question for studio apartment dwellers

beckersterFebruary 23, 2005

well i dont officially live in an apartment, but me and my hubby rent out the basment of my parents house (it's surprisingly not that bad living with my parents). they are moving soon and we are going with them. the problem is that the potential house is a tri-level (i'm very happy to have windows and not live in a cave anymore) and the lowest level/basement is just one big room. i'm curious how people that live in studio apartments arrange their places. i'm trying to figure out how to not have the bed awkwardly sitting in the livingroom, or a couch and tv awkwardly in the bedroom...anyone have some suggestions?

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Instead of useing a bed and a couch, maybe you can find a nice couch that opens into a bed. If it were a single person I'd suggest, a day bed that would double for both. That's what I've seen on HGTV.

If you have a counter that extends into the room (not a wall to wall) on one show, they put a good sized round table top on the end of the counter to double as a dining room table, using stools instead of chairs.

Curtains, curtains, curtains, everywhere. They would work wonderfully as false walls or simi walls to give the illusion of seperate rooms.

If your just plain stuck with a couch and a bed, with no other options, in one magazine, I saw, the head board of the bed was along one corner wall, with the sofa at the foot of it. Soft drapes and covered tables, trunks for storage.

Maybe go to a camper trailor place and look at some of those and it will show you how to utilize small spaces to the maximum. Just a few ideas.

In my opinion, living in a two family home, be it a basement or an attic, is still apartment living. You still are sharing a home with someone else.

Good luck with your move..


    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 6:20AM
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depends a lot on how much space there is...

if you have enough room, BUILDING a wall isn't out of the question- you'd be amazed at how much privacy you can get from an 8' long partition in the right place.

if that's really not an option, making a wall out of book cases is an almost classic choice- though I know one couple who have a studio apartment, and use their entertainment center as a room divider :)

standing screens, or curtains suspended from the ceiling (I think Ikea sells a system not unlike the hospital curtain channels) can break up a space pretty effectively visually, and can be pulled back for entertaining.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 1:57PM
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You can create the semblance of rooms using curtains, bookshelves, tables, etc. For example, you might put your bed and bedroom furniture furthest away from the door, for privacy. Then, maybe, a large, open bookcase, with a living room and dining area arranged in the other part of the room.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 1:26AM
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Only if the room is very large that you feel that there is a need to break up the space, should you need to use some kind of dividers such as curtains, screen etc.

How about getting a wall-bed (or Murphy bed) that discreetly disappears for the day time? I would personally consider something like that as I prefer an open bright airy living space.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wall Beds

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 2:12AM
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A murphy bed could be a great idea. It would really open up the place while you are watching TV, etc, while still giving you a "real bed" to sleep on.

I lived in a studio for a couple years with a 15' square living/sleeping area. It was really too small to even partition. I did some experimentation with it and wound up with 2 claustrophobic closet-like spaces. If your space is large enough, it might be worth a try - but would suggest against a full wall unless it truly is a "big space"

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 11:13AM
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I have a large studio apartment--the main room is 40' by 20', with a separate kitchen. The landlord built a sort of half wall (it only goes up 9', the ceiling is 14') that extends about 55" into the main room about 3/5 of the way down the long wall. It is really a closet and helps to hide the bed a little bit.

I also have two tall bookcases back to back at one point on the opposite long wall, with an matching low bookcase butted up to one of them. This both helps to hide my always messy desk, but also to bring some furniture out into the middle of the room so that it doesn't look as if all the furniture is pushed back against the walls.

I'm not a big fan of sofa-beds. I think they are a hassle and tend not to get made up most of the time. And they are not as comfortable as a real bed. If this is where you are living full-time, you really need to take that into account. You can create a headboard for your bed out of bookcases which you float in the open space of the room. Face the shelves into the living room area of the apartment and put the bed against the back side. This will also face the bed away from the living area.

I thought when I rented my apartment that I would buy a floor screen to help separate the space. I've decided not to, as I like the big expanse of open space. (So do the cats.) I'm also not a fan of curtains. I think the curtains get pushed to the side most of the time and pulled shut only when there's company. If the idea works for you, there are some cable suspension systems that would work well.

I entertain a lot (I'm a single woman.) It really hasn't been a problem having my bed visible from the living/dining area. Partly because of the closet wall that's there, which partly hides the bed, although the foot of the bed is clearly there. Partly because I put away the floral lavender quilt I used to use and bought a tailored bedspread in a dark red that coordinates with the rest of the furniture. I have a quilt in dark colors folded at the foot of the bed. No fancy pillows or anything, so it doesn't look too girly. It just looks as though it belongs there and no one seems to notice it.

What really separates the apartment in to different spaces are the area rugs. I've got wood floors and downstairs neighbors, so I needed to put something on the floors to muffle the noise. I have a large 9' by 13' rug for the living room, a 7' by 9' rug for the dining room, a 6'by 9' rug for the bed room, a 5' by 7' rug for the study and a 3' by 5' rug for the cozy reading nook that was the only use I could find for the corner opposite my bed. I went to Ocean State Job Lot one day and got most of the rugs at the same time. They are fake Orientals and are all from the same company. They have different patterns, but all use the same colors in different proportions (they all have tan, blue, red and brown, but one looks mostly tan, one mostly red, etc.), so they all blend together.

Then I just worked with furniture placement. All the living room furniture is at the end with the entrance, along with the TV and stereo. Then the dining room. Both of these take up the full width of the apartment. Then there's the study and cozy reading nook along one wall, with the bedroom opposite them.

I find it's a lot easier to vacuum when there are no separate rooms. And I like the feeling of space. I rented this place to save money to buy a house, but I may just stay here a few years because I like it so much.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 6:00PM
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your place sounds very cool camlan. i agree with not going for the sofa bed, unless you're going to buy a really good one (and if I could afford one of those, i'd not be living in a studio :) we had the large room/no bedroom also and tried a few different things with the bed. one was the sofa bed, which we *hated* converting everyday. before we resorted to the sofa bed, we actually had just a mattress on the floor, which was perfectly comfortable with the support of the floor and which was easy to swing up, murphy-bed style. but mattress-on-the-floor was just a little too campy for me, hence the temporary move to the sofa bed until we moved and got a real bedroom. the daybed as both couch and bed sounds alright, but wouldn't work for me as i have decided it is ok to get popcorn crumbs on the couch, but having them in bed is not an option :)

we actually managed the floating wall of bookcase and entertainment system that have been described above in a small studio in nyc (i've had so many different apartments...), and that does work alright if you entertain, but i've actually changed it back to an open format because i liked the open feeling better. i went to a party in someone else's studio (which somehow was even smaller than mine) and they had the "open format" with the bed in full view, but it had a gauzy curtain tightly around it (it reminded me a little of mosquito netting, but it was a nice effect). it made the bed a feature of the room, instead of hiding it, but also kind of made it off limits to people gnoshing on potato chips. the coats got put on/in it for the party...i liked it...anyway, those are my two cents. thanks for starting the thread, i'd love to hear more ideas of how people have spiffed up their studios..

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 1:04AM
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some magazine had a story about a designer w/ a railroad apartment, and the bedroom was the middle room. Big French doors between each room.

There was a low bookcase at the foot of the bed--it was just high enough to clear the pilllows. So when you were looking that direction, you couldn't actually SEE the bed. That might be nice.

Using an armoire as part of the bookcase divider might be nice--instant closet in the bedroom.

Martha Stewart Living did a great story on using bookcases to divide a room--turn one to face one room, the other to face the other room. Then you could put hooks on the flat side in the entry way, and backpacks in cubbies of the open side; on the living-room side, they had book storage and a place to hang a picture or mirror.

I wanted, once, to flip the bookshelf access within the SAME bookshelf. You use the bookcase as a headboard, and the two shelves that are just above the pillows would be open to the bedroom, as a nightstand. The living-room side would have storage at the bottom, maybe even w/ doors, where the mattress would be on the bedroom side. Then the upper area (which was open to the bedroom) would have places to display artwork, Or, you could put a shelf that sticks out, and have a place to set a vase. Then book storage again above.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2005 at 12:18PM
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Well I work for a company that specializes in helping people optimize their space. Old Creek Wall Bed Factory designs and manufactures modern, stylish and affordable Murphy beds to fit in any space you may have a multipurpose for.

Most of our clients will put the bed in the middle of their largest wall or have the bed recessed into a closet to keep it even more concealed.

Please let me know if I can be of any help!

Good luck arranging your space!

Here is a link that might be useful: Old Creek Wall Bed Factory

    Bookmark   December 4, 2008 at 9:02PM
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