Before and After: A Smart IKEA Hack Transforms a Renter’s Studio into a Cozy One-Bedroom

published Jan 21, 2024
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For better (see: these 20 incredibly chic studios) or worse (see: not being able to fall asleep due to a light coming from a random kitchen appliance), studio apartments famously do not have a distinct sleeping zone. 

But that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Renter Ashley Buchanan (@historyinhighheels) created a cozy bedroom with plenty of clothing storage in her 480-square-foot studio apartment in D.C. “Technically there was no bedroom before!” Ashley says. “While I dont mind an open studio … I thought it would be much more relaxing to have a separate (and, by default, darker and cozier) sleeping space.”

Credit: Ashley B

A massive IKEA shelf carves out a separate zone.

The major players in Ashley’s studio apartment are the large IKEA shelves (painted Behr’s Pink Taffy) that divide the space. “This makes it feel like a completely separate space!” Ashley says. On the back of that, there’s an IKEA ELVARI system (and there’s also one at the foot of the bed).

“I already owned the Elvarli system, so all I really bought were a couple additional shelves!” Ashley says. “I wanted to create the feel of a separate bedroom, while not making it feel too small and still maximizing space. After much space planning, I realized I could have it all. A space large enough for a queen bed, with room to walk on both sides AND additional open storage.”

Credit: Ashley B

Wallpaper also makes the space feel distinct.

Ashley says her main goal was for the space to feel “different from the rest of the apartment,” and her pink faux grasscloth wallpaper behind the headboard also helped her achieve this. In fact, it was her starting point for the sleep space.

As for other wall decor (and just decor in general!), Ashley lets her closet do a lot of the talking, which is smart for a small space. Her other bedroom styling tip is to go with neutral bedding so that you can switch up your throws and pillows over time. Ashley’s bedding is from Target, and her goldenrod pillowcases and teal throw are from Anthropologie. Her lampshade is also an Anthro find

“I think the bedroom came out sooo good and makes the space look twice the size!” Ashley says. “It gives me a cozy retreat and a ton of additional storage.”