Featured image source: Volkan Olmez
Creating the perfect home office – a space that is both functional and inspiring – can be a challenge, even more so when you need to carve that intimate, productive space out of a studio apartment. But just because your apartment has limited square footage doesn’t mean you can’t have the office of your dreams.
Making the space in your studio apartment feel larger than it really is isn’t impossible. All it takes is a little creativity, smart design choices, and an eye for multi-use options and you’ll be able to carve out an ideal workspace, no matter how tight your quarters are. To help you make the most of your studio apartment, we’ve broken down some strategies for creating a practical and well-designed home office in even the smallest spaces.
Make It Practical
First Things First: Make sure you have all the necessities in place to set up your new home office. That includes a desk or other workspace, a comfortable, supportive chair, and technical supports like reliable Wi-Fi. In addition to finding the right pieces and providers, you also need to think about camouflage.
No one wants to see ugly wires, modems, and routers but when every inch is at a premium, you just can’t make room for these unsightly necessities. Explore wireless options when possible, or find out if wires can be routed through a closet or cupboard where it will be easy to keep them tucked out of sight.
Downsize: The easiest way to fit into your new small space is to unclutter what you’ve already got. Before moving into your studio apartment, consider getting rid of everything you haven’t used over the past year. Try to avoid emotional attachments to unnecessary furniture and other space-stealing items. Take a tip from all those tiny home documentaries and eliminate anything that doesn’t add to the look or function of the room.
When looking at your office needs, do you really need all the typical office trappings like a stapler, hole punch, and hundreds of miscellaneous paperclips and sticky notes? Take note of what you use every day and make sure your office area has enough room for those items. Everything else can be stowed away until needed or tossed in the bin. You’ll not only have a more efficient workspace, but getting rid of unnecessary clutter also frees your mind to focus on what really matters.
Multi-Functional Furniture: Look at everything in your small space as doing more than one job. An ottoman with storage that can be used as a workspace, coffee table, and secret storage solution is a perfect choice. You can also consider an armoire that doubles as a desk, tables with leaves or that can be folded up, stacking furniture, and pieces on wheels. A sofa console is slim and can double as a work space when you flip out your laptop.
Make Your Space Do Double-Duty: Hide the office in a wardrobe, closet, or even a repurposed cabinet. These are all genius space savers that allow you to have a defined work area that is easy to close up and hide from sight when it’s time to switch from work mode to dinner time. If you can’t sacrifice the storage of a closet, a cozy dining nook can double as a desk during the day. Just make sure you stock the kitchen with healthy foods like fruit and nuts to you’re not tempted to nibble the day away on empty calories.
Get Organized: The key to all of this is organization. You need to have a place for everything and even a place to hide some things you don’t want out all the time. Look to repurpose things you already have, like muffin tins or unused Tupperware. These items can be used to cleverly store office supplies without taking up the same amount of room as a filing cabinet or roll-top desk.
Go Vertical: Maximizing your vertical space for organization makes the most sense for your studio apartment. Add shelves, ledges, and bookcases to give extra storage overhead that leaves precious floor space available for other uses. If you want to add some separation to your space, a slim floor-to-ceiling bookshelf provides both privacy and ample storage options.
Make It Pretty
Once you’ve got all the basics in place, it’s time to add a little fun to your function. Small spaces need more design focus and concentration than larger spaces, because you don’t have an inch to spare. When adding a design touch to your tiny space, you need to balance being bold with the right amount of restraint.
Maximize Character: One of the cool things about studio apartments is they often have unique details. Arrange your workspace around existing architectural details like an interesting window, exposed brick wall, or other eclectic details that make the space unique and naturally defined.
Perfect Paint: When it comes to making a small space appear larger sometimes all it takes is the right shade of paint. Light neutrals tend to open up a cramped space and breathe more life into the room. Consider going monochromatic throughout your entire to space to add a sense of continuity, tranquility, and create the feeling of one, large space rather than tiny, separate areas.
Let It Shine: Bathe your space in as much natural light as possible. Sunshine, combined with the right paint colors will make your small studio feel expansive and bright. If you have a garden view, bring the colors you see outside the window in. This will give a sense that your apartment extends into the garden area, creating the illusion of a larger space.
Define the Space: Even though your office will be an integral part of the overall space in your studio apartment, you can still define the work area. Think one bold accent to give dimension to the office. Something like painting the wall behind your desk a bold, accent color or hanging an inspiring photograph or piece of art.
If you want to add a statement with a patterned rug, make sure the rug is the only pattern in the space. The key to adding daring touches to your small workspace is restraint. Pick one statement piece and stick to it.
Mirrors: Install a large mirror or grouping of smaller mirrors to add extra light and make your small space seem bigger. Mirrors create the illusion of space and provide an extra touch of sparkle as well.
Light It Up: Pay attention to lighting – it’s easy to add extra focus and definition to your work space (especially if you’re using a closet or cupboard) with tucked-away track lighting or spotlights that highlight your work area without infringing on the rest of your space. Use sconces when possible, instead of lamps. They take up less floor and table space and give you the chance to highlight target areas in a functional way that’s attractive too.
Maximizing a small space may be challenging, but once you’ve wrangled your tiny space into a beautiful, functioning area that serves both your work and life needs, it’s a challenge you’ll be glad you undertook. No matter what the limitations of your studio apartment are, these design and logistical solutions will help you make the most of it and turn a tiny problem into a big success.