life in *your* tiny apartment.

October 3, 2012
BEDROOMI received this note, last week. A bedroom dilemma:

Hi Erin!
I’ve lived in my tiny, 300 square foot studio for about a year and a half. It’s my first time living on my own and I absolutely love it. I don’t even mind the small space and even think I could survive with less! The only thing that really bugs me is staring at my bed all. the. time. Of course I make the bed every day and try to make it look as crisp as possible, but it is still the place I sleep…right next to the place I eat…right next to where I work on my computer, etc. If I had the ceiling height, I would love to have some sort of loft situation like yours, but that is sadly not the case. Since I’m committed to the one room living, do you have any advice on how I make my bed fit better with the rest of the space? Conceal its bed-liness perhaps? 
Thanks so much!
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Well, the grass is always greener, isn’t it? I dream about the day when I can actually stand up next to my bed to make it/flop dramatically onto it whenever the mood strikes. No such luck in a tiny loft. That being said, I can understand how beds in studios are tricky, especially because we don’t get a lot of awesome examples to drool over. {Stunning shots of innovative lofts abound}. Still, a few ideas:
Bedding. It sounds like you’ve got this covered, but I’d say having something crisp and clean-looking is the most important first step. Sturdy quilts or wool blankets are cozy and they keeps clean lines better than a fluffy duvet. There’s a reason military cots always look so shipshape. {Brahms Mount and MacAusland Woollen Mills make my favorite wool blankets}.
Pillows. Sometimes just the orientation of the pillows on a bed can make all the difference. If the bed’s against the wall, stacking a pile of large throw pillows along one edge will mean it can function more like a day bed during the day. At the very least, investing in a set of crisp shams will help rumply bed pillows look neat.
Divide and disguise. You mentioned that you don’t have the height for a loft, but depending on the space where your bed sits, devising a movable curtain might be a nice solution. I’m not a huge fan of the impulse to divide studios using bookshelves–shelves often become a repository for clutter and leave me feeling more cramped and crowded–but dividing a space with tall, simple curtains can be a nice alternative. I’d choose something that’s gauzy enough that it’s not oppressive, but stiff enough that it doesn’t look messy. You could hang the curtains from a high-tension wire and then arrange the curtains along the wire where they work best. Something like the bedrooms shown here, or here.

What do you think?


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Do you have a tiny apartment quandary? Send me a note, along with pictures and we’ll see if we can’t tackle it together.

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  • Reply Jay October 3, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    I just wanted to say that I love this little series – as a new small (to me) space dweller, I look forward to the questions people ask and your thoughtful responses.

  • Reply Meredith October 3, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    I'm a huge fan of room dividers! I use them to keep my bed separate, and to create a dressing-room area. There are so many different types, and they're all beautiful! There are more traditional, Asian inspired dividers (, dividers with city-scapes (, and even some with famous art (!

  • Reply J+H @ Beyond The Stoop October 3, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    i agree! curtains are the way to go! if you have a big square room you are dealing with, you can get tracks from ikea that turn corners, so keep that in mind too! they work similar to hospital curtains… OR you could just go with actual hospital curtain rods! not sure where to get those though…

  • Reply Kimberly October 3, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I lived in a tiny, one room studio and had this same problem. My solution what exactly your "divide and disguise" option. I hung a lovely, sheer gold curtain right along the tiny invisible line between my bed area and my "living" area. I only really drew the curtain when I had company over for tea, etc. and it was exactly what I needed to not feel as if I was having company over to my bedroom. I mean, that feeling is good some of the time…but not all the time!

  • Reply Kaitlyn October 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    One could use a day bed in a studio space and treat is as a sofa during the day?

  • Reply Melissa October 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Thanks for your tips, Erin! I'm going to think long and hard about the curtain option even though all those modern lofts you referenced have me dreaming of a slick, super modern space! Maybe I'll just move 🙂 I look forward to seeing everyone's ideas as well. Thanks, again!

  • Reply Kristin October 3, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I lived in a small studio for several years and used a large paper shade hung from the ceiling to hide the bed when needed. It did not come completely to the floor when rolled down, but did distract guests from the bed and due to the design on the shade added a little art to the room.

  • Reply Jessie Ammons October 3, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    I love the idea of curtains! Cool, vintage room dividers could be great, too … IF you find the right one(s).

  • Reply Neurotic Workaholic October 4, 2012 at 4:15 am

    This is a really helpful post, especially because I also live in a tiny studio; my bed takes up most of the room too. I think that part of the reason it doesn't look nice is because I have an old, worn bedspread, so replacing it would dress up the apartment. And I like your idea of adding more pillows to decorate it too.

  • Reply Lady X October 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    i totally did the curtain thing in my studio, before. except, i gathered old sheets in pretty colors, cut them into long pieces, and layered them like this:

    it's beautiful and fun and you can tie them back, if you like.
    i hung mine from a metal rod my boyfriend installed in the ceiling, but you could just as easily tie them up around a heavy rope.

  • Reply Krysta October 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    When I lived in a tiny (possibly 300 square foot) studio in NYC, I had a canopy bed from Ikea that I painted black. I liked that it visually felt like a separate space but didn't actually block the 1 window in the apt or make the small feel any smaller. THe nice thing about canopies is you can add curtains and close the bed off if you'd like.

  • Reply jhughston October 5, 2012 at 3:26 am

    How about using space in the traditional Japanese way. You could perhaps use a futon or similar style bed and pack it away each day.

  • Reply Cara of Big Girls, Small Kitchen October 5, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    In my studio apartment, the bed was right there in what would have been the entrance-way. I was so self-conscious about it! I got one of those tension rods and hung a pretty curtain. Even though you could still see it, and I hardly ever closed the curtain all the way, it did set it off and make me feel a little bit better about the whole thing.

  • Reply December 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    I can also lived in tiny apartment,i think this is not a big deal to me..I can spend great time at this tiny apartment..I like your post or also feel happy by share my own thought on them..

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