Before & After: A Chicago Student’s Studio Gets Colorful

published Aug 14, 2015
Post Image
(Image credit: Steven Sampang)

We were recently challenged by Walmart to completely redesign a student’s studio apartment in Chicago’s Presidential Towers. Since we’re never one to say no to a design challenge, we jumped right in! We talk all the time about small budgets, small spaces and working within rental constraints (wall-to-wall carpet anyone?), so we agreed to give it the old college try. See how we took this bland studio to another level.

(Image credit: Steven Sampang)

Every rental comes with unique issues. Add in a college budget and a strict landlord, and you’ve got yourself quite a puzzle. We started with a blank canvas and had only a few days to pull everything together. Shopping Walmart, we selected some of our favorite pieces to create a fun, modern, colorful oasis, full of items to take through graduation and beyond.

Before, the studio was uninspired — plain walls, low ceilings and a dark kitchen — although at least there was a great view of downtown Chicago. We started by creating zones and dividing the studio into sections: living room, bedroom, dining and office.

(Image credit: Steven Sampang)

Office: Every college student needs a desk. We chose a two-level, narrow desk that serves as a place to do homework, as well as a landing strip for keys and coats after coming in the front door. We also made sure to include plenty of shelves in the studio for all those textbooks.

(Image credit: Steven Sampang)

Living room: A large area rug helps divide and ground the space and feels fresh and clean underfoot. We chose a colorful, double-duty sofa that lays down into a bed when guests come in from out of town. The faux marble coffee table was a surprising hit for us that looked like it was worth much more than it cost. We totally wanted to steal it and bring it home!

(Image credit: Steven Sampang)

Bedroom: The navy blue headboard brings some weight and heft against the long white wall, and a chair used as a nightstand can double as extra seating in a pinch. We chose a scallop patterned coverlet, since scallops are in, y’all.

All in all, we love how the studio turned out. It was so fun to see what we could do with a small budget and a quick turnaround. Plus, we love being able to get out of the office and work on real design. Thanks for letting us come over and play! Now, does anyone else want us to come help with a makeover? We’re taking submissions






Special thanks shoutout goes to our fab photographer Steven Sampang and the team at South Social & Home for helping pull all this together!