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What Is a Studio Apartment?

Some of the most amazing design photos come from the interiors of studio apartments. It’s fascinating to see how people create innovative solutions for small-space living. Whether you’ve personally experienced studio apartment life or you’re as intrigued as we are by clever, compact design, you’re sure to enjoy the photos that follow. Not only will they inspire you in your own decorating endeavors, they will help us answer the question: What is a studio apartment?

Studio Apartment Basics

A studio apartment is an apartment that features one large room (rather than separate walled-off spaces), plus a bathroom. One-room living means that in many situations, the kitchen, living area and sleeping space are all incorporated into the larger “room”.

Studio apartment with rustic style (photo via Lonny)
Studio apartment with rustic style (photo via Lonny)
Studio apartment living
Studio apartment living (via Enlightenme)

While one-room living is the most common feature of studio apartments, many studios incorporate some type of room divider, such as a half wall or a cleverly placed built-in shelf, to give a bit of privacy and help define the space.

RELATED: Studio Apartments That Make the Most of Their Space

New Taipei City studio apartment (featured at iDesignArch)
New Taipei City studio apartment (featured at iDesignArch)

Studio apartments offer many benefits, including budget-friendly rent, lower utility bills, and a “less-is-more” approach to living. However, those who live in studio apartments must make very strategic decisions about layout and storage. Accommodating guests can also be tricky.

Short-term studio apartment rental
Short-term studio apartment rental

While studio apartments have their limitations, they are the perfect solution for those who don’t need much space. Not to mention, some people willingly choose to forgo space in order to be closer to the center of town, where rent is higher. Affordability is a huge selling point, especially when compared to larger units, and studio apartments continue to be popular choices for those who live alone, such as students and single adults looking to simplify and stay on a budget.

Studio apartment lodging via TripAdvisor
Studio apartment lodging via TripAdvisor
Studio apartment living by Fables de Murs
Studio apartment living by Fables de Murs

Read on as we take a look at special features you may find in studio apartments, as well as ways to solve storage conundrums (check out the industrial-chic clothing rack below)!…

Industrial studio apartment (photo credit: Chris A. Dorsey)
Industrial studio apartment (photo credit: Chris A. Dorsey)
Studio apartment style from Gut Gut
Studio apartment style from Gut Gut

Special Features

As mentioned above, many studio apartments make use of partitions and other dividers to separate areas such as the kitchen and the bedroom from the rest of the space. Bonus points if you find a studio with shelving as colorful and modern as the dwelling below:

RELATED: Small multi-functional 40 Square Meter Apartment in Tel-Aviv

Micro apartment by Vertebrae Art & Design
Micro apartment by Vertebrae Art & Design

Built-in shelves with open cubes are a popular choice for studio apartments, as they provide storage for books and decor while adding privacy:

Studio apartment with a separate living space
Studio apartment with a separate living space (photo credit: Elayne Barr)

Many studio apartments have substantial kitchens rather than kitchenettes along one wall of the room. Mirrored doors and walls can also add a sense of space, as they reflect the light and make the room appear larger.

Studio apartment by Susan Diana Harris Interior Design
Studio apartment by Susan Diana Harris Interior Design

Not to mention, split-level studio apartments add depth and dimension while creating distinctly separate areas:

Split-level urban studio apartment by ZL Design
Split-level urban studio apartment by ZL Design
Split-level studio apartment (from Zoku via Home Designing)
Split-level dwelling (from Zoku via Home Designing)

Decorating Your Studio Apartment

As you decorate your studio apartment, it’s important to make decisions that are as practical as they are stylish. Items such as sleeper-sofas and fold-down beds may be essential, depending on the space.

Studio apartment with a Murphy bed (photo via Lonny)
Studio apartment with a Murphy bed (photo via Lonny)

Compact furniture can make a big difference, and some opt for mirrored furniture that reflects the light. Another popular choice: acrylic furnishings that create a “barely there” look!

Acrylic media console from CB2
Acrylic media console from CB2

Don’t forget the power of multi-purpose furniture, such as an ottoman that can double as a coffee table or side table when needed.

RELATED: The Design Lover’s Guide to Stylish Studio Living

Leather pouf from CB2
Leather pouf from CB2

Some studio apartments are cleverly designed with features such as Murphy beds that fold out over other furnishings, as well as closets or wardrobes that conceal other compact areas (like the working station in the apartment featured in the next two photos):

Studio apartment with mirrored closet doors, from Black & Milk Residential
Studio apartment with mirrored closet doors, from Black & Milk Residential
Studio apartment with mirrored wardrobe office (via Houzz)
Studio apartment with mirrored wardrobe office (via Houzz)

Do you live in a studio apartment? Got decorating tips and tricks to share? Leave us a comment below…

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