How to Furnish Your Studio Apartment

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Small is beautiful--and even comfortable if you're a shrewd decorator. Furnishings must work harder; clever storage is essential. With a little imagination and ingenuity, one-room living won't drive you up the walls.

  • Create rooms within the room to better manage the space. Hang fabric, blinds or curtains from ceiling rods or tracks, and define zones with area rugs. Partition areas with a folding screen or use chests and shelves on casters. Low bookshelves can cordon off a space while providing needed storage.

  • Give a dramatic bed or sofa a starring role. Even when space is compact, you need a few large-scale focal points.

  • Put multipurpose pieces to work. Use a trunk, chest or ottoman as a coffee table and storage unit; configure wood storage cubes to any height or width; treat a tailored daybed as extra seating.

  • Buy high-quality, versatile furnishings you can use later in a larger home. Today's TV cart is tomorrow's entertaining trolley. A sectional sofa will become separate chairs. An armoire adds function to almost any room.

  • Keep the scale light to avoid overwhelming your space. Choose see-through and reflective furniture with glass or plastic shelves and tabletops, as well as tubular or wire legs.

  • Maximize storage by building a window seat or platform bed over drawers. Install an efficient closet system and you may not need a bureau. Create storage space on the walls, doors and even the ceiling using shelves, bins and hooks. Collect baskets, hatboxes and funky vintage suitcases for stackable storage that can double as side tables and nightstands.

  • Enhance room volume with mirrors. Lean a tall mirror against a wall to expand perspective. Hang a group of small mirrors across from a window to bounce light around.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use paint and slipcovers to unify secondhand or mismatched items. Paint pieces the same color as walls for a light, airy look.
  • Arrange furniture on the diagonal to make the room look wider.

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