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5 Smart Ways To Make Your Studio Apartment Look Bigger

By bringing the outdoors in, adding earthy colours as well as some new multi-functional pieces of furniture, you can effortlessly make your space seem roomier.

City lovers often turn to small compact studio apartments, those ‘self-contained’ stylish living spaces that offer affordability and flexibility, to be able to enjoy the exciting lifestyle metropolises offer. While small spaces are easier to decorate, manage and keep clean, it can be a challenging task to keep them from feeling cramped and confining. Thankfully, there are easy and affordable ways to attain successful small-space living and a lot of them boil down to tricking the eye into perceiving more space.

Rental apartment brand Essential Living has joined forces with London interior design expert Claudia Dorsch, who has provided some useful design hacks to make your home feel more spacious. The Founder of Claudia Interiors, who has a passion for renovation, decoration and furniture, even incorporates some of this year’s interior trends while doing so.

Here are the five clever ways you can transform your small space to make it look like a trendy, charming and cosy Zen-esque retreat.

Link to Essential Living:

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Shop for multi-functional furniture

Constraints of space may limit what you can buy, but there is a lot of furniture out there that is cleverly designed to have several purposes, something you should use to your advantage.

Having furniture that suits the space in your home will allow you to convert a living space into a dining one or add a workstation to the room, offering accessibility, comfort and purpose.

“Invest in multi-functional furniture pieces, like for example, a table that can function as a desk and dining table, a sofa bed that is ready to be used when we can finally have guests over, or ottoman storage that can be used as a coffee table and extra seats,” the Inchbald School of Design trained Dorsch says. “Big furniture pieces like beds take a lot of space, but having a storage bed can be very useful.”

With a lot of us working from home now, investing in a statement piece of furniture that can also operate as a desk, like a bookcase dropdown desk, is a great way of taking advantage of space.

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Add some greenery

Bringing the outdoors in can help us embrace the beauty of nature at home. The humble house plant is one of the hottest home accessories at the moment, and in addition to being trendy, they have significant health benefits. By fighting off toxins in the air they can aid in reducing blood pressure, fighting fatigue and easing coughing.

“We will be seeing a continuation of the interest in outdoor spaces, or for flats and homes without outdoor spaces, to bring the outside in by adding indoor plants or starting a herb garden of their own,” Dorsch, who has a studio/showroom in her Hampstead home, says.

One of the most saught-after plants across the UK during the last lockdown was the Snake plant. High carbon dioxide (CO2) levels can shake our cognitive skills and productivity, however this plant's ability to absorb CO2 effectively can really increase workflow while adding an appealing aesthetic.

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Bring bright lighting into the mix

Bright lighting is important when it comes to creating an inviting space, and while sunlight is ideal, natural lighting isn’t always an option for those living in studio apartments. Fortunately, there are ways you can create the illusion of more natural light in your home, including the use of mirrors and houseplants.

First, make sure any of the windows you do have aren’t blocked by items like picture frames on the window sill or furniture and try letting in as much natural light as you can. Then think about adding some mirrors on the walls as they will help bounce the light around a room. Another option is to opt for some furniture pieces with mirrored surfaces, like a standout mirrored table, which will maximize the amount of natural light being reflected in your space.

You can also experiment with artificial lighting, by adding some full-spectrum light bulbs that are especially designed to simulate daylight! While they help light fixtures in your space, try to cut down the amount of time you use this lighting as the bulbs give off heat, something none of us need more of during the summer months.

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Think earthy colours

The colours in your home should reflect you, but it’s also worthwhile considering hues that can reflect natural life and create warmth and comfort. 

Earthy colours can be a great backdrop for a living room, as they have natural and soothing hues. They are also predicted to be a key player in this year's home décor palettes. Focus on simply adding a splash of colour on walls using a nature-inspired palette, for example forest and earthy hues, sage, pine or deep blue with a pop of yellow.

“Every room deserves a little colour. Pick a colour that best represents the look, feels and mood that you want for each room, either you go for a neutral, monochrome colour palette or a bolder option of going for complementary colours always works,” Dorsch, a former asset management employee at global financial institutions, says. “The key is creating a cohesive design, tied together with the right hues and shades. This can turn your house or flat into a series of spaces that are pleasing and inspiring.”

Understandably, many people renting apartments aren’t able to paint their walls, however investing in some cushions or wall-hangings in these colours will instantly make all the difference. Even a simple throw in a blue-green or sage colour will reflect natural light so well.

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Consider fabrics that are suitable for summer

The shape of a room, the colour of surfaces and the positioning and brightness of lighting all influence how we perceive space, so by using different textures, fabrics and designs you can create a maximum comforting impact. 

With the warmer weather, you need some cooling fabrics to help you avoid feeling hot and bothered. Whilst cotton and linen are simple choices, they are effective and will assist in making you feel less flustered when that sunshine is glaring in from your windows.

“In terms of colour, lighter colours best reflect light and so create the appearance of space, whilst darker colours, decorative wallpapers and patterned fabrics shrink space and absorb light,” the multi-lingual Dorsch says.

Go for light pastel colours such as pale pinks and citrus lemons that will lift your mood but also avoid omitting heat.

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