If you live in a studio apartment or open-concept loft, your most daunting design challenge is defining specific living areas within your space. Although an open floor plan can offer more flexibility than a home with separate rooms, it's tricky to design a loft or studio layout that not only flows, but also provides the feeling of separation between living areas. There are a few ways to divide a living room and bedroom; some provide privacy, while others create a more interesting decor.
Arrange furniture to differentiate living areas. Strategic groupings of furniture and area rugs visually define specific areas without obstruction. If you're working with a larger area, place your bed against the farthest wall from the door and orient your sofa in the middle of the space with the back of it facing your bed.
Use a screen divider. When your objective isn't creating privacy, a screen divider does wonders as far as breaking up an open space. Whether it's placed in the center of the space or nearer to a wall, the vertical element draws the eye up instead of losing it in the expanse. Hinged room dividers require no installation, can be rearranged easily and are relatively inexpensive.
Divide your living room from your bedroom with open shelves. Unlike a wall of traditional bookcases, an open shelving unit allows light to pass through, giving your space an open, airy feel. Use the shelves to store items that look attractive from both sides. Baskets and decorative boxes hold small items and enhance the view from both the living room and bedroom.
Hang a curtain. Mount a rod from the ceiling and hang fabric panels. If privacy isn't a concern, don't extend curtains across the entire area; leave an opening or use tiebacks to create an illusion of separation. If you want the option of completely concealing your bedroom at times, mount specialized hospital track for curtains so you can adjust the view smoothly and to varying degrees. A canopy bed offers the perfect opportunity to hang fabric panels that conceal the bed and mimic walls.
Install a loft bed if you plan on staying in your apartment for the long term. A loft bed works best in an apartment with vaulted ceilings, and divides the living room and bedroom by literally putting the bedroom on a whole new level.
Tips & Warnings
- A sleeper sofa or futon is a space-saving option in a studio apartment layout. Defining specific living areas isn't necessary; simply convert your daytime seating area into your bedtime sleeping area.
- Decorating a studio or loft apartment with too many colors can make it feel busy and visually chaotic. Stick with a single wall color for the entire space, and limit accents to two to three additional colors.
- Avoid placing all of your furnishings against the walls. Grouping some furniture in the center of the space creates the visual interest and varied walkways that ultimately transform a rectangular loft design into a multidimensional interior.
- Apartment Therapy; Five Smart Studio Apartment Layouts; Sarah Coffey; August 2009
- Decorator Secrets: Studio Apartments -- Little Spaces with Little Budgets
- Apartment Therapy; Small Space Solutions: Use Curtains to Divide; Laure Joliet; April 2009
- Apartment Therapy; Really Cool Divider Tips; Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan; February 2007
- American Consumer News: How to Give Your Studio Apartment a Living Room and Bedroom
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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