Definition of a Studio Apartment

Studio apartments include living, dining and kitchen area in one room.

Studio apartments include living, dining and kitchen area in one room.

A studio apartment offers a single, multi-function living space that incorporates the living room, dining room, kitchen and sleeping quarters of a residence all in the same room. This type of residence is sometimes referred to as an efficiency apartment because of it makes such efficient use of living space. A studio apartment's small foot print makes it extremely popular in areas where real estate comes at a high premium, especially densely populated urban areas such as New York City and San Francisco. A studio apartment can be a challenge to furnish and decorate, but ease of maintenance and a reduced rent compared to larger units can make it an attractive place to dwell despite the petite size.

Studio Apartment Meaning

The studio apartment definition includes the requirement that no walls or partitions separate the living spaces, with the exception of the bathroom. Depending on geographic location, studio apartments may be referred to as studio flats, open lofts, micro units, one-room condos or bachelor apartments. However, some of these other terms may refer to apartments where the kitchen is in a separate room from the combined living and sleeping room. Kitchens in studios may range in size from a counter with a sink and hotplate to a fully-equipped small galley.

Regardless of the terminology used, studios and similar apartments range in size from as little as 100 square feet to just under 500. There are benefits to having everything close at hand. The flip side is that a studio's compact size can make everything from storage to decorating a bit more challenging.

Combining Seating and Sleeping Facilities

When space is at a premium, it’s often necessary to combine seating and sleeping arrangements into single pieces of furniture. Double-duty furniture, such as a convertible sofa, a futon or a trundle unit day bed, can accommodate one or two people for seating by day and for sleeping at night. Creative sleeping solutions using fold-away or Murphy beds can incorporate a large bed into the room, yet have it disappear when entertaining. Paired with chairs and tables on casters, these mobile furniture solutions move when and where you need them to.

Finding Storage Space

Some studio apartments have adequate storage in the form of closets, cupboards and shelving. In those that don't, storage can be a real challenge. One solution is to look for furniture pieces that have storage built into them. Many ottomans, coffee tables and side tables have drawers or storage areas so they can double as storage pieces. Small dining tables can be purchased with drop leaves that may be raised into place when you need additional seating and store extra folding chairs in the table base. Don’t neglect under-bed storage solutions like low-profile, roll-out bins or bed frames with built-in drawers. Use attractive baskets, boxes and other containers to decorate and provide additional storage through the space.

Creating the Illusion of Separation and Space

Many studio apartment dwellers look for clever ways to separate their single room into functional areas, using tall furniture or draped linens to define new spaces without changing the room’s structure. Simple dividers or see-through book cases are another good way to create the illusion of a separate living room, dining room and bedroom. The open nature of the units help define the spaces while keeping an airy feel in the room. A less intrusive way to divide up the room is with area rugs that define the boundaries of different living zones.

Smaller studio apartments benefit from smaller pieces of furniture that don't overwhelm the space. Glass furniture is a good option for studio apartments, offering functionality without limiting visual space. Ample lighting and large mirrors also go a long way in making any small space look more spacious.

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About the Author

Terry Mulligan has been writing since 2007. As an accomplished artist, decorator and business professional, she enjoys covering art, decor, business management, real estate, education, computers/software/ERP, animal rescue, cooking and self-improvement. Mulligan holds an M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix.

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