Studio apartments are the most sought-after by single executives or young couples in the UAE. Owing to lower rental costs, they are the best options when starting your life in the country. However, studios often prove to be too small to furnish in the way that we like.
This guide offers you key tips and advice on how to make your studio spacious, functional and, most importantly, a place you can call home. All the items mentioned can be easily installed and removed to prevent permanent marks or damage to the rented studio apartment. All these tips are budget-friendly as well.
The first five points tackle how the studio looks and feels, while the rest will help you design within the space.
1. Your studio: Colour scheme
As every interior designer will reiterate, colour schemes in your home can change the depth and illusion of space. Light colours create a feeling of openness while darker colours create a more intimate and closed space.
When renting a new apartment, your owner has to provide the flat freshly painted and cleaned. If you see the apartment before this, talk to your owner about the colours used - white being the best and most viable option. If you want to add a colour to the space, do it DIY-style and make an accent wall or corner.
Before doing anything, speak to your landlord. Since repainting happens every year is most buildings, this shouldn't be a problem.
2. Furniture aka storage
Storage can prove to be very difficult in closed spaces making your apartment look largely like a broom closet. Avoid this by using multi-functional furniture that has storage compartments.
When getting your bed, for example, always look for one that has storage underneath. Same goes for your dining, reading or work tables. If you get a TV stand or a table that functions as one, make sure it has cabinets for some light storage.
3. Natural and faux lighting
Whatever natural light beams into your studio, harness as much as you can. Use sheer curtains and mirrors to channel as much of it as possible. Using LED lights and fun lamps can make your room look stylish within a budget. Go for white bright lights as opposed to yellow lights; white lights bring a sense of space into the room.
4. Multi-purpose everything
You really do not need three lamps for reading, using the laptop and getting ready. Use one item for multiple uses wherever possible. This is most relevant when it comes to tables, night stands, lamps and other such items.
5. Clutter takes space
The chief obstacle to a beautifully designed studio is clutter, which takes space away, as well as being a sore sight. A clean space will look fresher and larger than a cluttered one.
Let us start the redesign with the first step into your home.
6. Welcome: Design a Doorway
You will definitely need a rug for hygienic as well as aesthetic reasons at the entrance to your studio. Having a reliable anti-slip underlay helps when vacuuming and helps prevent slipping.
Do you need a doorway? Yes, it creates a good separation of the entry area into your apartment, making the apartment seem larger.
Studio apartments have narrow doorways at best and if you have one, a rack of coat hooks and a small two-step shoe rack for your daily footwear behind the door is all that is called for. Having the coat hooks on the back of the door will be more convenient for extremely narrow doorways.
If you do not have a doorway, you can create one using a narrow book shelf or cabinet, placed perpendicular to the door, with the front of it turned inside or away from the door. You can then put up a hook rack on the back of it to hang your coats and even you shoes.
If you don’t need storage or the space is small, but you still need a space-saving separator, use sheer curtains or panels that let light stream through.
7. Open kitchen
Many studio apartments in the UAE sport open-plan kitchens which essentially have no physical enclosure for your cooking area.
Adjacent to your stove, which will be horizontal to the wall, place a work table which also has storage space in the form of drawers or cabinets. For tables without drawers or cabinets use baskets, bins or crates to store your vessels or dry food items.
Above your work table or sink you can attach hook racks for your ladles and towels.
8. Kitchen Island
If your kitchen is basically in your living room, creating a kitchen island is a fun and functional way to create a separation. Use a table which can work as a prep area and when extended convert it into a breakfast bar or dining area with stools which can be tucked below the table itself.
9. Closed kitchen
Separate kitchens in studio apartments are likely to be a little cramped with pre-installed cabinets and such. Adding storage with baskets placed above the cabinets is a great idea. Also adding a narrow mirror facing the light source makes the space look longer and brighter.
We assure you that having your own personal nook for reading or working is perfectly possible in your studio. You only need to choose the bare essentials which include a chair or a seat, a soft rug or footrest for your feet and a place to keep your laptop, book or coffee.
A cubby nook or window seat is also possible if you live alone and only need a single bed. In this case, place a vertical shelving unit on its side, ideally up against the wall with a window. Add a thin mattress or chair cushions on the top side and you will have your reading nook complete with storage underneath.
11. Make your own stuff!
Making your own pieces of furniture or items in your home will connect you to your space like nothing else. Here we share two easy-to-do DIY items which can be made in no time and at negligible costs:
A lamp shade can make or break the ambience of the room. Make your own lamp shades using products you can find in a stationary shop.
DIY Magnet Board
The door of your fridge may be your go-to magnet board but create your own small artsy boards on which you can stick notes, pictures and more using this tutorial. You can use old baking trays and metallic sheets.