buy all new stuff, and it’s a rental so it’s not like I can go crazy updating it, but I’ve developed a bunch of lifesaving rules to live by since moving in a little over a year ago.
I will look to hotel room photos to take inspiration for how designers can fit an entire living space into one small room, and then take into account the 8 below rules to make sure it’s going to work for me.
- Measure once, twice, three times. Make absolutely sure furniture will fit before purchasing. I’m currently looking for furniture, but have a very strict 60″ sofa limit to squeeze into my studio, and an 8″ bed clearance so that I can fit storage bins under my bed. Know which numbers you need to be aware of before you shop!
- Cover up everything. If you can’t cover it, make sure it’s attractive – for example, try not to buy furniture with exposed shelves (like a nightstand or console table). If everything you own has a door/drawer, it becomes bonus storage. My nightstand actually holds my spare towels! I throw my hairdryer & curling iron in this bag when not in use to hide unsightly cords in my 6×4 bathroom, and this rose gold shower caddy keeps my shower looking de-cluttered at all times.
- Hang everything you possibly can from the walls & doors. Get over-the-door hooks for coats, use a magnetic knife block, hide your paper towels in a cabinet with an easy over-the-cabinet holder, swap in wall sconces for table or floor lamps (make sure you can get a plug-in variety if hardwiring isn’t in your budget). The less on your tables/surfaces, the better.
- Add mirrors. This is an easy one, but they add light and visual space. A no-brainer!
- Get rid of all clutter. Don’t bring home gift bags if the contents won’t be used. Unsubscribe to magazines if you never read them and they just sit around. Wash your dishes immediately. This is a tough one but will be a lifesaver – you get the picture.
- Make sure everything has dual uses. This mirror doubles as hidden storage, or you could use this cheese platter as a cutting board and leave it out when not in use as display.
- Get a rug that ties it all together. If you’re blessed with enough space, I’ve seen many studio dwellers use multiple rugs to separate living spaces (i.e. bedroom from living room), which works beautifully. My studio is sadly not even big enough for that, so I got a vintage 8×10 turkish rug off Etsy that fills the whole space and makes it feel cohesive. There’s no hiding the fact that my bed is feet from my kitchen – why try to fake it?
- Splurge on the little things that will be seen & used daily (but are still affordable in the grand scheme of things). By this, I mean buy yourself some decent sheets and pop for the hand soap that guests will be wowed by. Nobody will notice your $60 metal bed frame if it’s covered up with a nice bedskirt and duvet!
It can sound insane what you can learn to live without when living in big cities. I certainly took it for granted that central air conditioning and laundry are fairly standard everywhere else… but after having lived in my tiny apartment for a while, I don’t really miss that extra space!
Bottom: Over the Door Paper Towel Holder // Acacia Magnetic Knife Block // Hairdryer Bag // Gold Plug-In Sconce // Kate Spade Stripe Canister // Marble Cheeseboard // Under Bed Box // Chevron Rug // Basket Set // Storage Mirror