To make your studio apartment your very own urban oasis, whether earthy or glamorous, funky or cosy, you can use design tricks and smart ideas to make the most of the space at hand. The two things most studio dwellers contend with are a lack of space and the “exposed” feeling of living in your bedroom. PW speaks to experts to get a grip on how to do up a studio within a budget, while not compromising on the layout, finish and design.
Setting a budget
As is true with any project, setting a budget in advance puts your mind at rest, helps you chalk out a structured list of items to buy and prevents “impulse” purchases.
“The best way to eliminate overheads is by budgeting exactly how much you are willing to spend to furnish your home and stick to your checklist,” says Adel Sajan, director of Danube Group.
But how does one go about setting a budget? Adel suggests following simple rules to come up with the figure. “Divide the expenses based on the number of areas to be furnished in the studio, for example, living room, bedroom, study area, kitchen etc., and then allot the budget based on the how much time will be spent in each area.”
Claudia Baliyan, design director at Creating Homes, says one must consider the must-have and the nice-to-have when trying to set and stick to a budget.
“We first determine which are the must-have pieces and then work on the decorative accessories later,” says Baliyan. “For example, items like curtains are a must and are generally custom made, but we can make smart fabric choices to ensure we don’t go over budget.”
She also suggests looking for alternate ways to furnish a room, like a combination of a sofa and two chairs instead of buying a two-seater.
With the constraints of space that a studio presents, getting smart with furniture and accessories helps you make the most of design and function. “Use smart furniture that can save on space,” Sajan suggests. “Like a sofa set that will double up as a bed or a bookcase that works as a divider to segregate the room into different areas.”
Transforming spaces also takes away the privacy connotations of studios. Alternately, sheers or textured fabric curtains at affordable prices can form a stunning separation for the bed space. “Using multifunctional furniture can help you make the most of your budget and space,” says Baliyan. “For example, a bench that doubles as a storage.”
The market is slowly warming up to this idea, with beds that collapse into walls, pull-down dining tables, folding workstations and space-saving accessories becoming mainstream. Miraclz by Danube Properties, for example, is a new residential concept where studios and apartments come equipped with modular furniture and a convertible sofa that transforms into a bed by night.
Simple but adventurous
Mixing up styles and getting adventurous prevent a very structured or cultured look in a space that is tiny. “The easiest way to decorate a studio is by ensuring that your space isn’t too cultured,” says Sajan, emphasising the need to keep it simple yet elegant, but not boring. “You can ensure that by only having things that are absolutely necessary and by phasing out all that is not essential.”
Using walls to add a decorative accent or lighting to set the mood can make all the difference and add a designer flair to the studio without the prohibitive price tag. “Paint and wall decals are an inexpensive way to add interest and a highly designed look,” says Baliyan. “Opt for art prints and place them into ready-made frames to create an instant wall gallery instead of original artworks. Or for a tight space, make the most of your space by utilising your walls. Shelves are very inexpensive and a great way to store or showcase objects.”
Additionally, trendy wallpapers, pop-art cushions, chic curtains, mirrors, novel dividers in glass or wood as well as modish lamps and lighting ideas can all add an edge to your studio and create an illusion of space, all while being highly affordable, adds Sajan.
Whatever your budget, Dubai is ripe with options for you to create the studio of your dreams without breaking the bank.