London, New York, Paris. All these cities are major life goals. Think about all those chic and stylish flats they are home to, all the funky bars and cafes and all the hustle and bustle. They are every creative’s dream. But as every cool metropolitan city, living in these also comes with the prospect of having to squeeze your life into a tiny studio. At least for all of us who are just starting out in our careers.
So this is where I am at. Facing the reality that I am about to move into a tiny studio. But although this prospect should scare me or at least annoy me, I am actually really excited. Living in a small space will force me to really think cleverly about the interior architecture of my new home and that is after all what I love doing. Tiny studios require you to maximise the use of every single corner without compromising on flair and style. We want our homes to be organised and functional but still reflect our personality. It has to scream you when people walk through the door.
So after a lot of thinking and research and some more thinking, these are my 8 steps to that fabulous studio flat we all long for.
Declutter. Declutter. Declutter. Do it once and do it again and be ruthless. A jumper you have never worn but think you might maybe need some rainy day? Give it to charity. An ugly ornament you got given and will never display, but feel guilty for throwing away? Sell it. Think essentials only. The saying of “less is more” has never been more accurate than when it comes to styling a tiny studio. This is the first and most important step. There will be no space for useless stuff in your new home. It will just turn into gross, annoying mess. Think about all those dream studios we have so eagerly been saving on Pinterest. They all have one thing in common: Minimalism.
So get those bags ready and chuck, chuck, chuck!
After the emotional aftermath of some heavy decluttering we can finally turn to the fun part. The layout. Although we are probably eager to just move in and sort the arrangement of the flat out as we unpack our boxes and just shift and move everything into place; this is a big no no in a tiny studio. Always plan your layout before buying any furniture. It will prevent you from buying things that are too big or simply unnecessary. Patience is key.
The layout will become the most important part of your new home. It will define whether you enjoy living in this space or not. So take your time, grab pen and paper and get drawing. Play around with a few layouts whilst really thinking about what activities you will need to fulfil in your tiny studio. Will you need a study area? Do you entertain a lot? Is cooking a big part of your life? All these things will define the flow of your studio. Really mould it to your needs. Think about using furniture that can be moved easily to transform areas or that can be adapted as your needs change. For example, consider using a bar table with stools if you cook and entertain a lot as it can double up as a kitchen worktop and a dining table.
In a tiny studio it’s all about clever design and this is especially important when it comes to choosing your furniture. Despite of what you might think, you do not have to compromise on comfort or style but you do have to be patient and persist. If it’s not that perfect piece, because it’s a little too big, or it’s a bit uncomfortable, or you just don’t really like it, wait and keep looking. You will find what you need but it might just take a little while.
When styling a tiny studio there a few fundamental guidelines I like to follow:
Firstly, always avoid chunky and heavy furniture and opt for the delicate and petite. (I love those cute pieces more anyway.) For example think stylish day bed instead of grand sofa. Thanks to all the genius designers out there, the smaller pieces always come with major style factor.
Secondly, try and incorporate some transparent or glass furniture, as it will feel lighter and open up a room. A see through coffee table is ideal for this.
Thirdly, think adjustable. Choose furniture that can be tucked away or that has a multipurpose function, like this great foldable table by IKEA. It is perfect for a study desk that can be neatly folded away when not in use.
When planning your layout it’s important to think about creating different zones in your tiny studio. Chances are that your studio is, essentially, just one big room. A room that has to house a kitchen, a dining area, a living area, study area and a sleeping area. You don’t want to have big open room with lots of different furniture pieces. It will feel messy and complicated. Instead, you want to design your open room to have defined zones for each activity. This will create a flow and make it feel like a real apartment.
The most important area to define is the sleeping area. It should feel snug and cosy, and give you some privacy. You want to be able to entertain your friends without feeling like you are all sitting in your bedroom. A good way of achieving this is by using dividers. These can be in the form of screens, open shelving such as bookshelves or delicate curtains.
If you have ever lived in a tiny studio before, you will know how important it is to have storage. Every single corner has to get utilised to the max but in an elegant way. You dont want to end up with a room that feels claustrophobic, because you overdid it with the boxy storage.
What you need is smart, yet chic storage. Invest in a storage bed, ottomans that have hidden storage and above all use your walls and store high. Hang shelves to store things on in beautiful boxes and place hooks for hats and bags. I also suggest using a clothes rail instead of a chunky wardrobe. It will open up your room and give it an edgy cool girl vibe. The only thing you need to get used to, is to rotate your winter and summer wardrobe, but that is actually a good thing, as it makes getting dressed so much easier!
Now that you have done the heavy lifting it’s time to give your tiny studio some flair. In small spaces white is king. A white base palette will make your flat feel bigger, airier and lighter. So always start with this and inject colour through accessories and punchy art. Really think about the accessories you are introducing and make sure they all have a purpose and above all represent you and your style. I recommend sticking to the same colour scheme throughout your flat, as this will create a natural flow and a balanced atmosphere.
If you are feeling brave you can also inject colour with paint but err on the side of caution here. Colours have a tendency to feel very imposing the larger the canvas they are applied to and in small spaces this can be risky. My advice is to stick to pastels and cool colours and only use a colour that you absolutely love and won’t grow tired of. Use the colour as an accent and not as a whole wall. It should blend into the rest of the scheme seamlessly as if it was meant to be there all along.
An abundance of natural light makes any room look more spacious and inviting. It is no wonder therefore that maximising the natural light in your tiny studio should be at the forefront of your design. Consider using light sheer curtains, soft transparent blinds, clear white surfaces and mirrors. Mirrors are magical. They reflect light and give the illusion that your space is much bigger than it actually is. An absolute must in a tiny studio. Plus they are an awesome statement piece.
When you are limited by space choosing eccentric lighting is an excellent way to give your interior a real edge. Funky, quirky lighting will look like a beautiful striking piece of art, whilst also serving a practical function in your tiny studio.
Experiment here and get out of your comfort zone. Consider neon lights, metal lights and sculptured lights. Think about how you could place them so they serve multiple purposes. Search widely and find that light that defines you. It will be an investment of a lifetime and one I guarantee you will not regret.
Did this style guide help you get closer to that edgy tiny studio you long for? Let me know in the comments below. Check out my article about cool office interiors for some major inspiration and follow my Pinterest for your daily dose of awesome interiors.
Copyright © 2017 Anaïs Rosswag Vásquez. All rights reserved.