Relationships

Help! I’m Moving Into My Own Place!

After 12 years of living with roommates, I’m moving into my own place (a studio!) at the end of the month and I feel…

…a little apprehensive. This will be my first time living alone, and while I’m excited to have my own space, I’m worried about making a small space feel homey, especially since I’ll be spending more time inside than usual. It’s in my ideal neighborhood and there’s a washer and dryer in unit—a luxury few New Yorkers get to experience—so I knew I had to put the deposit down, sight unseen. From photos I can tell it has tons of light and is really long and narrow. My own sunny bowling alley!

I’ve wanted to live by myself for about a decade, so I’m stoked. I can’t wait to watch Housewives for as long as I want, and eat unspeakable food at all hours of night and day — not to mention coming and going freely without any awkward greetings as I walk through the living room. My windows face the back of the building so I plan on skipping curtains for more light, and I’ll be placing photos of loved ones closeby. My building is really safe, so the only thing I’m really nervous about is being lonely, especially in the winter months.

When it comes to decor however, here are my main concerns:
— How do I prevent the space from feeling like one giant bedroom?
— How do I avoid making my bed a multi-purpose, sleeping/dining/office space?
— Any items I need to make the space extra cozy?

I’m all ears!! Thank you so much for any advice.

Any other studio dwellers out there? What are your must-haves for a small space?

P.S. On living alone and a tiny apartment tour.

  1. beth says...

    Congratulations!

    My first time living without roommates was into a studio apartment as well! It’s still my current dwelling and it’s been a year now. I LOVE IT. It’s less than 400 square feet but I managed to make the space not feel like one big room and so very cozy.

    The key is lighting, lighting, lighting! The place has a light switch at the entrance that lights up the entire apartment with tacky ceiling lights which I actually hate because it made it feel like one big room. Instead I put table lamps and wall lamps in each designated spot to give it it’s own space. Example; a hanging ceiling lamp that hangs right on top of my small dining table, a wall lamp beside my bed, and twinkle string lights on the wall that my couch sits against for a cozy living room area. String lights (from Ikea) help light up the dark corner especially since I live in the Pacific North West where most days are dark and cloudy.

    I also didn’t want my bed feeling like a multipurpose space. For this you would have to make your bed every morning. It might be a task but it seriously is needed to keep you from going in. Also, if you can, try to create more seating opportunities. I managed to find a tiny couch, I have floor pillows, and dining chairs to sit on in my apartment rather than resorting to my bed.

    Also sheer curtains. There is no door from my kitchen to the rest of the area. I put up a sheer curtains between the two that I pull and tie back during the day time and pull out when it’s time for bed. It helps keep the smell of the things I cook from floating into my “bedroom” but it also keeps a nice divide from the kitchen and my bed when it’s time to sleep. It’s small thing but it truly feel like I left my kitchen and walked to my bedroom. (Especially helpful when I didn’t get to my dishes but also want to go to bed without thinking about it)

    I’m excited for you!

  2. Jessie says...

    When I had a studio I had one long room too and I used this bookshelf:: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/kallax-shelf-unit-white-70301537/ as a room separator to create a “bedroom.” It was great storage and didn’t block light or make the space feel closed off but did give the feeling of separate rooms.

    • S says...

      I have a similar concept. Big red shelves like this form ikea, but two pieces in an L shape. It makes a bedroom divider and doubles as so much storage, on the other side and in the “bedroom” as a nightstand/catch all

  3. Amy B says...

    I love Modsy.com. Give them photos of the room and they will give you two ideas. For $60 I think it’s worth it and then you can find the furniture second hand ;) Good luck. I LOVED living by myself. I remember making bacon naked and thinking HA, I can do this. I’m by myself. No one cares!

    • Amanda says...

      “Making bacon naked” – hahahaha I love that!

  4. Jenna says...

    Congratulations on your new home, Kim! I hope you share a tour with us once you settle in, would love to see some before and after photos! I’ve lived in my studio apartment for 14 years and mostly love it, although sometimes I wish I had a more comfortable space to offer for overnight guests. This is more relevant for non-pandemic times, but for several years, I didn’t host gatherings because I felt like my space was somewhat inadequate, and because I’m introverted and hosting was intimidating to me. I eventually did take the plunge, and it felt surprisingly great! All that love and sense of togetherness lights up the space and lingers long after. Thanks to all the wonderful suggestions offered in the comments about studio spaces! I was motivated by the many comments about rug zoning to purchase a 3×5 rug for my bedroom area and it has made such a difference, so much happiness from such a small thing!

    • Lauren says...

      Rugs make the room – so important!

      (pet peeve – rugs that are too small)

  5. Lily says...

    For nyc, tall furniture always, instead of wide furniture! Buy an ikea bed frame that’s metal instead of wood, to prevent bed bugs! Find ways to get clothes out of sight.

  6. Caitlin L. says...

    Congratulations! I have never lived alone in my entire life and as an introvert, I always wished I had that experience. That’s so exciting!

    I recommend getting a pretty armoire to hide clothes (I always love the look of a small clothing rack with more curated clothing and hiding the mess in a pretty piece of furniture). It can also help separate the space a little bit. I’ve been hunting for some on Craigslist. (Also – if you need a man with van recommendation for any craigslist finds – email me! I worked with an amazing guy in Brooklyn for years).

    Lastly – you might know this site already but I just came upon it while on Remodelista – https://bemz.com/ikea-series Bemz is a company that makes high end washable slipcovers for Ikea sofas. My mind exploded when I saw how gorgeous these were and wished I didn’t drop 2k on a couch last year…

    Good luck!! xx

    • Cait says...

      For anyone looking to cover an Ikea sofa, there are amazing sellers on Etsy doing this too! I think the prices are better. They even do faux leather that looks really good! I love browsing reviews for pictures of fun colors people chose. I’m about to get a dark emerald velvet cover for my Karlstad sofa.

  7. Rebecca says...

    If you can do so, I–a certified pack-rat–think it’s MUCH easier to decide what to purge/donate after you have moved in. I just moved from a shared three-bedroom (with lots of storage) to a studio, and I had the luxury of a cross-town move and 3.5 week lease overlap, so I wasn’t worried about fitting everything into a moving van in one go. Once I got even half of my stuff into my studio, it was way more apparent what needed to go.

    I also saw a recent studio tour on Apartment Therapy where the renter used color to create zones in an open-plan space. Her bedding was white, and the things in the living space were muted jewel tones. If all of my stuff wasn’t already jewel toned, I might have followed suit!

  8. C says...

    I moved into my own place for the first time a year ago and I recommend making clear invisible lines in your head between what’s bedroom/living room etc. Also recommend just never getting into bed except when you’re gonna sleep/nap. I’ve always had low beds and my bed in my new place is (unintentionally) much taller since it’s an old one with a box spring from Craigslist. I think the no-ideal height for sitting subconsciously helped me not to view it as just one big lounging area…?

  9. KT says...

    Create spaces/nooks for each ‘area’ of the studio so it feels like you have a dedicated part for your daily routines. Utilize vertical space! If you can’t drill, command strips/hooks are a lifesaver! Multifunctional furniture is a must and take time to personalize. Good luck!

  10. Lauren says...

    Congratulations, Kim! So exciting! I’m here to say what many others have said – plants and cozy lights. I have a bunch of candles, votives and string lights scattered around my apartment and it’s a nice ritual to light them up in the evenings and on gray mornings. Enjoy your new space <3

  11. retro-roost says...

    Congratulations! So happy for you. I have never regretted buying the best quality I could afford. Sometimes it meant I would do without something else or that I had to wait a little longer in order to save the money to buy it, but the items I invested in I appreciate the most and have kept many throughout the years. Wishing you much happiness.

  12. Tracey says...

    I just moved in with my boyfriend after living alone for the last 5 years and while I’m excited about this next step with him, it was hard to bid farewell to those sweet years of solitude in my own space. My favorite thing about living alone was knowing that I would always return home to my place in the exact same state as I left it – whether that was neat and tidy or with clothes all over the bed and dirty dishes in the sink. Enjoy every moment!

  13. Hey Kim! I just moved into my first studio a couple of months ago and I’d just say: take your time. The initial rush is to get it feeling cozy ASAP, but that can be achieved with the few things you mentioned (photos of loved ones, doing what you want when you want). It’s a big deal to have your own space and you’ll want to make sure each item or idea you include has purpose and value. Also, make your bed everyday, ha. Makes a big difference in a small space.

  14. LGP says...

    Congrats Kim, I’m so excited for you! My partner and I moved into our own 550 ft2 studio in SF last year after living with housemates for many many years. And while it’s not quite the same as living alone, just being able to come home after a long day and not have to make awkward conversation or jostle for kitchen space is so nice.

    Some of the things that I’ve found helpful for making the studio seem cozy and nice to spend _all_ of my time (now that we’re stuck indoors during shelter-in-place) in has been:
    1) Swapping out the ceiling light fixtures. We got two cool modern (Sputnik-esque) light fixtures, one to go over the “bedroom” space, and the other over the couch area. In addition to just being nice to look at during the day, we also put in two different colored light bulbs – where the one over the couch is more white and daytime-y, and the bulbs in the “bedroom” fixture is more yellow and warm. We only use the yellow-colored light fixture at night when we’re getting ready for bed, so it’s nice to help set the mood.
    2) Storage and organization – since our living space is so small, keeping everything cleanly and in its place has been super helpful to not feel overwhelmed by clutter. We installed extra shelves in our closet when we first moved in, and I also purchased a lot of bins and baskets to store everything.
    3) Save up and invest in nice home goods – I really like cooking and spend a lot of time in the kitchen. So when we moved (and no longer had to share kitchenware with roommates), I splurged on a set of nice dishes and bowls from Heath in the most fun of colors (yuzu yellow, emerald green, moonshine blue)! We use these dishes for all of our meals, and they make me so happy to look at each and every time!

    • Rebecca says...

      Love the idea of the two different lights to delineate the space!

  15. Melisa says...

    I live in a 1br in Queens so my set up is a bit different (washer and dryer in the basement is still amazing). But I always see ways to delineate the space is to divide it with rugs for different “rooms” if possible, like an eating area, sleeping area, living area. you can separate the space with a kitchen island for counter space or use a sofa for the separation. If you don’t have the space for all of that than a sleeping area and living/eating area. You can get a coffee table that extends up (I think West Elm has them). I prefer having a table in the corner as a little nook. I got a nice marble square one from Article but still find myself sitting on the floor to eat at the coffee table 99% of the time.

    As ways to personalize; I painted the door trims inside my apartment and that little bit of a color made an impact without committing to a full wall. Other than that just hang your photos, affordable prints from sites like Society6, hang shadow boxes with sentimental things, etc. The wall in my bedroom next to the door I have a group of little things (movie stubs, a dried flower, concert tickets, instax pictures, some prints I made, a pretty business card from a place I like) that I just hung with washi tape. It’s maybe 2’x2′ and I add to it whenever I feel with no particular plan. I like that it’s not as daunting as figuring out a whole gallery wall.

    Good luck! It’s expensive on your own and it adds up quick, so don’t rush and just do what feels right!

  16. Mel says...

    Before moving in with my husband, I’ve only ever lived alone in studios as an adult. My last studio was bright and airy, with a main room that doubled as bedroom and dining room. My bed faced the dining table, and I put my dresser and TV at the foot of the bed as a makeshift room divider. If I had more time in the apartment, I would have bought a loveseat or two small chairs and a mini table to create a living room. In the kitchen, I had a breakfast nook, and to add more counter space, I got a rolling cabinet/countertop combo from Target.

    I think you need to carve out dining/office spaces in your studio, however small, so that your bed can remain a bed. That will the apartment feel bigger, too. And buy furniture that can double as storage!

    I look back on my years of living alone so fondly, and it’s one of the best gifts I gave myself. I’m so excited for you as you start this new chapter!

  17. Onenectarine says...

    I loved my time living alone. It rewarded me with drama-free, expectation-free life. Definitely don’t feel like it needs to be all set up when you move in. Start with the basics, and then add things in based on how you live. Having a 2-person dining table is so helpful, for me it was extra counter space (I had no counter space in my studio), work table and a place to eat. It also defined the space between sleeping and kitchen. I choose not to have carpets, as frankly cleaning was MUCH easier without having to deal with a small carpet at one end, and hardwoods or tile everywhere else. I was tempted to paint the wall, but the thought of having to paint it white before I moved out put me off. I did ‘almost’ get peel-able wall paper, so definitely recommend that. To make it ‘home and adult’ add paintings or pictures that bring you joy on the wall, and plants on the window sill. Have real plates, mugs and things that are adult like and not from the college section. Small things but they make a big difference. I also really enjoyed reorganizing my furniture often (something that my husband does not really like or support now) so it’s easy to move things around and do what YOU want when you are alone. If you do end up using the bed to lay in and watch Netflix re-runs over the weekend, along with a bottle of wine open and questionable food choices, know that no one is watching and you are having the best time of your life :)

  18. Alexis S. says...

    Aww congrats, Kim! A studio with in-unit washer and dryer is like finding a unicorn in NYC, so def congrats on the new place! I would definitely echo what a lot of people have said already which is take it one step at a time, don’t be in a rush to furnish your space and candles and photos (whether hung up or displayed) will certainly make it more cozy. Looking forward to an apt tour soon!

  19. joyfullee says...

    Lamps! Neighbors came into a former apt years ago and commented on how cozy it felt – I realized it was judicious mix of floor and table lamps. I have one in each corner of my current 400sqft studio, a small one on the dresser in one corner, floor lamp next to the chair where i read, etc, and I know the lighting mix is what makes my current home feel just like….home!

    • Lauren says...

      Lamps are essential for a home-y space! (Particularly one in your reading nook – makes it cozy *and* protects your eyes)

  20. Amy says...

    I’ve lived in studio apartments for over ten years and have absolutely loved it. They key is being deliberate about separating spaces (using rugs) so you have somewhat different sleeping and living areas. Plants, lots of light, and having a consistent color palette all make a huge difference as well.

  21. You’ll love it! One thing I’ve done to divide up a room is use this metal and glass shelf from IKEA and put plants and picture frames, etc. on it. It looks good from both sides and does give the room some division without being blocky.

  22. Is it a stock photo? I swear it looks so much like Glasgow in Scotland. Exciting though if Kim IS moving to Glasgow – such a fun city!

    • Tilly says...

      I agree, this looks like a street where my son goes to nursery. Exciting if this is where Kim is moving too!

    • Lynn Bennett says...

      My thoughts too! I’m sure it is.

  23. Joanna says...

    I loved living alone. My husband and I even reminisce about how great living alone is – which we both did for several years before getting married. I used to live in a very small studio in Toronto and my biggest tip would be to define the space with furniture where you can. I placed a bookshelf and couch in a way to define the space – back of couch in the middle of the room, away from bed – that made it more like there was a bed in the living room instead of feeling like you’re just hanging out at your bed! Don’t be afraid of big furniture and make use of height! Not everything has to be functional and keep things personal with art, blankets, and meaningful do-dads all around. Studio apartments are so cozy! Enjoy every minute

  24. Vanessa says...

    Congratulations Kim! I am newly single, and just moved into my own place. I am solo every other week when my kids are with their dad. My plan to make it cozy is to get lots of those battery operated candles that turn on with a timer. Every evening as the sun goes down my condo will be full of cozy flickering light. Good luck on making your new space feel like home 💗

  25. Hilary says...

    I second the comments about plants and candles! They make any space, big or small, feel cozy and happy.

    Unrelated to decorating – I lived in a little in-law studio for a year in SF. It was my dream come true until I actually moved in and realized…I HATED living alone! Everyone I knew was jealous of my set-up, and I had somehow intertwined living alone with empowerment and feminism. I felt badly for admitting that it wasn’t working for me, so I stuck it out for the full year and the minute my lease was up, moved in with my boyfriend. Who then became my fiance, now my husband and dad to my sweet toddler and baby on the way! I was so much happier sharing both my life and my space with someone I loved.

    In short, you may love living alone or you might not. I’m glad I tried it and I learned some invaluable lessons. But it’s okay to want something different too, should those feelings crop up. If you end up not loving it, that’s all good, too :)

  26. Graes says...

    Congratulations! My only advice is take your time. Do not hurry to furnish it and invest time in perusing blogs, magazines, – anything that will give you ideas as to how you want it to be. Thrift stores (and etsy) – depending on your budget, are great sources of unique things you can furnish your apartment with.
    How exciting!

    • Kate the Great says...

      I agree. Taking your time at decorating lets you feel through where the shadows fall and what the light quality is in certain times of day. I like to imagine my living space as a blank canvas and I’m the painter-artist: painters stare at the white space and the light on a landscape, trying to figure out how it makes them feel.

      Here’s an example. I put paint swatches on one dining room wall and then stared at them for several months while I ate. I discovered that the light on that wall changes throughout the day and also throughout the seasons. One paint swatch changed colors during the day, from grey to blue to purple.

      I found that I loved that. You may not. You may want to keep the wall white because it captures the delicate shadow of a tree next to your window. Stare at it to know it.

  27. CB says...

    Many apartments do not allow them, nor is there anywhere to put them in older buildings (in terms of electrical and plumbing connections)

  28. Congrats! So exciting—but I totally get feeling apprehensive. For the layout stuff, you should give Modsy a try! (I’m totally biased because I’m a contract writer for them, but their digital design services are amazing and so affordable!)

  29. Jenny says...

    Plants! All the plants!

  30. patricia blaettler says...

    When I lived in a studio apartment I had a sleeper/sofa. Sofa by day, bed by night. It worked really well for me. Good luck!

  31. Olivia says...

    I lived in a teeny tiny studio with my toddler. After seeing it in someone else’s place, I decided to copy this amazing space saving tip: windowsill table! We had a big window in between the kitchen area and his bed, and we extended it to make a table/desk with little Ikea stools underneath. It fit four across diner style, and it was super cozy and great for neighborhood watching. It was supposed to be a space saving compromise, but ended my favorite spot in the apartment. We live in a big place now, and I still miss it like crazy. Bonus: when you eat dinner at a windowsill table, it never feels like you’re eating alone, because you’re peeking into the windows of all your neighbors!

    • Lauren says...

      This sounds so lovely!

  32. Maelle says...

    Congratulations Kim! I have been living in my tiny 215sq feet Parisian studio for 4 years now, and i love it! After 5 years of flat sharing with various people in various cities, it is exactly what i needed!

    I know a lot of the comments above say to go slowly with the furniture, but my advice is the opposite: buy the furniture! At first when i moved in i figured i would keep things simple: stacks of books on the floor, just a bed and a table because i was afraid that adding furniture would make the space look smaller, but i was wrong! It turned out that adding furniture actually made the space look bigger (maybe someone who works in interior design can explain that to me because the difference really blew my mind!).

    • anna says...

      A tiny Parisian studio sounds so lovely!! Pics please!

    • Joanna says...

      Totally agree. Furniture is what makes it feel complete and cozy. It will feel smaller if you leave it empty!

  33. Susan says...

    Try using an online interior decorator. For a very small amount, you can get a floor plan and measurements for your furniture. You’ll probably cover the decorator fee (which is low as is) and then some by buying the right furniture from the very start.

    • Irene says...

      This is a great idea and I would be super interested in a COJ post on this process!

      As others have said—rugs and lamps for the cozy factor.

  34. Kayleigh Collins says...

    Congrats!!
    My time living along was glorious, you learn so much about yourself.
    Buy yourself a small dining room table that is also comfortable as a desk
    Give yourself little areas of the house with different functions and most of all, enjoy it!

  35. em says...

    in-unit washer & dryer?? YOU GO GIRL!!!

  36. Maggie says...

    I really loved living alone – in a studio – after many years of roommates (though there wasn’t a pandemic when I did it). I know people have mixed feelings about Ikea, but they have great small space solutions. Beds with storage underneath. Microscopic dining tables that fit exactly two plates and keep you from eating on the bed. Teeny tiny couches that let you watch TV outside of your bed. Also, I would avoid heavy curtains on your windows. It can be nice to wake up to sunlight and will make your place feel bigger. Enjoy your new place!!

  37. Congrats on your new place! Getting it set up is going to be so much fun for you (though everyone who advised taking it slow is spot on!)

    My own advice: don’t let anyone tell you that you HAVE to be a minimalist to live in a small space. You can be and own and decorate with whatever you want! The big thing is to make sure that your possessions are all things you like and like looking at, because in a studio you will see everything, and you’ll see it all the time!

  38. Kat O says...

    My biggest piece of advice is to not try and do everything at once. It’s tempting to decorate your entire space and buy everything you think you’ll need right away, but don’t be afraid to take it slow. 1.) This allows you to truly identify what you need, instead of assuming, and 2.) you’re more likely to curate items and decor that you truly love, instead of buying a bunch of coordinated garbage from some generic store that you’ll come to hate in a year. Along those lines, don’t worry too much about a decor theme; just buy stuff you truly love and it’ll all come together.

    (Also, re: avoiding your bed becoming a do-everything space…we have an entire house and I still prefer to work from bed a lot of the time. I know it goes against common wisdom, but it works for me – do what works for you.)

    • Kat O says...

      Oh and be really judicious about the tools and appliances you bring into the kitchen. You can do a lot more with basic items than they’d have you believe. And re: coziness: avoid throw pillows (clutter) but invest in a really great blanket that you love (useful).

  39. Kate says...

    I am bubbling with excitement for you! Living on my own in a tiny studio in Cape Town were some of the best years of my life.
    1. Get plants, instant homeliness. Ferns are always friendly :)
    2. Don’t be afraid of painting the same piece of wall, esp in a long space, two different colours to create separation. I love a darker colour for the bedroom space, which also discourages working from bed because the light isn’t suitable.
    3. Open your heart and mind – I found living alone meant I could get into my own head a lot, and new hobbies like art journalling and finding beautiful new books to read helped when I was reaching into the darkness.

    Yay for you!!!

  40. I am European, so my answers might be a bit different, but here we go:
    — How do I prevent the space from feeling like one giant bedroom?
    How wide is your bed? If it’s narrow, get a big throw blanket and some cushions and make it into a sofa by day. Or get curtains to close off the space where your bed stands.
    — How do I avoid making my bed a multi-purpose, sleeping/dining/office space?
    The move will be a good opportunity to make a fresh start concerning your habits. Just don’t start to make your bed into all these things. As soon as you do it once, you’ll do it again, but if you never start, then not doing it will become the new normal. Getting new bed sheets amplifies the sense of “new”. Make it a habit to not work or eat in bed.
    — Any items I need to make the space extra cozy?
    A big carpet/rug. Well, it doesn’t have to be big big, just big for the space. IKEA has cute ones that don’t cost a fortune. Then after a long day, shower, get into your bathrobe (or not, depending on the curtain situation), and lie down on it. Also: a comfy armchair and a blanket, preferably positioned so you can put your feet on the carpet. And a good skillet.

  41. Melissa Hinton says...

    Congrats!!!!! I have lived alone for eight years (even moving to a new state). Definitely take things slow with buying furniture. You don’t have to do at once. Home is what you make of a space and I’m confident that you can make this studio feel like yours.

    Small things with big impact: flowers, artwork, finding your new places (coffee, groccery, etc), comfy blankets.

    You got this. And we’re cheering you on

  42. Andrea says...

    Congratulations!!
    Maybe try something like this sort of curtain rod, which is hung from the ceiling, along the side of your bed, with a linen or other semi-sheer white curtain to let that natural light filter through! In my imagination at least, you’d get a room divider of sorts for your bedroom area and wake up to sunlight without staring at your kitchen or desk right away!

    • Andrea says...

      Oops, just posted and forgot to link the curtain rod! https://etsy.me/2XnrbGK

    • C says...

      I did this when I lived in a studio years ago and it was dreamy!!! Also super cheap. I put up sheer curtains between my bed and sofa and it created really nice separation. I LOVED living alone so much. I learned to love to cook in my little studio, watched a shit ton of trashy tv in my underwear, and started dating my now husband.

  43. Carolyn says...

    This photograph 100% looks like it is from a Scottish city! I hadn’t realised the architecture was the same in NY? Or is it a stock photo? Xx

    • K says...

      100% thought the same! Wondered if Kim was moving to Glasgow

    • Carolyn says...

      K! Yes! It is SO Scottish but also definitely Glasgow and not Edinburgh. I am now totally intrigued as I immediately thought Glasgow too😀

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      I imagine it’s a stock photo (since she says she hasn’t moved in yet and also mentioned the window facing the back not the street), but it’s an intriguing question. Isn’t the architect of Glasgow a bit reminiscent of New York, what with it being built on a grid system? I think sometimes they make film sets in Glasgow for stuff set in New York! They do look like UK cars on the street don’t they :)

  44. Ashley E says...

    I would suggest taking pictures or cutting out things in magazines that you like- slowly you will start to see some themes on what you truly like (color, styles, vibes)… then start slowly getting pieces that fit your aesthetic. I get overwhelmed some times with a totally blank slate but if I pick something out multiple times I know it’s something that I am really drawn to!

  45. Sally says...

    I moved into my first place of my own (in a brand new town as well) when I was 21. It was exciting, but scary. I missed the hustle and bustle of a home with multiple people in it, and it takes a while to get used to the noises a place makes!
    I live in a flat now, and getting used to the different noises the neighbours make takes a while. And just as you get used to one person and their unique sound, someone different moves in! At the moment I’m busy getting used to the new girl opposite who goes out to smoke about every hour or so, and always lets her front door slam really loudly!

    I’d also recommend the advice not to buy too much, too quickly. Get things as the need arises. Then you’ll end up with stuff you’ll actually use. And if you can afford to, invest a little more to get the decent stuff. I’ve been living on my own for about 15 years now, and am only just learning this! For instance, if you buy a £30 frying pan now, it’ll last you 5 years… As opposed to buying a £15 pan every year… But saying that, it’s totally okay if your budget for a thing is only £15, instead of £30! There’s always a chance to upgrade some other time. :)

    Most of all, enjoy it! I absolutely love living alone!!

  46. Malissa says...

    CONGRATS! It’s such a big step – hurray! I remember the same feeling initially about it being too quiet or lonely, but then I quickly adjusted to the welcome sense of PREDICTABILITY. Gone were the waking up to a pile of someone’s dishes or their late night loud chatter, etc. Whenever I missed a person in my space, all I had to do was to think of their annoying roommate traits and voila! Goodbye, sad lonelies. :) GOOD LUCK!!

  47. Nori says...

    I am a big fan of electric diffusers! I have one from muji that diffuses steam, you can add essential oils, and it serves as a night light and has a timer :). It helped add some calming white noise during the pandemic when I quarantined alone.
    I also am a big fan of doing yoga in the dark at home. I light candles and turn on twinkle lights and find a nice spot in my place to wind down to at night before bed.
    Last, I have a cat! I know it’s not for everyone, but I highly recommend adopting a rescue animal. I’m never truly alone when Susu is there, she’s the first one to greet me when I get home, sleeps with me at night, and the first one who I cuddle in the morning.
    Good luck with the move! x

  48. tina crisas says...

    I’ve noticed a lot of people in the US have mentioned not having a washer/dryer and it being a luxury. I’m baffled as to why? Is it due to not being able to afford a washing machine? Surely one can find a cheap one? Are they not allowed in some apartments? I cannot imagine never having a washer/dryer, no matter my housing option so really curious as to why this is such an issue in the states. Congrats on the new place, here’s to memories happening!

    • Lindsey says...

      It’s a city thing – there just isn’t space for it in tiny apartments!

    • Mareen says...

      From my understanding this is a big city/NYC thing. Space is expensive and washer/dryers take up quite some space!

    • Onenectarine says...

      Space in apartments, old buildings etc. Have lived across the US in several different cities, old and new apartments, studios, 1 and 2 beds, and most places do not have a W/D in them. If they do, like my current unit, I pay a premium, usually $200-300 more per month. A lot of old apartments, depending on how old they are don’t have dishwashers either, so it’s all hand wash.

    • Genevieve Martin says...

      Yes I wonder the same thing! I guess it must just come down to what becomes accepted / the norm in a rental market as well because in the UK it would be very unusual to have no washing machine even in small flats and even in London where the buildings are on average probably a lot older.
      A dishwasher is more of an optional / luxury though.

  49. Mathilda says...

    This made me laugh. Why don’t you look upf some of the apartment tours on this blog? There are such wonderful examples for every type of apartment! I think that would be very helpful for answering your questions.
    I got my first very own flat when I was 36 and lived there for 3 years. As I had to commute between that town and my hometown Berlin I didn’t feel lonely (during summertime it got a bit harder) but absolutely enjoyed the weekdays. I knew that by Friday I would be home, see my girl-friend and all my friends – that was a big help. I used my lonely nights doing Yoga, cooking, reading, going to bed way eralier than I would manage at home, took early morning walks … I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it a lot.

  50. Tristen says...

    Congratulations!

    The only design tip I can offer is an open bookshelf/room divider. But I have to say that one of my fondest memories is the night I moved into my own apartment, freshly divorced and equal parts liberated and terrified. I stayed up till 2:00am unpacking all by myself, then got in the shower, got a brilliant idea, walked to the kitchen dripping and naked, then got back in the shower and slugged a beer. A cold beer, in the hot shower. IT WAS AMAZING. Ten years later I can still taste it. Please treat yourself to some such novelty!

    • Emily says...

      This is amazing. I am freshly divorced and just moved into my first truly solo apartment, and “cold shower beer” is exactly the energy I’m trying to channel!! Xoxo

    • Whitney says...

      YES. A well-timed shower beer is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

    • Tristen says...

      Cheers, Emily and Whitney! I raise my shower beer to you all!

  51. Katelyn says...

    How exciting! I just moved into a new apartment two weeks and I’m so happy to be living alone again. It’s such a great way to really get to know yourself because you get to make decisions based solely on what you want to do. I would say candles and lots of items that are personal to you not just bought because you need to feel a space. Congrats!

  52. Daynna says...

    Kim, you are my favorite writer on here and, though I don’t know you, I feel like you might be my favorite human if I ever got lucky enough to meet you. I don’t really have advice. Just congratulations. Because I effing ADORED living alone. I did it in Hollywood and it was glorious. I wish you all the happiness and independence it brought me times a hundred. Continue kicking all sorts of ass, Kim. xo

  53. K says...

    inspired by kelly from cupcakes and cashmere (and i do the same)
    keep a running list of all the things you’ve been wanting to do, small and big, so that when you find yourself bored and trying to fill up time and space with social media scrolling, you realize there’s actually a lottt of stuff you’ve been meaning to do, you’re too busy to be lonely!

    of course, alternate this with embracing solitude, you will surely be stronger for it.

  54. Michelle C. says...

    Congrats! I would recommend taking it slow with the furniture. Get only the necessities (bed, one table – pick either dining or work-style desk (not both at the same time unless you already have them), couch) and then build it out from there. It’s too easy to splurge all at once and then realize that the pieces don’t go together, or you’ve bought more than you can comfortably fit in the space. Learn how you move around the space, how the light moves throughout the day, etc. first. To answer your first two questions, I keep zones in my studio apartment. I also have a futon that I have made cozy and surrounded with things I love, so that’s my go-to when I feel like lounging around. I used to be a work-from-bed person (even when the bed was in a separate room!), and now I rarely sit in bed unless it’s near bedtime. I think that (1) setting a rule to avoid the bed, and (2) having multiple spaces/zones of your own so you can shake things up without ending up in bed, really does make a difference.

  55. Rachel says...

    So excited for you Kim! I moved into my own place two months ago (first time living on my own). Lots of adjustments and I miss having people over for sure, but two months in and it really feels like home. My advice for you is to fill your home with things that make you happy and take your time decorating. Also, splurge on your bedding! It will feel so cozy getting into your bed every night.

  56. Emma says...

    Oh how wonderful…..I did the same thing at 58 after a divorce and I got a small dog……..it made me walk and get out side and met people in my area, A park was close by, dog lovers go there before and after dinner time with their furbabies……you learn about your neighborhood and the best places for coffee or a glass of wine. Best of luck you….what a wonderful adventure you are now starting, keep a diary for sure!

  57. Jenny says...

    If you can get in ahead of move in day to take measurements of the exact shape and layout of the space, including windows, doors, and weird nooks and crannies, you could use graph paper to make a to-scale layout and paper cutouts of your furniture or furniture your looking at buying. I did this before moving into my tiny studio and managed to carve out separate space for bed, loveseat/tv, cafe table dining space, and plant filled entry “foyer” in one rectangle room. My landlord says it’s the best layout he’s ever seen for the space!

    I can’t wait for you to come home to your apartment solo the first time you are out for the day and then return home. There is a weight of wondering “is my roommate home? Will the kitchen be free? I really need to pee I hope the bathroom is available” that will be gone and it’s such a memorable feeling that first time.

    • Grace says...

      Agreed on taking measurements! It’s really helpful if you can keep those in your wallet if you encounter a piece you love at a thrift store, Craigslist, etc. You’ll have the measurements on hand and will know if it’s a great fit.

    • Yes! I’ve done this kind of planning every time I’ve moved into a new apartment, and it helps so much. You can also find online tools for it which are a little more forgiving of do-overs.

  58. Anita says...

    2 words: Murphy bed.
    Best thing for a studio appartment. Just make sure you get installed properly (speaking from experience!!!)

  59. Kamina says...

    Oh also! We lived in a studio for a while, and in order to prevent the bed from becoming a multi-purpose living space disaster area, we had 2 rules:

    1. Make the bed every day
    2. The bed is only for sleeping, reading and sex (no screens!) (no eating!) (except maybe once a year on your birthday, for sitting in with all your friends and cake).

    My favourite place for doing work on the computer is on a high stool at the kitchen counter. This has been true in our last 3 residences! That way it doesn’t feel like I’m working in a sleep or relaxation zone, and since we use the kitchen surface frequently, I’m forced to tidy my work stuff away every time I finish up. Alternatively you could get one of those small side tables that is designed to roll right up to you and over your lap when you’re sitting on the couch, doubling up as a surface for laptop work or eating.

  60. Margaret says...

    I moved in to my own apartment during Covid and there has been a lot to get use to. As an extreme extrovert there is a lot of time spent alone. There are times I love it and there are times I am super blue. Something that has given me grace is realizing I have lived with people for the past 30 years and so it will take some time to get use to!

  61. Kamina says...

    If you don’t already have a TV, I’d recommend NOT getting one. Having a TV limits you in an already extremely limited space, because you have to allocate wall space to it and arrange furniture around it. My husband and I watch everything on our laptops – we just have streaming services and an old-school USB input DVD player. For 1 or even 2 people, watching on a laptop sitting on the coffee table works fine, and when we’re not watching it goes away and doesn’t take up space.

    If you have an appropriate wall space, you could invest in an inexpensive projector so you can project movies onto a blank wall, but you can use the wall space for other purposes most of the time (like have a piece of art hanging that’s easy to take down, or a piece of furniture that will roll out of the way when you want to watch a movie).

  62. Laurita says...

    I am a designer and would love to help you pro bono! I know that sounds a little creepy, but truly I have been reading CoJ for a decade plus now and feel like IOY’all! Enjoy your new space…nothing like a new home makeover to lift the spirits!

    • S says...

      This is the sweetest offer! I hope the writer sees it

    • Katia says...

      you should totally take her up on it! i’d love to see a follow up post on the designs you choose! =)

    • mary says...

      What an offer! Plus we want to see the before and after.
      Can’t wait…

  63. Patricia says...

    At age 63, I am going to be living alone in a tiny studio and I couldn’t be more thrilled!! I got married at 18, was married for 40 years, am now a widow, and have lived with one of my daughters and her family for the last few years.
    It will be the first time I’ve ever lived alone. I’m a little scared but crave my privacy and want to be finally able to do exactly as I please. My kids are all very supportive, but I do think they are a little nervous about me living in the big city (Seattle) by myself. I’m honestly looking at it as a big adventure on a tiny budget haha. I don’t think it’s ever to late to start over and have new dreams in life :)

    • Erin says...

      Seattle is such a great city! Good luck with the transition and have fun.

    • S says...

      Wow I love this and that’s exactly right. Life is always full of surprises and new adventures so long as you are open to them.

    • Terry says...

      Brava! Enjoy your new space and new dreams! You go, girl!

    • Sloan says...

      Sending you lots of love and well wishes as you embark on your new journey. What a mix of emotions – among them, excitement. May you have the time of your life!

  64. Meghan says...

    awe, Kim! Congratulations! I just love seeing the warmth and love from all the comments. You are surrounded by a huge crowd of people cheering you and excited for your success from across the internet. Plants make a place feel so cozy to me, plus I love the routine of caring for a living thing that’s not myself!