You probably chose a small studio apartment because you needed to save money, or perhaps you didn’t need much space. If you were not lucky enough to score a furnished studio apartment, you must figure out the furniture layout and make this single room serve all kinds of functions. 

It’s a bit intimidating. 😫

Either way, a studio offers a compact and cozy living space with the glaring hurdle of having very few walls. In fact, you may only have walls around the bathroom. The lack of separate rooms makes creating distinct living areas challenging.

However, with some creativity and smart furniture choices, you can transform your studio apartment into a stylish and functional space that feels much larger than it actually is. 

I grew up with my grandpa, living in a small studio apartment in the backyard. I think back to how much he could get into that space. I also thought it was cool that his kitchen island was his bedside table at night. He hung his baseball caps on the wall like they were accent wallpaper.

Perhaps that studio was where my obsession with doing more in less and figuring out small spaces began. The good news for you is I have learned a ton along the way to share with you.

This article will explore essential furniture options and design tips to help you maximize space in your small studio apartment.

Key Takeaways

  • The right furniture in a space can increase functionality
  • Using vertical space will allow you to increase storage
  • Folding furniture can be utilized to transform a space for multi-purpose
  • Furniture on wheels can allow you to store items when not in use
  • Furniture can serve more than one function in a space

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I can earn commissions. If you decide to purchase through my links, it is at no cost to you.

The Challenge of Small Spaces


According to Wiktionary, a studio apartment is a “small apartment that combines several rooms, often the living room, bedroom, and kitchen, into a single room.” So you have to do a whole lot in one space.

Making the most of a small space can be difficult, especially concerning furnishing. You may not have room for a couch, chairs, or an island or bookshelves! 

However, several creative options will allow you to maximize your studio apartment without wasting too much space.  

While these questions can be overwhelming, the good news is that small spaces also offer opportunities for creative problem-solving. The key is to prioritize. 

Consider what you’ll do most in the space and furnish accordingly.

What are the key Pieces of Furniture to maximize space in a Small Studio Apartment

small space

1. Floating Shelves: Maximize Vertical Space

One of the key challenges in a studio apartment is limited floor space. To make the most of your vertical space, consider installing floating shelves. 

These shelves provide extra storage to display books, decorative items, or even as a makeshift desk. Floating shelves create a light and airy look, drawing the eye to the room’s perimeter and creating an illusion of more space.

2. Multifunctional Sofa Beds: Sleep and Lounge in Style

A sofa bed is a must-have furniture piece for any studio apartment. It is a comfortable seating option during the day and can be easily transformed into a cozy bed at night. Look for sofa beds that are compact and offer additional storage space underneath. 

This way, you can keep your bedding and pillows organized and easily accessible. With a multifunctional sofa bed, you can effortlessly accommodate guests without sacrificing space or comfort.

3. Foldable Dining Table: Dine and Save space

Having a dedicated dining area in a studio apartment can be a challenge. However, with a foldable dining table, you can enjoy meals without wasting valuable space. These tables can be easily folded and stored when not in use, allowing you to reclaim the area for other activities. 

Look for sturdy and durable tables, yet lightweight for easy maneuvering.

4. Storage Ottoman: Hide Clutter and Sit Comfortably

In a studio apartment, every inch of storage counts. A storage ottoman is a functional and stylish furniture piece that provides both seating and hidden storage. 

You can use it as a footrest, extra seating, or coffee table. Lift the top of the ottoman to reveal a spacious compartment where you can store pillows, blankets, or other items you want to keep out of sight. 

A storage ottoman is a smart investment that adds functionality and organization to your studio apartment.

5. A Loft or Murphy Bed: reclaim your space

A loft or Murphy bed can be a game-changer in a small studio space. Loft beds elevate the sleeping area, freeing up valuable floor space for a desk, storage, or a cozy sitting area.

On the other hand, Murphy beds fold into the wall when not in use, allowing for a more flexible living space that can easily transition from a bedroom to a living room. 

Both options are excellent for maximizing functionality without sacrificing comfort.

6. Folding Chairs: Extra Seating on Demand

When you have guests over, it’s important to have extra seating options. Folding chairs are a practical solution for studio apartments because they can be easily stored away when unused. 

Look for lightweight, compact folding chairs stacked or hung on the wall. Choose comfortable and durable chairs to ensure your guests feel welcome and at ease.

7. Room Divider: Create Privacy and Define Space

Creating separate zones for different activities in a studio apartment can make your space larger and more organized. 

A room divider adds privacy and helps define different areas within your apartment. Look for versatile dividers that can be folded or moved easily. 

You can choose from options like folding screens, bookshelves, or even curtains to create distinct living, sleeping, and working areas in your studio apartment.

Check out some room divider ideas in this related article: 

11 Clever Studio Apartment Room Divider Ideas: Divide & Maximize Space

8. Nesting Tables: Space-Saving and functional

Nesting tables are a great addition to any studio apartment. These tables come in two or three sets, each fitting perfectly under the larger one. 

Pull out the smaller tables and use them when needed for extra surface area. Nesting tables are versatile and can be used as side tables, coffee tables, or additional seating options when guests are over.

 They are compact, stylish, and perfect for small spaces.

9. Lift-Top Coffee Table: Hidden Storage Meets Elevated Design

A lift-top coffee table serves dual purposes in a small space. The top lifts to become a desk or dining surface, while hidden storage underneath keeps essentials out of sight. 

This hidden compartment keeps your living area neat and clutter-free. When you’re done using the lifted top, lower it back down to reclaim your living room’s open feel.

It’s a sleek, space-saving solution that adds functionality to any studio apartment or small living room.

10. Modular Storage Units: Customizable and Adaptable

Modular storage units consist of individual cubes or compartments that can be arranged to suit your storage needs. 

Use them as bookshelves, shoe racks, or TV stands. The beauty of modular storage units lies in their versatility and adaptability. You can easily add or remove cubes to accommodate your changing storage requirements.

11. Rolling Carts: Movable and Versatile

Mobility is key in a small apartment, and rolling carts provide the flexibility to move furniture around easily. Rolling carts can serve as a counter or island in the kitchen, storage for kitchenware, or even a portable bar when entertaining guests. 

When not in use, they can be quickly rolled out of the way, freeing up space in your apartment.

Other Key Considerations for Selecting Furniture

Some other key considerations for your small studio apartment include furniture layout and how to force the eye to see the space as larger. 

The furniture arrangement can significantly impact how big or small a space feels. Keep pathways clear and maintain an open layout where possible. This makes the space more navigable and contributes to a sense of spaciousness.

Light colors, reflective surfaces, and strategic lighting can make a small space feel bigger than it is. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-placed mirror or a clear glass table to open a room.

Taking your furniture to the next level

Here are some ideas to boost creativity when thinking of furniture.

  • Opt for furniture on wheels that allow you to move it easily to change a space’s layout quickly. 
  • Choose furniture that doubles as art. Sculptural chairs or uniquely designed tables can serve as conversation starters and focal points, adding character to a small space.
  • Incorporate vintage or antique pieces that have a story or sentimental value. These items can add depth and personality to a small space, making it feel uniquely yours.
  • Consider furniture with built-in technology, like USB ports, wireless charging pads, or LED lighting. This adds a layer of convenience without requiring extra space for gadgets.

Ways to Maximize Your Furniture Budget

  • Shop garage sales for furniture pieces
  • Consignment stores or flea markets may be a great place to score deals
  • Discount stores like Goodwill or Habitat ReStore may have some options
  • Consider borrowing furniture from family or friends
  • Check out Craigslist or Facebook marketplace
  • Go curbing to turn trash into treasure
  • Shop the discount zone at furniture stores where some furniture was returned or has an imperfection

Furniture budget: How much should I spend on furniture for a small studio apartment?

Deciding on the budget to invest in furniture can be hard because there are a few things you have to consider:

  • The time you live in the studio may dictate your chosen furniture. If you only plan to live in a place for 6-12 months, investing in furniture may not be ideal.
  • Can the furniture you buy for the space work in a larger space in the future?
  • If you select lower-quality furniture to save money, will it last long enough?
  • It may be worth a splurge if you can creatively use a single piece for more than one purpose.


Small spaces can offer a unique problem to solve. The key to successfully furnishing a studio apartment is to find furniture that is both functional and space-saving. Then, choose a layout for that furniture that creates the zones you need. 

Here are a few things to be okay with when deciding on furniture for a small studio space:

  • Be okay with putting a sofa in the middle of the room with a divider behind it to create a faux wall. 
  • Perhaps your sofa is your bed, and your kitchen island is your bedside table. 
  • Nothing says a furniture piece has to serve only one function. 
  • Think outside the box and be open to changing the layout until you get it right. 
  • By carefully selecting the right pieces, you can maximize your available space and create a comfortable and stylish living environment.

Keep an open mind and try some new and unusual layouts. You may be surprised by what you can create in such a small space.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a couch in a studio apartment?

Not necessarily. A couch is a space to sit instead of the bed for yourself or guests. If you aren’t one to entertain or are okay with sitting on the bed, then why buy a sofa?

Do studio apartments come furnished?

Some studio apartments come completely furnished or partially furnished.

What furniture should you buy for a small apartment?

Think about what functions you absolutely must have in the space. A sleeping space and a place to sit and eat is necessary. Things like a sofa, dining table, and coffee tables are only sometimes needed in the space. 

What colors make a studio look bigger?

Light paint colors and light wood colors make a space feel bigger. 

How do you make a small studio look bigger?

Pair your light color choices with the right lighting to enhance the size of the space. Reflective items or glass tables can offer the illusion of more space. 

What is a studio apartment versus a one-bedroom apartment?

A studio apartment is typically one large room with walls for the bathroom. A one-bedroom apartment will have a sleeping space that can be closed off from the rest of the apartment. 

  • Erin Hybart

    Meet Erin, a real estate enthusiast with a wealth of knowledge and an insatiable curiosity for all things Real Estate and living with intention. She passionately advocates for alternative, affordable, and eco-friendly housing solutions. She believes in pushing the industry's innovation boundaries and thinking outside the box. As a licensed real estate agent in Louisiana, Erin dedicates herself to assisting clients in buying and selling properties and mentoring fellow agents to succeed in their own Real Estate businesses. In addition to her professional pursuits, Erin channels her expertise into captivating house-flipping adventures.

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