How to Use Shelving to Make the Most of a 500 Square Foot Studio Space

by Alex ThatcherJune 29, 2018

Maximize Living Space in a Tiny Studio Through Clever Storage

In densely populated cities like New York or Chicago, the reality of living in a cramped studio apartment is something that many people understand all too well. According to an article published by the New York Post, the average size of a studio apartment in New York City is just 550 square feet with a monthly rent of $2,300. The average square footage of a studio apartment in Chicago is also roughly 551 square feet.

While houseplants, minimalist trinkets, and plush vintage furniture are certainly trending in the interior design world, it’s important to design and decorate your living area with the reality of your space in mind. If you’re dealing with space constraints, it doesn’t make much sense to fill your home with huge, clunky furniture as this will only make a small space feel smaller.

For space challenged city dwellers, it’s important to pay extra close attention to the layout and flow of your studio space in order to make the most of the little room you have. Small apartments can easily be just as chic as apartments with massive square footage – it just takes the right amount of planning and optimization of space.

using shelves in a studio

Take Advantage of High Ceilings

In many cities, building codes require that residential buildings have a ceiling height of at least 8 feet. However, an article published by The Real Deal notes that ceiling heights in more modern urban apartment buildings are getting taller and taller. The article notes that in the 80s, a high ceiling was 9 feet. Now, apartment buildings boast ten to eleven foot ceilings more and more frequently.

If you’re lucky enough to have high ceilings in your studio apartment, take advantage by building up. Hanging plants and mounted framed art will help the eye travel upward, and the more cramped aspects of the studio won’t seem as noticeable.

using shelves in a studio

Minimize Clutter With Shelving and Cupboard Space

Keeping the kitchen table, coffee table, and countertops absolutely free of clutter will help bring a sense of airiness to your small studio apartment. If your kitchen is lacking in cabinet space, use shelves and hanging spice racks like these ones from Ikea to help keep necessary clutter off of valuable countertop space. Displaying everyday items like cups and plates on shelves can add personality to your kitchen space. This can work whether you use matching sets or prefer mismatched vintage tableware.

Take advantage of vertical space in your kitchen by hanging pots and pans in order to free up cabinet space from everyday kitchen clutter. Keep your countertops free of everything except the occasional bouquet of flowers or potted plant in order make the kitchen feel more spacious.

Always Take the Opportunity to Elevate

With the help of lots of wall space, you can keep most of your storage off the ground. This will elevate the eye and keep the floor plan from feeling cramped. Opt for sofas, couches, and furniture that’s raised on legs in order to create more space. Choose kitchen tables, chairs, and other furniture with narrow legs and light surfaces in order to avoid feeling like your furniture is taking up all of your living space.

If your apartment has smaller windows, invest in light, airy window sheers that are a few feet longer than your actual windows. This will create the illusion that your windows are bigger than they actually are.

If you’re looking to create separate spaces in your studio apartment, consider a shelf room divider. A shelf room divider will create infinite storage space and divide your studio without cutting off natural light sources. A shelf room divider has the potential to create private spaces without making your space feel smaller or cramped.

using shelves in a studio

Floating Shelves Heighten Your Trinket Game While Remaining Sleek and Elegant

Display small knick-knacks, books, and plants on floating shelves. Floating shelves won’t take up too much space on the wall and will bring personality to spaces that are too small for big statement pieces. Don’t feel pressure to fill up all of your shelf space.

Open space on your shelves will create an airy effect and create the illusion that you aren’t pressed for space. Putting a mirror on a floating shelf can open up a space immediately while also bringing light into rooms that might lack windows.

Use Shelves to Help You Think Outside the Box

When it comes to optimizing space in a small studio apartment, the most important thing is to think outside of the box. Look at your space objectively, and never miss an opportunity to take advantage of every square foot that you have access to.

Getting creative with your shelving will help make your apartment look unique and chic while also being absolutely functional.

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About The Author
Alex Thatcher
Alex is a home staging guru who moonlights as a writer. She loves everything about interior design and loves working in the industry. Alex is an expert in finding what makes people light up when they walk into a room, and has made a living by creating interiors that are unique, warm and inviting. When she isn't arranging flowers or making sure she's found the right loveseat for prospective buyers, she writes about her passion — home design.