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Furnishing a one-room apartment

Caitlin Hughes Caitlin Hughes
minimalist  by AMBIVALENZ, Minimalist
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One room apartments are often home to young professionals starting out on the property ladder, and to professionals who commute and need a place to lay their weary heads during the week. Many people renting on a budget search for one-room apartments, and they are becoming increasingly popular and sought after in big cities. Finding a great little apartment is the first step, but then it actually needs to be furnished. This is often equally as challenging as securing your studio flat to begin with, but now there are lots of designers who cater for this market, with fold out furniture and clever, space-saving designs. 

With some imagination, creativity, and savvy shopping, you can create an enviable home that suits your lifestyle. Read through our tips on how best to work with the space you have:

Sofa beds

Sofa beds are a long established method of space saving in smaller homes or guest bedrooms. A bed that folds out of the wall may cost you a bit of time getting set up at night and when you get up in the morning, but it's often worth it. This bed even folds out over a couch, so you have somewhere to relax with friends when you're not catching up on your sleep. 


Mezzanines are great way to save space, as you can use the area below for storage. Typically, the top level is the bedroom, and the area underneath is a small office with a fold-out desk, or a mini-lounge, depending on what you need most. Here you have a quirky, modern staircase which is both aesthetically pleasing and practical: the alternating steps take up less space, and thus the 'Harry Potter' cupboard has plenty of room for anything you want stored out of sight. The support beams have also been used as a bookcase, ideal for grabbing a good read on your way to bed. 

Clever kitchens

Purity Modern kitchen by Mowlem&Co Modern

Typically, the kitchen in a one-room apartment is extremely small and won't accommodate more than one or two people at a time. It can be frustrating for those who like nothing more than to spend a weekend trying out new recipes to feed family and friends, but you can make cooking more enjoyable by planning the space carefully, even if your studio flat will never cut it as a dinner party venue. 

In terms of practicality, it's worth sacrificing a dishwasher for storage space. Built in shelving is also handy for dry ingredients and crockery, and if you're worried about it looking crowded and untidy, keep it hidden behind a printed curtain. When space is at a premium, a curtain that you can slide across makes more sense than a door which opens outwards.

Fold out chairs and tables

minimalist  by AMBIVALENZ, Minimalist Plywood

Folding Chair Fläpps – Criss Cross Red


These chairs are exactly what we've been waiting for: characterful and taking up only a tiny portion of space, they can be folded up completely when not in use and stored behind the door, under the bed, in the gap between the cooker and the fridge…

Having a designated area to sit and eat or have a chat over a cup of tea with visitors is important, even when space is limited. It's more sociable, and encourages you to relax and not to rush, in comparison to when you're eating on the go or standing at the kitchen counter. A fold-away table is also a good option if you need your floor space back once meal times are over. 

Storage units

If you still need some more storage after your built-in shelves and wardrobes have been filled to the brim, choose free standing furniture that is small but spacious. Avoid anything with too many little restrictive compartments as you'll want something flexible that can accommodate larger items too. Use the top of the cabinet to display your favourite oriental vase or vintage photo frames. Just because the apartment is small doesn't mean you can't have a bit of fun decorating and making it your own. 

Built in wardrobes

Here is a great example of the corridor space being used to its full potential. The sliding doors on the cupboards are practical and can hide an array of stuff you never got round to sorting out (nobody's perfect after all). The small shelves can hold a surprising amount, but be careful not to overcrowd them. Choose what you want to display carefully, particularly in the hallway, which gives guests a first impression of your home. 

Neutral colour scheme

Neutral colours create a sense of space in small apartments and keep them light and bright. Light wood flooring is a good idea and looks good stripped back. Rugs are best left for larger apartments where you have more floor space as you don't want to introduce too many unnecessary colours or patterns. If you're going to choose curtains, they shouldn't be dark or heavy. Blinds can work just as well, but shades of cream, grey or white are better than bold colours. 

As you go along decorating your apartment, you'll be sure to figure out new ways that both save, and create an impression of space, specific to your particular layout. Above all, be inventive, and eventually everything will (literally) slot into place! 

How will you furnish and decorate your one-room apartment? Leave us a comment in the section below.
Whitton Drive by GK Architects Ltd Modern

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