Studio Living: What I’ve Learned in 6 Months

After 6 months, Max and I seem to have the whole “studio living” thing down. We’ve arranged and rearranged, moved the bed to and from a few spots, folded our Ikea Tarvo dining set 100 times, and futzed with every piece of decor in the house (well really, I’m the one futzing). According to our friends and fellow studio-dwellers, the place feels “big for a studio”, likely due to the narrow but separated entryway that we’ve fashioned into a living room of sorts, and our balcony (where the fridge resides, oddly enough). Indeed, in 6 months we’ve managed to create a lounge, compact dining era, cozy bedroom, and garden oasis in our tiny Victorian space that make it feel whole, spacious, and easy to navigate– and the place is ever-evolving. I’ve learned so many lessons about living the studio life that I want to share!

  1. Clean & De-Clutter all day, everyday.
A living room with white walls, a woven macrame wall hanging, a vintage yellow tufted sofa, and a rattan chair and artwork
via San Diego Magazine

If I detect the slightest crumb on the kitchen counter (or any counter), or see a wandering ball of lint roll across the hardwood floor, I stamp them out STAT. I was neurotic about this in my tiny San Francisco bedroom, and I’ve adopted those cleaning habits in our our apartment here. Keeping things clean constantly–whether it’s washing the dishes right after we eat and wiping down our kitchen counters, making sure the bathroom floors and fixtures are scrubbed once a week, or simply picking our clothes off of the floor and folding them–has made our space feel larger, healthier, and manageable.

I should mention that I’m lucky: I work from home, so it’s easier for me to do some of these things on my break. But simple things like rinsing and scraping dishes right after you eat (if you don’t have a dishwasher) so they’re easy to clean later or blocking off a few hours every week to organize, will help clutter and dirt from building up. An added benefit for us is that our weekend deep cleans have inspired us on a few occasions to just rearrange the entire place!

2. Find a place for everything.

a corner with a molded plastic chair and a gallery wall of vintage artwork
via Design Sponge

I’ll admit, I’m still working on this one, but so far we have the storage, furniture, and spaces to make sure everything in our studio isn’t a tripping hazard. At the very least, we’re picking things up off the floor and sticking them on various surface…because walking space is essential to moving around freely in a tiny space (and creepy crawlies don’t make a home in your underwear…San Diego living for ya).

3. Catchalls, catchalls, and more catchalls!

A white open shelf cabinet with baskets full of blankets inside and a collection of round rattan baskets on the wall and a large painting of a dog and small painting of flowers propped on top.
via Design Sponge

Max laughs at me because I seem to have a bowl or basket for storing everything. I’m a firm believer in baskets. I have a few bolgas in the front room for yarn and randoms, bowls for the kitchen and miscellaneous papers, and jars for laundry change and other items. Seriously, catchalls make the room go round.

4. Make the bed each morning.

A bedroom with a white bedspread and yellow quilt featured on an Apartment Therapy home tour.
via Apartment Therapy

This one I had more or less down when I was living in my apartment in San Francisco, and really it’s because a bed is more than a space to sleep and lounge for me–it’s a canvas for my never ending collection of pillows (that Max resents and my dad resented about my parents’ former pillow laden bed…ah, pillows)! Getting into this habit long ago made keeping things tidy and presentable easy within our studio. And though sometimes I wish I’d pare down my collection, I love the look of colorful pillows against our new white coverlet (the Ikea Indira coverlet for 15 bucks!).

Tips for the small space life?

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