Depending on where you’re moving from, a studio apartment can either feel like a long-awaited private space of your own — or a claustrophobic room with the sole purpose of sleeping. Regardless of your feelings on moving day, studio life doesn’t have to feel cramped; you’ll just need to downsize a bit to give your space breathing room while retaining your personality. Here are a few tips for negotiating this careful balance.
Technically, this one doesn’t even require downsizing per se — just replacing your current furniture with pieces that have more utility. When you’re living in a single room, you don’t need — and likely can’t fit — a coffee table, couch, entertainment center, chair, bed, bookshelf, and dresser. Since you should only bring a few of these items, make them multipurpose furnishings, such as a bed frame with storage beneath, or flat-topped ottoman that can act as footstool, extra seating, and storage. Trading your towering bookshelf for freestanding open shelves or cubes will divide your studio into discrete areas while giving you a place to display your knick knacks and books.
Another option to replace a bookcase that consumes too much room is a set of wall shelves. This switch will free up floor space, and if you hang them higher on your walls, it will draw the eye up, and make your studio appear larger and your ceiling seem taller. Naturally, these shelves also offer less space, so you’ll need to whittle down your collections to just a few of your favorites.
Although it won’t feel good at the time, deciding to part with a large amount of your personal belongings can save you space and potentially even benefit you during tax season. Start with things you haven’t used in six months or more — do you need those too-tall heels you wore to that wedding that one time? Or that set of DVDs for a show that you can stream with your Netflix subscription? You’ll have the perfect opportunity to review everything you own as you pack it for the move, so make two piles: things you need, and things you need to get rid of.
Now that you’ve ditched the excess, you might still be left with more than your studio should handle. But if ever plan on leaving your studio apartment for a larger space again, it might not make sense for you to also forsake valuable belongings that you’ve already paid for. For some of these, find a cheap storage space, but a small one — you don’t need to store everything you really don’t need.
A studio apartment can be the perfect, cozy space to come home to every day, filled with all of your favorite things, while being affordable and easy to clean. But the move-in can be a struggle, so plan ahead, and start to downsize before the moving truck arrives.
Sam Radbil is a contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace. ABODO was founded in 2013 in Madison, Wisconsin. And in just three years, the company has grown to more than 30 employees, raised over $8M in outside funding and helps more than half a million renters find a new home each month.