studio apartment layout ideas

Well-placed bookshelves can provide a sense of separation between the bed and the living space in a small studio. (Getty Images)

In a city like New York, studio apartments are a way of life. But while cozy and frequently charming, studios can be a challenge to decorate, what with the kitchen, bedroom, and living area all packed into one (often tight) space. The open-plan look has its appeal, but it can be a drag to have your bed right in the middle of all the action — after a long day, it’s nice to be able to retreat into your own private nook. Here are five studio apartment layout ideas to create a sense of separation between your bed and the rest of your living space, even in the smallest of studios. 

Studio Separator 1: French Doors

We love the way a half-wall made of classic French doors and molding makes this Hell’s Kitchen studio feel so much roomier than it is, imbuing the space with character and letting in tons of natural light. The installation gives the impression of a separate bedroom and an open space, all at the same time. 

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Studio Separator 2: Bookshelves

A bookshelf is the perfect multipurpose furniture piece that every studio needs. Not only can you use it to store books, photos, plants, and decorative objects, it can also double as a semi-open room divider, providing separation but still allowing light and air to get through, like in this cool studio in the Financial District. This airy white shelving unit from IKEA is both sleek and budget friendly, and you can line up more than one based on the amount of space you’re looking to divide.

Studio Separator 3: Curtains

There’s something old-world and romantic about bed curtains, conjuring images of glamorous mahogany four-posters. Velvet drapes, for example, will have a more dramatic effect, while sheer white curtains offer a more minimalist appeal. You can opt for a DIY canopy or hang fabric from a ceiling rod — either way, it makes a great style statement and creates a little separation between your bed and the rest of your space. 

Studio Separator 4: Low Furniture

A sofa or low shelving unit won’t completely conceal the bed, of course, but it definitely will help create a sense of separation. In this streamlined East Village studio, for example, a sofa near the foot of the bed helps define the bedroom and living areas as their own distinct zones.

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Studio Separator 5: Portable Screens & Garment Racks

A portable screen is an easy way to set your bed apart from the rest of your space (no tools or installation required). Even better, you can move it around or put it away whenever the mood strikes. When it comes to room dividers, many options abound, from opaque to see-through, but we particularly love the intricacy of this hand-carved wood folding screen, available at Target. Garment racks are another fashionable and functional way to create a partition between your bed and the living area — and as an added bonus, they also make a great storage solution if you don’t have much closet space.  

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