Decorating a Studio: 7 Tricks I Learned Living in NYC

Ahhh New York City. The only place in the world that people will happily pay $2300 for a 500 square foot studio with no closet space and a three story walk-up. You know why? Because it’s absolutely worth it, and you don’t really have a choice. The benefit of this small living space is that you have less to clean, you need to buy less furniture, and you also need to keep the amount of stuff you own to a bare minimum. When it comes to decorating, here are a few tricks I picked up after living in four different studios during my 10 years as an NYC resident.

1. Work up

Utilize the height of your walls with shelving , especially floating shelves because they use zero floor space. Shelving is great for books and pictures, but just be careful not to have too many little trinkets all over your place or people will think they’re at a yard sale. In the bathroom, I bought a shoe organizer from The Container Store and hung it from my bath curtain pole to put all my hair and makeup accessories – which means I didn’t need to take up space with an extra piece of furniture to hold all the crap I need to try and look cute.

2. Less is more (and bigger furniture helps)

I know this doesn’t seem to make sense, but a bunch of smaller pieces of furniture in a small space can quickly make the space feel cluttered and smaller. The entire living area of my studio consists of a good sized sectional couch, a big coffee table, a media console, my bed and an end table. That’s it. The pieces that I have are from high end stores (that I got cheap on craigslist – read how), which means that less is definitely more.

3. Keep it light

Don’t paint your studio any dark colors – this will make your tiny space look even smaller. The same can be said for dark furniture. Unless you have a big dog or small children, I would keep your couch or chairs as light and tonal as possible to keep the space fresh and open. Also avoid heavy drapery. I’ve always invested in black out blinds with just sheer drapes on top to get as much light in during the day as possible.

4. TV alway goes on the wall

Hanging the television on the wall frees up a ton of space to either keep the area underneath clean or to be able to use your entertainment unit for other things, like pictures of your cat. Or your vision board. Don’t judge me.

5. Get creative with the closet

With hanging space a true luxury in most small spaces, you should consider hanging a second rod so that you have two rows of hanging clothes one on top of the other. You should also try and squeeze a dresser somewhere in the closet so that it doesn’t take up room in your living space.

6. Use Rugs to create separation

Use nice big rugs in either the living area, under the bed or both to create a feeling of separation when your bedroom is also your living room (and often also your dining room and kitchen).

7. Multi-function furniture is your friend

Pull-out couches, futons and coffee tables that also serve as storage space are all pieces that will help you free up space in your studio. The more furniture that also serves as storage, the better. Also look for a bed frame that allows you enough space underneath to store things.

Many finance experts advise spending no more than 30% of your income on your living expenses. Don’t be scared to live in a studio. You can save a ton of money, and with just a little bit of effort you can make it an incredible space – like mine! Here’s what I did with my 380 square foot studio:


decorate studio

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  1. Pingback: Easy Ways to Save Money on Your Apartment Costs

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