Before and After: A Cramped to Spacious Studio Makeover

published Dec 27, 2017
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(Image credit: Laurie Jones)

This renovation is very near and dear to my heart, having lived in many studio apartments, including one that was nearly identical to this one in size, configuration, and location. Watch this 300-square-foot studio go from dingy and cramped to bright and seemingly spacious.

(Image credit: Laurie Jones)

Laurie Jones, of Laurie Jones Home & Lifestyle, designed and executed this remodel for her daughter:

The before is what every apartment looks like in Wrigleyville. Dingy, outdated but the good news it had wood floors and an owner who was willing to let us paint. My daughter is a sophomore at DePaul University. She was given the task of finding an apartment that was safe and cost less than her housing when she was on campus last year. That ended up being an under 300 sq foot apartment close to transportation.

Chicago can get really depressing super fast in the winter so painting the entire unit white was #1 on the list of things to do.

It’s not Chicago’s fault! Winters around here are just brutal, and every bit of light that you can reflect is precious. White paint is definitely the way to go.

(Image credit: Laurie Jones)

Laurie’s description of the remodeling task for is my new #squadgoals, especially considering they moved “things out of Sloan’s dorm and into a second floor walk up in the city while there is a Cubs game going on.”

The walls had not been painted in years so they sucked up the paint. It took 6 gallons of good paint/primer to get it looking good. I think the project was probably about $3,500.00 but that money was spent over a few years and includes everything. The color scheme was chosen because of the items I bought my daughter for her dorm the year prior. Many of the things in the studio were from her dorm and her bedroom when she lived at home. The new things added were a small table that is used as a desk, vanity and eating, couch/bed, chair and dresser that is used for clothes storage and as a television unit. We (myself, grandma and my daughter) completed the project in 5 days. The makeover was really just paint, some removable wallpaper and some new knobs for the cabinets. Everything else were items she could take when she moves out.

That kitchen, while serviceable, doesn’t have a lot of style or storage going for it.

(Image credit: Laurie Jones)

The new kitchen is so bright and fresh, and that’s some of the best above-the-cabinets storage I’ve ever seen—it makes the most of the available space, it adds visual interest, and it looks nice and neat. When you live in a studio, you’re basically always in the kitchen, so being able to keep it organized and attractive is an amazing luxury. The most surprising aspect?

Everyone thinks the kitchen has subway tile but it’s temporary paper!

Even after viewing the closer-up photos in the original post, I had no idea!

(Image credit: Laurie Jones)

Here’s the very standard bathroom, before the three generations of women worked their magic on it. Laurie describes her approach as such:

I spent time searching for the best prices online over the course of 6 months prior to her getting the space. Everything came from big box stores. I didn’t pay full price for anything. I might have added some cooler light fixtures or done some sort of clever built ins to make the awkward space work a bit better, but honestly it’s for a sophomore in college and it’s way nicer than I ever had.

I can vouch for that! I lived in one of those Wrigleyville studio apartments of the same size, but I shared it with another person, and I was a graduated-from-college grown adult working full-time! I would have loved to have a similar makeover, and I’m thrilled Laurie’s daughter has such a nice home.

(Image credit: Laurie Jones)

What a huge difference painting the vanity and mirror—and walls—makes! It really makes the most of those marquee lights, while the white shower curtain allows light to flow into the rest of the home even when it’s closed.

Thank you Laurie Jones, and your daughter and mother! And head over to the original renovation post for more details and behind-the-scenes stories!