5 Things You Should Know About Living in a Studio Apartment (From Someone Who Has Done It)

updated Jan 2, 2023
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(Image credit: Andrea Posadas)

A year and a half ago I moved from Houston, Texas to New York, New York, and from a 1,000-square-foot, two-bedroom townhouse to a 250-square-foot studio. And you know what? I love my new space, and my new city, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a bit of an adjustment to live in a studio apartment.

Tips on living in a studio apartment

If you’re used to living in a traditional house, with different rooms for everything, living your entire life in one room can be, at least initially, kind of weird. Here’s how I learned to deal.

1. Having a bed in your living room isn’t as big of a deal as you think.

I’ve noticed, in my perusal of the comments sections of Apartment Therapy posts (we really do read the comments, guys!) that a lot of people seem to think that just having a bed right out there in your living room is a really big deal. And it was, at first.

The first night I fell asleep in my new apartment I remember being distinctly weirded out that I could see my kitchen from my bed. I felt… exposed, somehow. It was like the dream where you go to school and you realize when you get there that you aren’t wearing any pants. There is not enough house here.

But as strange as this was, I’ve gotten used to it. At first it felt weird and un-cozy that I could see the clock on my microwave from my bed, but now it just feels kind of normal. We humans are very adaptive creatures.

2. But you’ll still want to make your bed every morning.

If there was one piece of advice I could impress on every studio dweller, it would be this: always make your bed every morning. If you do not make your bed, your apartment will be a disaster.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

3. Think carefully before you break your apartment up into a billion tiny rooms.

Sure, if your ‘studio’ apartment is really a 900-square-foot loft, go ahead and buy a ton of IKEA bookcases, or hang up some curtains, or make a bunch of nifty moveable walls. But if you’re dealing with a really small studio, breaking up the space into even smaller spaces may not be the best idea.

You can distinguish different zones for living and sleeping and working with rugs and color choices and clever furniture arrangements, without breaking the sight lines and making your space seem more cramped.

(Image credit: Kim Lucian)

4. Controlling clutter is really, really important.

If you live in a studio (especially if you live in a New York studio with hardly any closets, or no closets at all), chances are good you’ll be able to stand in one place and see pretty much everything in your apartment.

You don’t have the option of tossing everything into the spare room and shutting the door. So it’s really important to declutter rigorously, and have more storage space than you think you’ll need, so if you need to put some stray things away at the last minute you’ll have a place for them to go.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

5. Don’t try to make your apartment do too much.

Not every apartment needs to have a designated dining area, living area, and workspace. If you eat all your meals sitting on the couch, maybe a dining table isn’t really necessary. If you hardly ever work at home, maybe you don’t really need a desk. Think carefully about how you live, and build a home with the things you really need, as opposed to the ones you just think you need.

→ Set Your Small Space Free: 5 ‘Necessities’ You May Not Really Need After All