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. Jess says...

    How exciting!!! There’s no feeling like moving into your own place and experiencing the joys of living alone, on your own terms, for the first time. It’s wonderful.

    My 3 suggestions for decorating/set up: 1. DO EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT! It’s YOUR home, don’t worry about how things are supposed to look or what others expect. Make your home exactly how you want, and enjoy it. I filled my ‘dining room’ with books and a huge comfy reading chair. 2. Texture, texture, texture! I find that incorporating different textures, including ones that feel nice to the touch like velvet, will make a place feel like home. 3. Have at least 1 plant per 100 square feet for good air quality. Also, it’s great to have life inside your apartment besides yourself. Enjoy!

  2. Sara Gorrell says...

    A Cup of Jo couldn’t have been more relevant than this week’s articles! Not only am I single and really appreciated the article yesterday but I am moving into my own place (by myself!) next week. Looking forward to seeing more about how you decorate. I know I’ve been going on Apartment Therapy for inspiration and ideas for small spaces. Best of luck!

  3. MJ says...

    I’ve lived mostly alone since the college dorm days and I LOVE it. I had a roommate during my first year living in SF but I’ve been alone in my studio apartment for 4 years now.

    I recommend Apartment Therapy for all sorts of studio layout ideas and tips. Also, don’t buy everything at once. Go slowwwww. You really only need a bed at first! I furnished mine from scratch after living abroad and a bed was the only thing I had for the first month. Next was a TV/TV stand, then a couch! You can still visit friends’ places (well, pre-covid) while you’re getting set-up. I really suggest taking some time in the space to see what you really NEED versus what you think you need. Less is more in a studio. I have a two-panel room divider between my bed and couch which is mostly for my sanity when I’m in the bed staring into the abyss.

    I’d been wanting new furniture for a while so I’m currently trying out a few items from Feather. Check it out.

    • Amanda says...

      Totally second going slowww! Once you’ve been there for a few days/ weeks, it will become very clear what other pieces of furniture will help divide the room, but also make the space useable.

      Same for art! Don’t rush to cover your walls, take your time!

    • S says...

      Thirding this! Places that have been furnished all at once sort of have the look of a furniture showroom. Slow down and figure out what the place really needs before getting it all.

  4. Andrea says...

    Exciting! For studios, you want to think micro environments and the social versus private areas of your space. Basically, make mental walls in your space and then build those “rooms” out with furniture.

    A friend had a long studio and we put her bed and dresser near the windows to the street, the furthest away from the door. We then put the couch, tv and desk next and the table and microwave cart closest to the kitchen and door.

    In this case, the public space was the most accessible to people coming in the door and her bedroom space was more private. It also made her actually decide to go and sit on the bed during the day made it less of the default.

  5. Anna says...

    Congratulations, Kim!!! How exciting and giddy and lovely for you!!

    So many great suggestions, so these have likely already been mentioned, but as a solo dweller of a 600 sq ft apartment in NYC (and LOVING it), here are some tips I’d offer:

    1. Ottomans that have storage and a lid with a hard surface on the other side, that can be flipped to be used as a tabletop. I have 2 of these and they have been used as seating, footrests, and tables, and of course for storage.

    2. Get all the furniture you can with storage! My bed, nightstand, desk, shoe bench, coffee table, previously mentioned ottomans, and even my floor lamp ALL have storage spaces.

    3. Vertical space — shelves, shelves, shelves! (Floating shelves, if possible.)

    4. Over-the-door hooks — not just “main” doors like the bathroom, but cabinet doors, closet doors, etc. If it’s a door, then a hook can go over it and help hold more stuff! Also hooks to stick ON doors!

    5. Nesting side tables — tucked away into one table when you don’t need the extra space, and untucked for when you need more surface area.

    6. Collapsible versions of things — I can only think of my colanders and clothes drying rack at the moment, but if there is a collapsible version of something, consider it! It’s a safe-saver for storing.

    7. Maybe the obvious piece of advice, but the most important thing is to be honest about the physical items you truly need or truly want, and have a resting place for everything. No matter how messy my apt gets, it takes me at most 15 minutes to tidy up (not deep clean, just tidy) because everything has a place that I know it belongs in.

    Best of luck, Kim! We hope to see updates on your whole process!

  6. anna says...

    Congrats Kim! Though not quite the same, I’m moving out from my parent’s house (where I’ve been since graduating) and into my first apartment with a roommate at 22. I’m excited about many things, but mostly because I’ll have my own BATHROOM for the first time ever! One thing I’m doing is using my plants as decor- I already have a bunch and they brighten up a space. I like mixing them in with other decorations- I found my dream ladder bookshelf at Habitat yesterday and can’t wait to mix my plants in with books and Fleetwood Mac records. :) Congrats again and please share a photo when you’re done!
    (Also, I’m strongly strongly considering getting a loft bed even though I’m an adult because making a home office under it would be SO COOL, esp since I’m working from home indefinitely).

  7. Sonya says...

    I love the Single Women and their Spaces column from Fold mag! I read it and wish I’d lived on my own in between share houses and moving in with my now husband. Good luck with the move and congrats!

  8. cg says...

    Didn’t read through the many comments but it may have been mentioned already, but just in case it hasn’t… you mentioned that your studio is more rectangular, but didn’t mention how many windows you have, or is it just the one? If you’re allowed, or if the space is designed in this way, you can paint the walls of the darkest part of your studio with satin finish (or if you don’t mind a bit more shine, semi gloss). The light bounces off these finishes which help to brighten up the area just a little bit more.

  9. Midge says...

    You are going to LOVE it!

  10. Daneilla says...

    Congrats! It’s such an exciting yet scary thing in the beginning but you’ll acclimate and eventually it’ll feel like home~

    I moved into my first place of my own about 6 years ago in the city and have been here ever since.

    Intro: I like things compartmentalized in all aspects of life and it shows in my apt layout and design as well. I’m also a huge lover of Ikea and most of my furniture is from there.

    I too have a long studio. And I echo a lot of the already provided suggestions.

    1. I use the tried and true KALLAX as a divider between my sleep and living space. I have the 5×5 sq ones and the width is almost as long as my full size bed. This also allows you to use both sides of the shelf. Mine is a little bit over a foot away from one side of my bed so I use a couple shelves as a “side table”.

    2. Use the bottom of your shelves for storage space. Ikea has so many colors and designs that fit into the Kallax. I like to switch them out whenever I feel I need a refresh. I also use the FJÄLKINGE to house my TV and other random stuff. I use the bottom to store all my bags and used fabric to drape over it and hide it out of sight. Again using different fabrics whenever I need a change.

    3. Not sure how close you are to other buildings around you/can other people look into your apt from theirs ;). If you end up feeling like you need just a bit of a barrier, Ikea’s LILL curtain are like mesh so you get the light but also a little privacy.

    4. Use your ceiling. Use C hooks to hang planters or lights, etc.

    5. Accept that it’s an ever changing process. The layout you had a month ago might not work for you at another time. I had the same layout for 5 years, then ‘Rona came and WFH meant I had to change my work area. I spent hours mentally thinking of what can be done in my tiny studio, a full day of actually moving furniture by myself, a lot of sweat, and a lot of pictures to friends asking for opinions before I got to my current layout. It’s still not my ideal but it works with what I have :)

    Sorry this is just a long, winded post but wanted to share and also it was a nice distraction from work.

    • Katherine says...

      Love these suggestions! Solo resident here also. Other people always think of things that I don’t. Thank you.

  11. Angie says...

    Congratulations! I still miss my studio so so much.

    I highly recommend keeping something by the front door (a straw bag, a shelf, basket, cabinet, whatever works for your space) to dump all your outdoor stuff in – mail, bag, umbrella, scarf. It keeps outside-world dirt in one place and prevents lost keys in the bed.

  12. Moo says...

    I’m so excited for you! May I suggest velvet pillow covers that you can unzip, wash and dry and a couple of soft throw blankets for the couch? IKEA and H&M have a ton of cute & affordable options. Best of luck moving and hope you have fun decorating your new home!

  13. Amanda C says...

    To keep your bed from becoming your everything and the space not feel so bedroom-y, I surprisingly suggest a Murphy bed! I begrudgingly got one as it was the only way I could fit a desk and full on reading nook (which for me was a must) AND a living room and have loved it!! There are some surprisingly nice looking ones with storange or a desk or couch that automatically folds down. I’ve loved the fact that I get so much more living space and it allows me to have people over without feeling like they’re staring at my bed.

  14. Sofia says...

    Congrats Kim! I echo the comments about lighting and plants and taking time to know the space before buying too much. As a New Yorker who lived in a tiny studio by myself for 3 years and now in a small 1 bedroom with my boyfriend, I love these floating shelves from the container store:
    We have 3, one on each side of the bed as nightstands and one by the front door above a row of hooks to hold mail, the dog leashes, keys, etc. They’re so space efficient, look great, and are easy to mount. I think I found them on a Wirecutter post about small space solutions, they have a bunch of good tips too! Good luck!

  15. Anna says...

    Please add the info/credit to the picture. Also, I want to go to there (Glasgow? Edinburgh?).

    • B says...

      Yes–where is this?

    • E says...

      It’s the west end of Glasgow – Hyndland. A nice surprise to see it on Cup of Jo.

  16. Jenny says...

    Yaaaaay! Congratulations! Welcome home! I live in a tiny studio and I have some accumulated ideas to share:
    Clean all the time because there’s nowhere for mess to hide, and a mess generates MORE MESS! I take out my trash every night to avoid weird odors. (Also never cook fish unless you wanna wash your sheets haha small spaces)
    But my real advice is to breathe deep, step over that threshold, and exhale light into your very own space. Everything here is because you want it. You’ll look back on this chapter of freedom with so much joy. Fill every corner with the life you want to live.
    Oh and don’t eat in bed or your entire apartment magically transmogrifies into a giant bed you cant escape, a real estate personification of bra crumbs.

  17. Eddie says...

    I was so encouraged to read this. I’m also about to move into a place by myself for the first time and I have the same worries and excitements about solo living. Floor rugs and gauzy curtains are great for dividing up the space into different “rooms” and a dedicated “desk” will make a huge difference, even if it’s just a deep shelf with a pinboard above it and a comfy chair or stool. Good luck!

  18. Ellen says...

    Not a studio dweller but I do live alone (+2 cats & 1 dog) and absolutely love it. My suggestion would be to make the most of the cupboard space that is there, rather than fill the walls up with storage furniture, and then use the free space to put the personality/cosy in. My place has a picture rail all the way around, so I have lots of hangings and also use those hooks for bags, coats etc. And keep the bedroom very uncluttered, splurge on cosy bedding.

  19. ally says...

    Congratulations, Kim! I lived in a studio by myself last year (before moving back home with my parents LOL what a contrast) and I loved it! I had to maneuver the furniture around for a few weeks before I found what worked for me but it ended up being a really cozy sanctuary for me, and i hope that your new studio ends up being the same for you :)

    – Echoing what everyone else has said about multiple different sources of lighting! I had a floor lamp in each corner and a desk lamp and it was never dark

    – Angle your bed so that when you’re laying down you are looking towards a window. When I first moved in the bed was facing the kitchen and it felt like I was like sleeping in the kitchen lol

    – If you don’t have enough space for a couch (or big chair), push your bed along a wall and use the end as your couch. Sit with your back against the wall and your legs across the bed. I put a bunch of pillows on the wall and it was separate enough that it did feel like I wasn’t in my bed all the time

  20. Studio dweller for almost 3 years now (also my first time living alone!) Some tips:

    – To avoid the lonely feeling: remind yourself of the good things (like bravo and eating what you want) and CELEBRATE those things! Also, this is a little tricky during pandemic times, but make plans – even if you aren’t busy doing things all the time, having one out-of-the-house experience to look forward to can get you through a quiet week.
    – Many recommend room dividers or similar furniture set ups to separate sleeping/living spaces, but I never bothered. I feel like it would feel cramped and dark that way.
    – Separate furniture for separate activities! You might have to get a little creative, but I got a sofa and a desk so I only use my bed for bed things: sleeping, reading, etc ;)
    – If your space allows, set up your living space so you can’t see the bed. When I’m on my sofa, I can’t see my bed so I almost forget that its all one room.

    Hopefully you’ll share your space so we can all see it!

  21. Rae says...

    Can we have a home tour when you’re all settled in? Pretty please?

  22. Shannon says...

    Oh I am SO excited for you!! Congratulations. I have lived alone in my nest of a studio for three years now and am totally in love. A few thoughts that may prove helpful…

    1. Play around with furniture! I moved my couch about 4 times before settling on the right set up. If you have an L shaped couch, that can really help define your living room as separate from everything else.
    2. Nothing beats a good mirror for doubling your space. Plus if anyone visits, its nice to have to two spaces for getting ready in the morning.
    3. Build lovely little routines for each sitting surface. :) I eat meals and check off pesky personal to dos on my bar stools, get work done at my desk chair, lounge for Pinterest scrolling and naps on the couch, etc.
    4. Relish that you can savor all your excellent interior design skills in one greedy eye sweep. And also, you can justify spending more on a few quality items because you have less space to fill!
    5. If you dont want to sleep with someone the first night you bring them home ;), feel free to secretly keep them on the couch. May sound ridiculous to others, but I sometimes feel a bit vulnerable bringing a date straight into my “bedroom!” Subtly herding of men to my made-up couch boundary helps me calm any jitters.
    Enjoy your new home darling! Xo

  23. Calla says...

    Hi Kim! Congrats and welcome to studio-world! I’ve been living on my own in studios for the past 5 years and love it so much! Storage tends to be the main challenge so my number one piece of advice is cuphooks. Put them everywhere. Cuphooks for mugs, cuphooks on the side of shelves to hang pots and pans, cuphooks for measuring cups, cuphooks for bags. Basically just try to use every inch of wall space.

    If you are trying to create separate spaces I recommend using visual clues like small rugs or wall art rather than big pieces of furniture or room dividers.

    Also if you want to avoid using the bed too often make sure you have a super comfy chair rather than a stylish but decorative one. My studio is too small for a loveseat so I spent a lot of time looking for an armchair with a really deep seat that I can be comfortable on (this is my second studio and I learned this lesson the hard way). If your seating is too shallow or too hard you will end up on the bed.

    My last piece of advice is to really take your time furnishing and decorating. I tend to get excited about furnishing a new place but you often don’t know what you need until you’ve been living in it for awhile. This is especially true in studios where you have to play tetris with the furniture. Just make sure you have a bed and somewhere to sit and let the rest work itself out over the next few months.

  24. Claire says...

    Since your bed will be fairly front in center, I’d suggest getting a bed frame or at least bedding that you really love. I moved at the beginning of June and decided to use my stimulus check to invest in a bed frame and grown up bedding. I got the Dania Bolig bedframe which I’m liking so far (there’s a bit of room underneath if I want to add some storage bins) and splurged on linen sheets from a company in Australia called I Love Linen. I look forward to going to bed in my cozy sheets and genuinely enjoy making the bed in the morning so I can keep everything looking pretty. It also helped me feel like I was making a fresh start in a new place! Highly recommend it if it’s in your budget to get new bedding. :)

    I also loved another commenter’s idea that if a big couch doesn’t work, a cozy reading chair could be lovely! I think having a few lamps on a side table also keep a room comfortable, vs. not feeling like you have good lighting.

  25. A says...

    Yay Kim! How exciting : )
    I live alone for the first time in my life and am loving it. I bought a bookshelf to act as a room divider. This helped me to make areas: the living/eating area, the bedroom area. I have this one from ikea and love it as it still lets light travel between the different spaces:

    For homey/coziness: fairy lights and bunting are my go-to’s, they bring so much warmth and joy

  26. kim says...

    Moving into a new space always feels like such an energizing fresh start :)

    Here are my tips from living in many small spaces:
    – Hang really big art vs. a gallery wall or tons of tiny art pieces, in a small space, it really opens up the room and makes things look less visually cluttered.
    – keep to a colour palette
    – install several kinds of window coverings, sheers that allow privacy but let in all the light, heavier curtains to block out light and make the space extra cozy at night, ones that pull up from the bottom so you can still see the sky but people can’t see in – whatever works for your situation.
    – prioritize comfort. We’re spending so much time at home, living and working these days. Large houses have space for beautiful (but uncomfortable) accent chairs, in a small space get one larger chair that’s really comfy, pillows, soft bedding, throw blanket, slippers. Simple comforts in the time of COVID are… everything.
    – go vertical. Put shelves up high anywhere you can. but a tiny collapsible stepstool or repurpose something you already own to access them.
    – make a couple of playlists before moving. A happy one for unpacking, and a chill one for mornings and evenings. Play them immediately and all the time while you get used to the new space. New building and neighborhood sounds can add to anxious lonely feelings.
    – sign up for notifications on facebook marketplace to hear about murphy beds for sale. Boom – instant yoga studio ;)

    • Amy says...

      Seconding everything you said, and will add: also look for a Murphy desk! I have one in my home office, which has to double as a guest bedroom, and it’s a huge space saver. It even helps me get into “work mode” — when I pull the chair from its corner and put the desk down, it’s time to get cracking.

  27. Congrats, it is so liberating to live alone in NYC and also a huge accomplishment that most people don’t understand!

    I recently moved into my own apartment and I find having background music on helps with not feeling lonely so invest in high quality speakers or even an Amazon Echo device – Alexa is the best roommate I’ve ever had since she knows my favorite playlists, can play a game, or tell me the weather anytime I ask her ;)

    I agree – splurge on your bedding and make your bed cozy + luxurious as a nice treat for yourself. I never work out of my bed – the only time I have my laptop in bed is when I want to watch a show. It’s important mentally to separate your workspace from your relaxation space even if it’s only by a few feet.

    To help with lonliness, I try to schedule facetime catch ups with friends a few times a week and try to get in a daily walk even if it’s short just to remind myself that there are people all around me. It’s a nice way to learn about the neighborhood and begin identifying the locals.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Andrea, this is so great! I will definitely be investing in a good speaker to play tunes all day long! Thanks so much! xo

  28. Shade says...

    Make friends with your neighbors if you can. I’ve never lived alone (boy I wish I would have), but when I was alone for a month (which I thoroughly enjoyed) I was very happy to have my neighbors around to make me feel like I still had a community close by.

  29. Sarah says...

    Hi Kim! Congrats! This is great news. I lived in a studio in the past, and I would say, don’t let other people’s “shoulds” keep you from doing what you want with your space! You don’t have to have a piece of furniture just because some people assume you need it! It’s all yours :). Also, if you really want something (like a desk) don’t assume it won’t fit. Always measure, because it just might! Congrats, again!

  30. Julie says...

    Congrats on the move!

    I highly recommend the book Feng Shui Your Life by Jayme Barrett. It’s a kooky title but it’s filled with lots of practical suggestions for choosing items you love and arranging them in a way that serves you. I’ve given it to everyone I know. I don’t know if any of them have actually read it (ha!) but it completely changed the way I design my living spaces and my life has been changed as a result – so I always want to share!!

  31. Laura says...

    I shared a studio with my ex so I feel you on the lack of space! Tips:
    – a small table with 2 comfortable chairs can be used as a dining table, desk or work space, and extra counter space for a tiny kitchen
    – splurge on your bed frame and linens, because your bed will be the largest and most central piece people see in your space
    – a faux fur or otherwise snuggly and soft throw will cozy up a couch, chairs, or even the end of your bed
    – lighting is v important- I like fairy or rope lights but candles and even candlesticks can make a big difference in coziness

    • SP says...

      I second the small table with room for 2! I have a cheap, industrial metal kitchen station with two barstools that functions as an island for chopping, a dining room table, a desk, somewhere to put my groceries when I come home. It’s industrial looking but my most used piece of furniture after my bed and people always comment on it! Good luck and PLEASE send us pictures when you’re all settled in! I’m sure it will be lovely!

  32. maria says...

    want to visually (and a wee bit physically) divide your living/sleeping spaces? i suggest floating a bookcase between the 2! the KALLAX bookcase is an excellent choice – it’s inexpensive, and is overall clean-lined and unobtrusive. there also are an array of boxes/bins that designed to fir perfectly within in, dso you can use them to further hide messy stuff, visually block space between your “rooms” and also keep plants, tchotchkes, books, etc.

    beyond that – try to keep a unified feeling between everything. sure pops of color are great – but the more harmonious the colors, or the more neutral you go (depending on your tastes) the larger and more expansive your space will feel. in a studio in particular, it’s important to give space for the eye to rest – you want a sanctuary, not to feel overhwhelmed by your stuff.

    *and yes, I am a designer for IKEA – haha – but i only recommend KALLAX as i’ve seen it used SO many times as a room divider to great success. ANY bookcase could work, you could also hang curtains or fabric panels from the ceiling to divide with less bulk , or simply create “zones” visually for living/sleeping – with rugs and/or furniture placement – it’s more about how delineated and physically separate you want your space to be/feel.

    how completely EXCITING for you – huge congrats and enjoy! i haven’t lived along in over 28 years, haha.

    oh and YES – get plants! having green, living things will be a huge mood lifter and also just makes your space feel comfortable and inviting. throw pillow, blankets and baskets to corral all – also add textural interest along with space to stash stuff.

    and hey – a kitty or puppy could be awesome too. just sayin’, haha. good luck!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Maria, you’re a designer for Ikea??? that’s amazing!!!

    • b says...

      So much good advice here. The KALLAX shelves would be so fun to style throughout the year – books, plants, candles, pops of holiday decor.

    • Lily Kelting says...

      Omg Jo please invite this IKEA designer for a Q and A I am dying to know more about their design process, thoughts on developing a personal interior design style in a massmarket world, etc etc etc

    • maria says...

      yes i am, thanks, haha.

      to clarify though – i am NOT an IKEA product designer, i am an in-store interior designer so we create and plan the room-settings you see in the store. many are created globally that we then adapt for the US and our local market, and many we create in-house. for a short while everything was being centrally planned in the US but we are now returning more and more to creating our own, local solutions.

      and i would seriously LOVE to be an interior design writer, Q&A, whatever for CoJ – it would be fantastic! I was an art teacher in my first career so i truly ADORE teaching, mentoring, and assisting others learn – whether about art, design, etc. and am often tasked to do so in my role. and yes, i love my job and the company i work for and all they stand for! :)

    • Angie says...

      Oh yes please to some kind of profile of this fun person!

    • Miranda says...

      I just pushed the bed into one corner, pinned translucent white curtains to the ceiling, et voilà ! A separate “room” that made all the difference when I was working at home or just needed to relax without wanting to nap.

    • Brittany says...

      Another vote for a Q&A with Maria!

  33. Jessica says...

    Congratulations! There is nothing like FINALLY living on your own. the freedom! The quiet! The ability to truly be offline, with regard to other people’s needs.
    My tips:
    1) the bottom shelf of your bookshelf (should you have one or two) is for storage bins, not books. I had two tall pillar bookshelves on either side of my sofa and on one side was a basket with tools, duct tape and practical things and the other was all the paper mess that you have to keep but don’t want to just have out all the time. Books down at almost-floor level don’t get looked at much, anyhow.
    2) No aspirational furniture. Ask yourself where you work, now? I had a lovely desk that was never used. I just had to admit that I’m a laptop-on-pillow-on-lap-on-couch gal. Even if I did want to sit, I would just end up at my dining table. Also, don’t pretend you’ll be a minimalist if you just aren’t. Get a desk with a million compartments that shuts (y’know the old letter desks?) if you are cluttered, like me, even if you want a clean flat surface.
    3) Consider transparency: My studio coffee table was 70’s brass n’ glass so that I had a visually appealing bit of bright gold bling in the center of my tiny dark apartment, and did not have a heavy item of furniture taking up precious visual space.
    4) use lighting to define spaces and moments. Bright work lights, mellow “the day is done, let’s chill” shaded lamps for the end of the day. Turning off the light in one area and re-lighting another is a great way to signal to yourself what the moment is and to change up the space.
    As for being alone… make friend dates, but don’t stress about it. Allow yourself to luxuriate in the solo time for at least a month. And if you want to people to see a particularly cute outfit, because you put it on that morning, just go out and explore your neighborhood.

  34. Lisa says...

    Congrats!! How high are the ceilings? Could you build out or buy a loft bed and make a home office under?

  35. Tucker says...

    Maybe embrace you bed as furniture and set up a day bed? Alternatively I think an ottoman would work for storage, seating and a coffee table! When I lived alone I loved podcasts and audiobooks to keep me from feeling lonely especially Mindy Khaings!

  36. Alyce says...

    I loved the 3 years I lived alone in grad school, in a cozy 400sq ft studio. One thing I did, whicb I would recommend if it fits in your space, was to put my couch at the foot of my bed. My couch and coffee table were anchored by a rug, so it was a living zone. That meant when people came over to hang out, we weren’t looking at my bed, which helped it to feel like I didn’t have visitors in my bedroom.

  37. Diana k. says...

    To make my space homey I like to frame ordinary things I’ve saved over the years. I saved a sugar packet from a trip to cuba with my family- frame it! A bus ticket from my cousin’s town in Poland – FRAME IT. Guitar picks I caught at concerts, napkin doodles, my moms grocery list. Ikea has cheapy frames and picture frames are almost always lying in “free” piles in my neighborhood on trash day.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Oh, my sentimental heart LOVES this idea!! Thank you so much, Diana! xo

  38. Rachel says...

    Congrats, Kim! So excited for you! I have no suggestions, but just posting to ask: Can COJ have an “ask an interior designer” column????? I love all the design and house tour posts, but I have SO MANY QUESTIONS about how to re-create all of these beautiful rooms I see online. (To that point, if anyone has tips on how to make a dark house with low ceilings seem bigger and brighter, please let me know!!!)

    • maria says...

      i LOVE this idea! and hey, i volunteer to be the writer/designer, just sayin’. :)

      *i promise to clean up my typos before submitting – yikes for my writing above!

    • Sarah says...

      Great idea! One suggestion is Shavonda Gardner @sgardnerstyle on IG who has made magic with a dark, small well lived in home. Her approach is stunning!
      Another suggestion is Emily Henderson just launched a community platform where people are all helping each other out with suggestions. So helpful!

  39. Mollie says...

    Watch QueerEye and learn as much as you can from Bobby!

  40. Hi Kim!

    How exciting, mazel tov on your move! I suggest a few plants to combat loneliness or maybe even a small fish? Sounds crazy, but having another living thing can make a space feel cozy. Also, a shag rug. Super homey and inviting.

    As for keeping a small space tidy, take advantage of vertical space by using floating shelves to store items you don’t use often. Also, a small storage cube can serve as a coffee table, foot rest, or extra seating for guests.


  41. Hi Kim. I never comment on blogs, but I can really understand your dilemma! I just moved to a 236sqf flat that has a bay window to make it worse!

    Tip no1 – MEASURE! Every inch counts and there is furniture of all sizes… If you can do some space planning before buying anything, better.
    Tip no2 – Don’t be afraid of thinking out of the box. I place my bed somewhere very unconventional and it really helped create areas even in such a small space.
    Tip no3 – really think about how you use your space, do you need a desk? Do need a sofa or just a nice chair will do?
    Tip no4 – remember that these spaces are very organic and you can add and remove things, that’s part of the fun!
    Tip no5 – Look at references, inspire yourself, there are so many great resources out there. I just posted my own flat on Apartment Therapy (that has amazing exampled of studios) if you want to check it out!

    Good luck and happy living :)

    • Alyce says...

      Your home looks so lovely. Cozy and homey in the best way. Thanks for sharing.

    • Paige R says...

      Mariana, I saw your flat on Apartment Therapy and loved it! I also live in a tiny studio (maybe a little bigger than yours, but with a boyfriend and a huge dog) and I love seeing how other people arrange theirs. I feel like I’ve spotted a celebrity. The internet is a small world.

  42. Charlotte says...

    I loved my time living in a studio appartment, and trust me so will you. If you want to get some fantastic examples of small space living, check the blog
    It’s french but it has English translations and the pictures sprak a thousand words!

  43. Becky says...

    Congrats!!! Can’t wait for the apartment tour post.

    My advice, coming from living in a tiny house that should be on wheels, is to create zones and always return your belongings to that zone. If i can’t fit all my paint and tools into the designated space then I thin out stuff (throw away if needed, donate if i can). We also tidy up daily with a weekly bathroom clean, designated laundry day and so on. It keeps the place manageable.
    Congrats again!!!

  44. Karyn says...

    Congrats, Kim, this is so exciting and makes me think so fondly on the three extremely small studios with no views that I had in various parts of NYC c. 2000 – 2010. I loved all of them for different reasons (though none had a washer and dryer!!!) but most of all for the total thrilling privacy, freedom, and amazement that (by prioritizing it above so many other things) I could just about manage to afford to live on my own in the city.

    My top tips for studio living are that you can make zones with rugs and create easy, lovely, visual “walls” by screwing little hooks in the ceiling and hanging down pretty pieces of fabric or curtains — that’s especially good along the side and/or the foot of the bed, or at the edge of a kitchenette to block things off. It somehow feels more safe/permanent/less-tippy and cozier/lighter than a folding screen, and takes up much less space as well! And, if you can manage it, get the chair/sofa’s back perpendicular to the walls instead of parallel and use it to divide spaces. Enjoy it!!

  45. riye says...

    Congratulations on your own place! I’ve had mine for almost 10 yrs and I love it. I don’t know if I have high privacy needs but I’ve never been lonely living by myself (I’m even in between cats right now so it’s just me).

    You might want to consider getting curtains even if you don’t need them for the privacy. I have a nice city view and lots of morning sun–but sometimes it’s too much sun. Plus with the curtains pulled, it makes the apartment much cooler.

    Agree with what others have already said–lights scattered around your space, books, all the stuff you love. Get some good chairs–I splurged on a Herman Miller Aeron chair (most expensive thing I got for the apartment) and it was worth it. I sit in it constantly when I’m home and don’t miss not having a couch.

    • Laura says...

      Congratulations Kim!
      I’ve been living alone for the last 8 years and never felt alone in my little apartment.
      However, it wasn’t “homey” when I moved in. There was some furniture missing, no art in the walls, … I’ve purchased some pieces that I really like during these years and I’m happy to say that now it has become a cosy place where I feel calm and safe.

  46. Eliza says...

    Hi Kim! Congrats!! You are about to embark on such a great adventure!! I would suggest going to, typing “Studio” into the search bar on the site, and then perusing the articles and house tours that populate. I think you’ll probably get some great ideas and tips/tricks for how to layout a studio space. :-) Enjoy the process if you can!

    • Jeanne says...

      I was going to suggest ApartmentTherapy too! Some of the designs for studios are so amazing, they have won contests. The space utilization is incredible. You can see what people have done to designate spaces like hanging a curtain or using ikea bookcases to make “walls”. (The Ikea Kallax seems universally popular). I recommend getting a few easy plants. And if you can fit a loveseat or couch, even at the end of your bed, it will keep you from using your bed as a dining room etc.
      So excited for you!! Show us pics of what you do!!!!

  47. Bre says...

    Congratulations! Living on my own in a studio apartment are some of my most cherished memories. I sandwiched my bed between a wall and the big Kallax bookshelf from ikea to feel like I had a separate “bedroom”. Take your time with decorating and focus on how things make you feel, and enjoy it!

  48. Suse says...

    Just know there is a difference between loneliness and solitude. Enjoy the latter. Distract from the former.

  49. Taryn says...

    My tip is to be creative and flexible about where you keep things. In my studio, I had a wall of bookcases that I styled out with books and objects, as well as some beautiful paper boxes from Home Goods. Office supplies, spare batteries, and all kinds of unglamorous things hid in those brightly colored boxes. It may have been chaos to someone else, but I knew where everything was (even without a dedicated junk drawer–because my kitchen only had 1 drawer, yikes).

    I moved in with my boyfriend in February and it’s great living with him and having more space, but I miss little things about my studio. It’s a great experience to have your own little slice of the world where you get to call the shots (and see the TV from the couch and the bed!). Enjoy it!

  50. Scott P. says...

    Living in a studio, you have to first admit that you live in a studio. Don’t use dividers, bookshelves, or any kind of wallpaper contraption to try and create “rooms.” Own the integrated aspects of it. This often means cutting one of the functions of a larger home — maybe a proper dining area, or a dedicated office, depending on your needs.

    When I lived in a studio, I made by bed because it helped the entire place look more tidy. I know this isn’t everyone’s bag, but there’s a knock-on effect that helps. If you’re folding laundry, for example, you can use a made bed as an extra surface — if the blankets are everywhere, it gets squirrelly.

    • Calla says...

      I totally agree! Unless you have a big open loft space, creating separate “rooms” often just makes it feel more crowded

  51. Kate says...

    Lighting helps split up space so much! I lived in a 17′ x 36′ studio for 5 years and I’d move back in a heartbeat. The biggest thing for me was making the hell out of my bed immediately every morning and then just….not look at it for the rest of the day. In the evening I’d turn off all the rest of the lights and turn on my bedside lamp and suddenly it would be like I was in a different room! Separating the space with a rug or carpet helps it seem like its own space, too.

  52. Lynea Wilson says...

    My first solo-living situation was a studio, and every night I would set my little Moka pot up. Then every morning the alarm would ring and I would turn the burner on and get back in bed til I heard it boil. It was a morning ritual that I loved, that made me feel like the apartment was made just for me. Perfectly sized for my newfound independence. Congrats on this move! I hope you find a ritual that feels as special that you think back on and smile.

  53. Steph says...

    I highly recommend plants. I’ve moved a lot, and plants always make a new space feel like home. I also recommend a bird feeder, if you can manage it. The birds keep me company during the day!

  54. Louisa says...

    Just here to say I have always wanted an excuse to have a murphy bed! Now is your moment!

  55. Mazel Tov, Kim!! While it’s not quite a studio, our tiny Brooklyn apt has one space for the bedroom/living room.. and just recently in quarantine I decided to use Modsy (partly due to seeing it on CoJ!) and they had great tips! Many that have already been mentioned (the big one for me was the layout, they thought of a way to separate the bed from the “living” area in a way I never would have… and RUGS! I had never been one to splurge on a rug before).

    If you haven’t already tried them, I totally recommend AptDeco. Have had a wonderful experience both buying and selling on it. Cheers!

  56. Maria says...

    This is so exciting!! I remember the first place I ever moved into on my own! My advice is: rugs ground areas and create wall-less rooms! A sofa/armchair on top of a rug, deliberately styled=living room. Also, comfy dining chairs (I got green velvet ones from target. They’re amazing) can do double duty as living room-esque chairs, too. I’m so thrilled for you! Congratulations!!

  57. Katie says...

    Just moved out of a studio where I lived alone and I miss it so much! By far my favorite place I’ve ever lived. Paint the walls light blue, define spaces with rugs, get a loveseat and pile it up with velvet throw pillows, and invest in space saving fixtures like hooks, shelves, and pretty baskets so you can keep clutter to a minimum and give everything its own place.

  58. R says...

    Yay, congrats on your new spot! I just moved out of a studio and I can’t overstate how awesome this bookshelf was ( We put it between the ‘bedroom’ and the ‘living room’ and it really helped us to separate the two spaces. You can buy bins to go inside it (ikea has ones that fit exactly in the squares) which we used to store extra kitchen things and cleaning supplies. It worked great for us! Good luck on your move! Don’t forget to lift with your legs :)

  59. WRJ says...

    I lived in a studio in my mid-20s, and in between my “bedroom” and “living room” I placed a double-sided, open shelving unit. It was only about 4feet in height, so it didn’t completely block one space from the other, just create a divider. The bedroom side was used as my bookshelf, and the living room side was my bar cart. Since it was open you could “see through” to the other side, so it didn’t feel like a heavy block of furniture in the middle of the room at all. If you have the room, I recommend it!

  60. Ro says...

    Hi Kim! As someone who lives in a super tiny studio after also living with roommates for ten years, all I can say is it’s AMAZING. Yes, there is a slight loneliness factor, but you’ll forget all about that when standing naked in front of the fridge at 2am eating whatever you want (ah, bliss.)

    To make it feel less like a bedroom, I hung a sheer curtain halfway across the room to separate my bed from my kitchen. It still lets the light through so it doesn’t close off the space, but gives the feeling of two spaces.

    Even though my bed takes up a ton of space, I make a point of working/eating at my kitchen table. If I want to watch a movie, I might do it there too, but have plans to squeeze a plush chair into the corner at some point. Basically, I only get into my bed for naps and at night… that way I’m not in it all day long, which I’ve heard makes sleeping harder to do.

    Good luck! And for real, if you do get lonely all you need to do is go for a walk or invite a friend over. And then wave happily at them as they leave :)

  61. Mary says...

    The first piece of furniture I bought was a narrow library table. It has been perfect everywhere I have lived. Behind a couch so you don’t need a coffee table, under a window for plants, along a wall for TV and eating space. 30 inches tall and 12 inches deep. So very flexible.

  62. Leah says...

    I have lived alone for 2 years and I love it – during quarantine in NYC it has definitely helped me learn to love my own company! I will reiterate what others have said about getting a small desk. I have this one from West Elm, and I love that I can tuck my computer and notebook into it, close it up and have work out of sight at the end of the day.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      I love that you learned to love your own company during quarantine! That gives me so much comfort! Thanks, Leah! xo

  63. Focus on the lighting! (As a professional lighting designer, i may be biased…). A few rules:
    1 – Have lights at multiple heights (Ceiling, Wall, Standing lamp, table/desk, Floor). It is not unreasonable to have 4-7 light sources in your main living space.
    2 – Have different shade types (translucent/glowing, opaque – direct light down to task surfaces or up to the ceiling, or hide a little LED strip on top of a tall shelf to give an accent.)
    3 – Different sizes! – Do you have the classic big glowing “boob” light on the ceiling of your rental? Hang some tiny twinkle lights or a fixture with some sparkle to it in another part of the room, and place a small shielded task light on your desk/table/bedside table to counter the dull, ambient glow of the boob.
    4 – 2700K is the magic number for warm white light.
    5 – Put everything on dimmers! You can get those little plug in dimmers at ikea or the hardware store for all your plug-in lights.
    6 – Candles and tea lights for special occasions or self-care evenings. Think Hygge!

    Good luck – I have very fond memories of my year living solo in a studio apartment!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Alex! Copy and pasting this for later! I had no idea there was such a formula for lighting! Thank you! xo

    • Calla says...

      Lighting is so important in studios! I hate my overhead lights but don’t have the know-how to change them out so have a bunch lamps scattered around instead). Hands down the best thing I ever bought for my apartment is a set of etekcity remote-controlled outlets. I used to have to crawl all over my furniture to reach the lamp switches but now that I’ve mounted the remote to the wall its just like have a single wall switch to control everything. Haven’t turned on the overhead lights in months.

  64. Christina says...

    I just had to add one more thing :-)
    If you are allowed to, use the walls and the ceiling as much as you can. Think volume instead of flat area. Add shelves or other storage high-ish up, hang plants from the ceiling/in the window….

    On a side-note; it is so interesting to realize how common it seems to be in the US to have roommates. It can happen here, but usually you move from your parents either to a student room, or your own place, by yourself or with a partner. Sharing with roommates has a slight hippie-vibe :-).

    • Jessica Alsberg says...

      Yes! I had friends with the tiniest home, and they installed a shelf at about a foot below their ceiling almost all the way around the room – at the height where a picture rail would have gone. Books, memorabilia and the occasional, subtle box all went up there – it was an adorable design element AND it took a lot of clutter out of the way.

    • Calla says...

      Hahaha I have been living in my studio for 3 years and in that time continued to acquire more stuff. Almost every month I am eyeing another tiny patch of available wall wondering if I can squeeze in another shelf there.

  65. Angela says...

    I kept my studio from feeling like a dorm room through my color palettes. My “living room” end had dark woods and red accents, my “dining room” carried over the dark woods but added some muted neutrals, my “family room” carried the muted neutrals with some robin’s egg blue accents, and my “bedroom” was the light blue palette with yellow for accents. The carry over gave cohesion and flow, but there were definitely sections!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      I never thought about color palette coding! Brilliant!! Thanks, Angela! xo

  66. A says...

    Re: curtains – If you’re still open to having some, I have hung these sheer linen curtains in all my apartments and they’re perfect for small spaces:×84-natural-curtain-panel/s561633

    They really pull the room together and somehow magically make ceilings look higher, but because they’re so sheer they don’t block any light. Instead, they diffuse light really beautifully (adding to coziness!). I got mine a bit longer than ceiling height, so that they pool a bit at the floor.

  67. laura says...

    welcome to solo living! it’s great. :)

    the main thing i’d echo is to welcome slow living. move in and get a feel for how your body prefers to live in the space before adding structure and more furniture, and you’re forcing yourself to move in certain ways. the same goes for the decor of the space. it helps to romanticize it and feel the messiness or emptiness of your new space, like it’s shown in the movies! haha

    that said, the biggest shift i saw at my place was when i finally got my couch. after living there for a while, i realized how and where i wanted a sofa and once i finally acquired one, my place truly felt like home!

  68. Katie says...

    I am so excited for you!! You get to make all of the decisions without consulting anyone. It will be thrilling!! I really enjoyed living by myself for a few years in a studio and found that I explored more of what I truly love to do when no one else was around. To help differentiate space, a rug can help. For example, you could put all of your living room furniture on the rug. Also, I became a storage guru. Get creative about storage And don’t waste an inch! I (still) have a storage bed and my dresser was where I kept my tv, like a console table. Most of my furniture was white, too, which helped the space feel open. Mirrors on the wall will spread the light from the back. You’ve got this! I’m excited for you!! xx

  69. Kerstin says...

    Congratulations Kim! The first apartment my boyfriend and I shared was a studio apartment. We still after fourteen years and many homes later refer lovingly back to it. Studios promote creativity in living! If you can’t loft your bed, or don’t like the ambiance of it, get a day cover to go over your blanket/duvet so it is more like soft seating than a bed while you’re not sleeping in it. Also, don’t worry about decorating everything right away. We never had a coffee table in our studio apartment and used a perfectly-sized sturdy box instead (which we sometimes but not always covered with a cloth). No one cared, and everyone still had a place to put their drinks. It’s the memories made that are the most important thing.

  70. Jo says...

    My best and only advice for cozying up a new place is take your time. In my first place, I was so eager to fill up space that I made (often cheap) purchases that I regretted, and then I had guilt about spending money AGAIN to replace them. In the home I’m in now, I slowed down and waited for the perfect affordable couch, rug, throw pillows… you get the idea. No one will notice or mind if you have some empty corners for awhile, but YOU’ll notice that ugly regrettable ottoman mocking you every night ?!
    Good luck and enjoy!

    • Calla says...

      100% this. It’s so tempting to buy those cute foldable tables and a storage bed and a rolling cart, etc but you really have no idea what’s going to work for the space until you’ve been in it for awhile. For my first 3 months in my current place I had a patio table and directors chair as my only seating until I saved up and got exactly what I needed. So glad I did because what I wanted originally would not have worked at all!

  71. Rachel Zurier says...

    is that photo Glasgow, Scotland?? If not, looks just like it!

    • Eve says...

      I was wondering this too, it looks like Hyndland in Glasgow. I don’t know Glasgow well though (although I do live in Scotland) so who knows! I would be very surprised if it’s America!

    • Sarah says...

      I came down to ask the same thing! I’d know that red sandstone anywhere :)

    • Haley B says...

      I live in the Southside of Glasgow and had to come into the comments to see if anyone else had asked, because it’s *surely* Glasgow?!

    • Poppy says...

      I was just wondering that myself! ?

    • Lorna says...

      I agree, I’ve been trying to work out which street in Hyndland it is. The arch above the window is so distinctive.

    • Maureen says...

      Haley, I live in the South side too! Pollokshields! I think the pic is Hyndland.

  72. Laura says...

    I spent lockdown living alone in a converted garage. Mostly I loved it, but what I didn’t love was going to bed and having my pillow smell like whatever I cooked for dinner. Definitely buy a splatter guard for your frying pan if the kitchen is anywhere near your bedroom or clothes. They even sell odour absorbing ones. Bye bye bacon pillow.

  73. Emily says...

    Kim, congrats! At 31, I am about to move into my first solo apartment as well (this weekend!). Like yours, mine is a bright, cheery bowling alley in my preferred neighborhood; the moving and decorating is done though. Here’s to our new adventures!
    COJ readers – how do I avoid feeling lonely? I’ve already purchased an Alexa so I have someone to talk to, but I can’t have pets and I’m afraid of living alone while working from home. Any tips? Thanks!

    • Rae says...

      If you’re able to, bookend your work day with a walk. Get dressed for work, and go outside, even for just 5 minutes. Drink your coffee on the street. Reverse at the end of the day. If you do it at the same times, you’ll start to recognize people on your ‘commute.’
      I love having the radio on. In NZ, we have the brilliant National Radio. They broadcast a wide array of programming but very little music. I have it low enough that it’s like eavesdropping on other peoples conversations. I find it a great substitution for office noise. At the end of the day, I’ll change it over to music while I make dinner.
      Get a couple of plants, and name them.
      Play pretend, out loud. Transplant yourself somewhere else and let your imagination run wild. E.g. be the host of your own cooking show.

    • Calla says...

      Hmmm I’m trying to think of something concrete. I’m naturally introverted and have been living alone for years so don’t even remember how I made the transition. I guess I tend to host a lot. I love cooking for people so often have one or two friends over at a time for dinner or brunch. Fortunately I have an outdoor space so have been able to keep doing this during shelter in place.

      Other than that I would say don’t worry about it in advance, you might find that you enjoy your own company and don’t get as lonely as you think you will. Especially if you have some hobbies at home you enjoy. For me its cooking and baking while listening to music or podcasts. If you do feel a little lonely though I really recommend getting out and going for a walk. Oftentimes just being outdoors and seeing other people going about their lives is enough to get me out of a funk even if I’m not actually interacting with people.

  74. Rebecca says...

    I just moved into a studio too – welcome to the club! To create the feeling of being in separate spaces, I used rugs and different (but still complementary) color schemes in my “living room” (read: couch corner) and bedroom space. I used lighter earth tones in the bedroom, like dusty lavender and beige in the bedroom, and bolder colors in the living area. The way you orient furniture can also create separate spaces. I also have lots and lots of plants in here, and they somehow make it less lonely (something to care for, maybe?). Good luck! I can’t say how nice it feels to have a space that’s entirely my own.

  75. Daniela says...

    You are going to love your new home. I’ve only lived alone for a few months in my life and I truly adored it and it was such a fantastic experience; even though I didn’t live alone for a very long time it had a big impact on my life and I really advocate for everyone experiencing it. Even if it’s just for a week when your partner/roommate/whomever goes out of town!

    As for decor, my main tips are candles and plants. Everywhere. It has really made a difference in the coziness factor of our house.

    • Jo says...

      My best and only advice for cozying up a new place is take your time. In my first place, I was so eager to fill up space that I made (often cheap) purchases that I regretted, and then I had guilt about spending money AGAIN to replace them. In the home I’m in now, I slowed down and waited for the perfect affordable couch, rug, throw pillows… you get the idea. No one will notice or mind if you have some empty corners for awhile, but YOU’ll notice that ugly regrettable ottoman mocking you every night ?!
      Good luck and enjoy!

  76. Jessica says...

    Don’t feel obligated to have a couch or loveseat in your living area. I do just fine with a cozy chair, ottoman and a little side table. When others come over I bust out some stacking stools that are currently serving as a plant stand. Folding chairs also slip right in the back of the closet.

    • Calla says...

      Yes! Second the stacking stools! Ikea has really nice wood ones that I use as footstools, side tables, and extra seating. They also make little round pads so its not so uncomfortable when sitting through dinner

  77. Sophie says...

    On preventing the bed from becoming the ‘everything zone’: loft it! If it’s too high to flop onto casually, then you’ll be less inclined to do anything but “bedtime” things in bed. Plus, under-bed storage will really help reduce clutter.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Such a smart idea!! Thanks, Sophie! xo

  78. Ashley says...

    With school now being home school I just transitioned our guest room into a guest room/schoolroom. I built a Murphy bed and added a wall full of shelves. I can’t believe the space saved! The queen bed, when folded up, takes up 16” of floor space!

    Good Luck with the new apartment and congratulations!

    • Meredith says...

      Ashley, I’m so curious, how did you build a Murphy bed? Any tips or websites? We live in Europe where (shockingly for the small spaces) Murphy beds are not easy to find! We don’t like any versions we’ve seen so far but your post has inspired me…!

    • Ashley says...

      Meredith, I ordered a hardware kit from Amazon and found a plan online. The kit unexpectedly came with a plan too, including a cut list and a dvd (which I never actually watched!) You can certainly make the bed without the hydraulic hardware if you can physically lift it up and down unassisted.
      The hardest part was finding room to work on it and getting it upstairs!
      Anytime I hit a snag I looked on YouTube for tips.
      You do need a buddy to mount the bed on the wall.
      Good luck!! ❤️

      The plan:

  79. Constance says...

    I have lived alone for a year and a half or so, and will repeat what many others have said: to have a cozy and pleasant space, it’s all about lighting!!!! I have several small light sources all plugged into one powerstrip, so I just flip that on and my apartment has a disbursed warm glow instead of the glaring ceiling light.

    Also: get some good speakers, clean the kitchen and do all the dishes every night before bed, have a designated hook for your keys, and get to know your neighbors :)

  80. M says...

    Kim, that’s so exciting! Congratulations! I’m sure we’d all love to see your space when you’re settled. I have no advice because I’ve never lived on my own, but I’m looking forward to the day when I can. So, I’m happy to glean all the advice from the comments and live through you vicariously!

    P.S. Not to sound too worrywort, but if it really is sight unseen, I hope someone trusted was able to vet it for you! Just in case. :)

  81. my advice is don’t forget the vertical space — shelves, tall plants, and I second the suggestion for a tall bar height table (I used to have a tall round table with extra tall Captain’s chairs and my friends said it always felt they were at a fun bar at the beach!)

    • Katharine says...

      Vertical space, yes! Hanging curtains from just below the ceiling, rather than the window frames, made a HUGE impact on the vibe in my teeny tiny studio. It suddenly felt like a luxurious French hotel suite.

  82. Micah says...

    I was pretty lonely when I lived alone, but it was such a good experience for me!!! I learned a lot about myself and I learned HOW to be lonely :)

    Also, you could get a small coffee table with a lift top that functions as a dining table as well.

  83. H says...

    I’ve just returned from a slew of NYC apartment viewings this morning (considering moving just a few blocks from where I am now for the sake of a washer + dryer – an even bigger luxury during covid) – and have to say congratulations!

    I’ve never lived alone (straight from roommates to living with partner) but am the BIGGEST advocate for it, and if money were no object, 100% would. I really value having my own space, and even discuss with my partner that in the future if we can afford it, I’d love to have adjoining rooms or even small cottages. (I believe I saw a CoJ post years ago about a couple who does this, and have been inspired ever since.) I sometimes get reactions along the lines of “but if you love each other, don’t you want to be together ALLTHETIME?” which bums me out. OF COURSE WE DO, but also, we are individuals who really value space and time to ourselves to recharge.

    My biggest tip to up the cozy factor (which is well known and may not need repeating) is LIGHTING. My partner actually just moved out of an old place he had with roommates, and on his last night there, we brought a low-wattage lamp from his bedroom into the kitchen to play cards by. He was stunned – he said that last night was the first time (in 5 years!) he enjoyed sitting in his own kitchen, all because we had cozy lamp light vs. the glaring overhead. Many years post-grad, I’m still in camp “white holiday lights work year round,” but you do you!

    Also, furniture (e.g. a couch) can be great to break a large room into two, vs. putting everything against walls. This has worked really wonderfully for us to turn our large living room into a living room + office.

    And lastly (coming from someone who threw her back out last year) – hire movers to do the heavy lifting – you deserve it!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      H! I am absolutely hiring movers and signing up my boyfriend to do heavy lifting! :) Looking forward to testing out cozy lighting and seeing what works in the space! Thanks! xo

    • Tricia says...

      Yes to using furniture to break up a giant room! When I lived in a studio (also the first time I lived alone…and now have been for the past 13 years!), I had my bed in the corner, a small nightstand next to it, and then the couch parallel to the bed so that I had different “rooms.” Also second the earlier comment about a hightop table–it took me a couple years to get one, but it was great!

  84. DM says...

    Congrats! Living alone is awesome. As for your space, I have no doubt that you’ll be a natural at making your space cozy and comfortable just by being yourself and decorating with things you like. Thinking back to my first studio, it was all plants & books & bright colors & haphazard kitchen and completely wonderful.

  85. Katie S. says...

    First, congrats!!! Second, I cannot stress enough making your bed a place for JUST sleeping.
    Two years ago I developed insomnia and had to be prescribed Xanax. Through trial and error I found out I was actually just in my bed too much! Netflixing, snacking, phone calls,hanging out, etc. Now I keep almost nothing by my bedside so that it doesn’t turn into a ‘hangout’ spot. Just one bedside table, a book, my face cream, and an alarm clock – I won’t even bring my computer into bed. Now my body knows that if I’m in bed it’s time to sleep. Happy to say I have kicked the insomnia and the xanax which has been a true life changer.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Katie, this is GENIUS!! As someone who suffers from anxiety-induced insomnia from time to time, this is wonderfully helpful! Thanks! xo

    • Katie S. says...

      So happy to be of help, Kim!! I also fall asleep to the podcast Sleep With Me. Basically a very dull, monotonous guy talking about boring stuff. Sounds illy but it worked for me!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Yes! I’ve heard of this podcast and wanted to try it out! Thanks!

    • Paige R says...

      I second Sleep With Me! It’s gotten me through some really tough nights. Either I fall asleep (usually), or I don’t feel completely alone and anxious as I lay there in bed with insomnia.

  86. Vlastik says...

    Get good desk and file storage/drawer. And good work chair.
    Adjustable desk to raise to the standing would be amazing, but more expensive.
    Once you create/have good working space, you won’t consider using bed anymore.

  87. Jill says...

    Hi Kim! I feel very excited for you! Congratulations!
    If u can swing it, I would definitely recommend a Murphy bed. O my! Sweeeet! Virtual hugs.

  88. jane says...

    I once lived in a tiny studio – though it did have a tiny dining room/kitchen separated by french doors – but the living space was the only place for the bed. I used a twin bed with throw pillows along the long end against a wall so it looked like a couch during the day. I cannot function OR relax if the bed isn’t made upon waking – including weekends. Living in a tiny space makes that instantly apparent. It immediately makes you a grownup and is really good for mental health.

    And I prioritized a desk and wall unit/bookcase over other furniture. A giant carpet you love and can sit on with very nice floor cushions, several large lux plants and you’re good. Art on the walls or the bookcase is great as well.

    You will LOVE the sanctuary of living alone. Cherish your space and make it sacred. It will nourish your soul.

    • jdp says...

      this is all spectacular advice.

      also, it might sound muu-muu, but there’s a reason feng-shui works. it’s all about making a space seem roomier, calmer, happier, while also being all your own personal taste. i had never heard of it before moving into my first san francisco apartment, basically a bedroom with only a kitchen shared with one housemate, and have since picked a few of its practices — fresh flowers, plants, where to put this or that and why, how to keep things clutter free — and it always helps make a space feel great. ENJOY!

  89. Ll says...

    Check out IKEA! No but seriously – they are the king of small spaces and smart ideas. If you can fit in a couch or cozy armchair, do it. You’ll spend less time in bed and it is totally worth it. Have a small table, if foldable then awesome. Paint the walls, loads of plants, and more points of light than you first think you need (as in several small lamps) along with fabrics (rugs, curtains, pillows). You hade use fabric/curtains/foldable Wall-thingies to make your bed a bit hidden away. Storage, storage, storage. I used to live in this teeny tiny apartment, and had a bed with storage underneath which was a life saver. And no matter size of apartment my biggest tip is to not rush. Let it take time. Get the essentials and live there for a while before you decide on anything.

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      This is such great advice! I love the “get more lighting than you think you need” tip! So smart! Thanks, LL! xo

    • nora says...

      Fully agree with the IKEA and storage! My sister lives in a studio and uses an IKEA bookshelf to separate her bed and sleeping area from the rest of the apartment. It also prevents her from watching TV in bed and making that a multipurpose space.
      CONGRATS, Kim – enjoy – especially the washer and dryer!

  90. Janey says...

    Ha! I just guessed Edinburgh but actually I think you are right!

  91. Ashley says...

    Mazel tov! Get the biggest rugs you can afford — they’ll create room zones AND make it warm and cozy.

    • Morgan says...

      Room zones, great idea!

      Good luck with the move Kim – everyone is different but personally I ADORED living alone in a studio, I found out so many quirks about myself. And the odd-hours snacks and tv is definitely something to look forward to!! Enjoy it all ❤️

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s a great tip!

    • Justine says...

      Second this! I bought a super cheap rug on a whim from Amazon to zone my workspace from my sleeping space and it made a huge difference. Fortunately, this $78 CDN WHITE rug has totally stood up to daily use – I roll my desk chair over it a million times a day, I drop food on it and walk barefoot all over it. Its still WHITE. Like magic…

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      I never even thought about room zones with rugs! Thanks, Ashley! xo

  92. Caitlin says...

    One of my favorite parts of living alone was selecting whatever decor I liked. Since moving in with my partner, I’ve had to skip anything pink.

    I lived in a studio with a lofted area access with a library ladder. I slept there on a mattress on the floor. The ceiling was low and there were lots of spiders, but it felt like an adventure and I look back on that time fondly. Because I worked from home I liked having a separate sleeping space.

    My sister had a studio in NYC that she used Ikea wardrobes and shelving units to make a kind of dressing room that was adjacent to her bed. It looked amazing and was very functional. The shelves worked with fabric cube baskets that she could access from the bed side or from the wardrobe side. The top of the piece was low enough that it could be used for houseplants, a lamp, etc. She left those pieces for the next tenant because to take them apart and move them out would have been a huge undertaking.

    I’ve always thought a murphy bed would be so cool in a smaller space! I saw this article about a year ago and still think about it:

    • Emily says...

      I just moved into a small place with a lofted bed and it makes such a difference in creating a separate sleeping space! I wouldn’t have chosen it for myself, but I’m normally someone who does everything from her bed and unsurprisingly has trouble falling asleep. I can already feel the difference.

  93. Maria says...

    Congrats! I’ve been in my studio in Brooklyn for 2 years (first alone, then my boyfriend moved in) and while living in a small space has its frustrations, I’ve gotten used to it. The trade-off for me was larger space in a farther out neighborhood, or a smaller space in a neighborhood I love, and I don’t regret picking my little studio! Soooo jealous of your in-unit W/D though!!

    Definitely recommend getting multifunctional furniture that has storage. We got one of those huge wide dressers from Ikea and we stash a lot of our clothes in it, use it as our TV stand, and I keep plants on it. We also have the Ikea foldout Norden table that has more storage and serves as our console table when closed, dining table, and my boyfriend’s desk now that we’re both WFH.
    Also recommend looking at small space desks on furniture sites. I found mine on Pottery Barn who has a special “small spaces” section on their site. I think West Elm might have one too? I got the Windsor PB desk which was surprisingly inexpensive and has such a small footprint in my apt. And of course, has some more storage! My desk went ignored in the corner of my studio for a while, but now that I’m working from home, I am so glad to have it.

    Someone mentioned but highly recommend rugs! I picked two rugs that add some color and texture to my apt and also separate the “living space” aka couch and coffee table, from my bed and nightstand. It makes a big difference to zone out a couple of spaces. And lamps! I have brighter overhead lighting as well, but I love my lamp on my nightstand and it’s so nice to have a cozy glow at nighttime. I sound like an ad, but check “studio apartment” on Pinterest for more inspo too!

    Best of luck moving in and can’t wait for the home tour :)

  94. Jo says...

    Congratulations!! I lived alone in a tiny Beacon Hill studio in Boston and I look back on that time fondly as one of the best times of my life.

    I second the recommendations for easy plants (brings some nature and cheeriness in!) and separating spaces with area rugs. I’m so excited for you and all the late-night laundry/trash TV binging!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      it’s so fun to hear these comments from all the studio lovers!

  95. So excited for you. Right after my husband and I got married we moved into a 365 square foot BOX of a studio across the street from the hospital where I was working. It was a tough 2 years but at the end of it when we were told we had to move we really didn’t want to!

    Tall shelving units and rugs can easily divide up the space. I think this will be easier than you think since you mentioned the space is quite long to begin with. Warm lighting with the right kind of bulbs is key. I was working a lot of odd hours so we invested in heavy black out curtains and got fancy curtain rods using a wedding gift card; if sleep isn’t you’re issue you could still go for something light and gauzy. I really feel like the curtains made the space much more homey. People have also mentioned plants and I totally agree (if you can keep them alive…sadly I could not.)

    Ikea- so cliche but they know how to make functional and affordable furniture for small spaces. Best of luck! Can’t wait to see how your space turns out.

    • Georgia says...

      should be a *your where I wrote you’re issue…Oh dear :)

  96. Janey says...

    Congratulations!! I have such fond memories of moving into my first studio aged 18 in a brand new country, France. The most exciting time of my life.
    My suggestion would be get a dog (or cat) and you will never be lonely!
    Also where is the photo of because it looks exactly like Edinburgh, Scotland where I live?!

  97. Sara B says...

    I loved living in a studio! It was a little strange at first to be alone, but I grew to love it. I used my couch to help divide the room. I placed it with the back facing my bed and added a rug, coffee table, and flowers to make it feel like its own space. I hope you grow to love living alone!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Thanks, Sarah! I’m anxious to see if there will be room for a couch, if not then a big comfy chair! Thanks so much!

  98. Jade says...

    Congrats! Having your own place after roommates is so exciting and freeing!

    A few thoughts for you: 1) Make sure you create clear ‘rooms’ in your studio – by creating lines and dividers with your furniture. I would not recommend curtains or dividers because that will make the space feel smaller. 2) Color! Enjoy decorating and creating fun accents for each of your spaces. 3) Always make your bed – no matter what you do, the first thing you should do is make your bed every day. This will help you feel a bit organized AND make it less tempting to turn it into a catch all.

    Good luck!

  99. M says...

    Congratulations! I lived alone in a lovely tiny studio apartment for three years. My one “pro tip” is to get a bar-height dinner table. It made the place feel bigger because I could see *under it* when I was lying on my bed, allowing an unobstructed view to all the windows. It also doubles as a standing desk! (Maybe with a textbook or two to adjust the height.)

  100. Naomi says...

    Washer and dryer in unit???!!! This is what my dreams are made of!!! Congrats!

  101. Luce says...

    Shout out to the photo which I’m pretty sure is the wonderful west end of Glasgow! Toot toot!

    • I thought that too! I saw the preview and thought “Is she moving to Glasgow???”

  102. Morgan says...

    Kim! So exciting! If you are looking for visually pleasing yet functional ways to break up a space, I really recommend bookshelves, the open ones that you can access from both sides. Use them for books, of course, but also plants, your favorite mugs, or (depending on where in your home you use it) really handy sweaters/jeans/shoe storage. Free-standing screens, like a Japanese screen, are also so beautiful, and can be modular to move around depending on the day. Area rugs also really create a space, so if you have one open room that you are trying to make feel like two or three separate spaces, area rugs will really help with that!! Best of luck!

  103. Mallory says...

    Congrats on your own place! I lived in a studio for 5 years with my partner (and 1 year with our first kid too – gah! don’t recommend). Other folks have mentioned these ideas too, but here’s what we did:
    – use rugs to create zones
    – we used an ikea ceiling mounted track to hang a filmy curtain between the bed and living space. you can pull it back if you want but helps to divide the spaces
    – we took the doors off a closet and put our desk in there to create an office nook
    – plants, candles, throw blankets and art for the homey vibes!

    • Chiara says...

      I second these! Especially the rugs to create zones and a curtain set up around the bed (also lived in a studio with my partner until very recently). We used theatre/set curtain stands that easily came together and were size-adjustable. Also, treat that space like a bedroom (don’t work from the bed, etc.) so that it’s easy to settle down and relax at night!

  104. Erin says...

    How exciting, congrats! For a long narrow space, the style of bookshelves that can be accessed from either side (I think IKEA has them?) make good room dividers. You can use them to sort-of divide off a sleeping or living area without completely blocking the light. Have fun getting everything set up.

  105. Nectar Shakir says...

    Ah! My roommate dropped the bomb 3 days ago that he’s moving out SEPT 1.
    So alas, I’m currently looking for my own place in Brooklyn for the first time too!

    If you can tell me how you were able to navigate finding an apartment? I see you said yes to just photos on here, but how easy was it for you to find your perfect spot? I’m relying on videos, or being able to just peak into apartments during this pandemic and it’s stressing me out!

  106. Ellie says...

    I would suggest an Ikea Kallax bookcase (the big 5×5 cube one or the 4×4) to divide the bed area from the living area:
    Not only will this create rooms and maybe prevent you from collapsing onto the bed for all things, but the open on both sides aspect allows light to pass through while also providing lots of storage. You can also buy inserts that turn a single cube into 2 drawers or a cabinet for closed storage across the bottom 1-2 rows.

    Mackenzie from Design Darling has some great studio inspiration from years ago: (check out other posts on her blog)
    And this one always inspires me, even if just for layout:

    If you already have bookshelves or other ideas, a folding decorative screen can also be pretty and help create zones.

    Beyond this, Pinterest is a wealth of inspiration and tips, especially since so many influencers live in cities like SF and NYC where small spaces abound :)

    Please keep us posted on your plans!

  107. Su says...

    I’m a big fan of cubical curtains (medical curtain). Floor to ceiling curtains on a track that you can keep open but then maneuver them around your bed or however you want to divide or hide your space.

  108. Hi Kim! I’ve lived in two studios for the past 3 years and honestly you just gotta lean into the feeling of it all being one room. Space dividers cut light and can make it feel smaller, use rugs and art instead!

    To avoid using your bed all day, buy a comfy (and cute) sofa! I have the Floyd loveseat and I spend all day on it, and never think about moving over to my (extremely comfortable) bed. You just kind of have to decide this space is for the day and this space is for sleeping, and stick to it.

    As for making it cozy, slowly buy / stoop / thrift pieces you love. If you buy it all at ikea in one fell swoop, it makes it less sentimental (in my experience). I’m a little neurotic and decided i’d only bring pieces in that are blue, pink, or yellow, and it has made it feel very cohesive.

    I have some photos on my instagram ( of my studio if you’re interested. Also, I am an interior designer and I’d be happy to talk to you one on one if you need any help! I’m covid unemployed and very bored, you’d be doing me a favor!

  109. Lorraine says...

    Congratulations! I lived in a studio by myself for 3 years and I can remember that joyful day when I moved in – so absolutely elated! I’m excited for you. This was in Brooklyn, and for me the sound of foot traffic out my front windows made me feel less alone. It was the perfect amount of people for me at the time, actually!

    Lighting helps a ton – as people mentioned, fairy lights are great for coziness. I never felt like I was in one big bedroom and I think lighting had a lot to do with it. Using brighter lights during busier hours, and then warm dim lamp light for evenings – as you would anywhere really – kind of just changed the personality of the studio throughout the day. Ah, enjoy! :)

    • jane says...

      I love the idea of fairy lights but they usually look so messy. The best way I’ve seen them displayed is behind a couple layers of sheer fabric. I used an oiled paper floor lamp and a side-table lamp.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “Using brighter lights during busier hours, and then warm dim lamp light for evenings – as you would anywhere really – kind of just changed the personality of the studio throughout the day. ” = such a great tip!

    • Samantha says...

      smart lightbulbs are a great solution for this- you can even put them on a timer to dim at certain times of day, or change the hue of the light. my living room lamp goes on at 5 PM (so it’s on when i get home from work, under normal circumstances) and dims the brightness/warms up the hue at 8:45 PM as a signal to start winding down for bed.

  110. Laura says...

    Congratulations! A washer and dryer in unit is such a win :) I loved my time living alone. I would suggest a comfy recliner chair (the one I’m sitting in writing this comment is pretty sleek and looks just like a regular chair when not in recliner mode, so recliner doesn’t have to mean mammoth sized lol)…it will take less space when not in use, but so comfortable for when you do use!

  111. Amanda says...

    Hi Kim!
    Hooray! Congratulations to you and it will be fun to hear more about your journey on CoJ!

    I want to signal boost what other commenters have said: plants! Easy to care for plants like sansevieria (snake plant) and hanging plants will bring nature in, give you something to care for, and – hopefully – give you joy. Even though I live with my family, I derive so much pleasure from watering my indoor plants and talking to them. They are truly living beings with personality!

    A huge inspiration is Hilton Carter:

    Let us know how it goes!

  112. NW says...

    How exciting and congratulations!

    My tips would be:
    – ‘Zone’ your living area vs sleeping area with rugs, if you can’t divide with a freestanding bookcase or shelving unit (get the one with no back to it, to allow light through the spaces)
    – Go big on your artwork. Splurge on a large piece you absolutely love BECAUSE THIS IS YOUR PLACE, you don’t have to compromise (ugh) with anyone!

    Unfortunately I cannot help with how to separate your bed from your workspace – months of lockdown, an actual house and I’m still doing it. Have a sneaking suspicion it involves discipline…

  113. Shona says...

    How exciting! Congratulations!! I’m ancient (almost 49) and have been cohabiting with my family for what seems like forever, but I will never forget the delight of having my own place for the first time. At last, the only dishes in the sink were MINE, and my responsibility. If the floors were dirty, it was my problem and my choice to clean. If I wanted to wear underwear around, or nothing at all, fine! It too was a studio, with lots of light. A table and chairs for dining was key, and that made everything kind of come together. Bed space was perfect for lounging and TV watching, but it was important to carve out an area that was for eating, drinking, and “entertaining.” I don’t remember ever feeling lonely, as I was so delighted to make my own decisions about how, when, and where to see people. And having privacy with a new boyfriend (now my husband) was crucial and wonderful. I’m so happy for you and your new impending adventures–particularly at a time when adventures seem so few and far between. xoxoxo

  114. MacleanNash says...

    Such exciting news!
    The first place I lived by myself was mayyybe 450 sqft and I loved it!
    Things I learned:
    – to make sure it feels cozy, have different textures! Maybe a shag rug, or a cowhide-esq carpet. Maybe a nice throw on the end of your bed? Funky light fixtures, different colour pallets, art work, etc. Not only will these things help to make your space feel homey, they can also help separate spaces. It’s great that you don’t NEED to invest in curtains, but those are also a great way to simultaneously add texture and make your space feel bigger. When I did this, I bought inexpensive white tulle ones from IKEA and I have used this trick for years!
    – To avoid eating in bed and also being able to have dates over/small dinner parties, I had a small IKEA table that could fold down to maximize space and it also had drawers for more storage.
    – When I felt lonely, I would blast tunes! Inevitably, I would end up dancing around my place and in front of the mirror! It immediately boosted my mood and it always reminded me that I wouldn’t have done that had roommates been around.
    – I have a hard time parting with books, so I refurbished two ladder bookshelves. For books that had similar colour spines I would partner them all up on a shelf. For the remaining books that did not having colour matching spines, I would face the pages out. Again, this added texture and it also helped make my shelves look more “clean”.
    – Get a plant! This was something I resisted for so long because one way or another, I end up killing plants. But, I got a cactus that can go MONTHS without me thinking about watering it, and it adds character to every space! Years later, I still have her and she is thriving!

    Big congrats to you and my fingers are crossed we will see a post on your new space in the future!

  115. Jess says...

    Congratulations Kim!! This isn’t so much about living alone, but I live in a tiny space with another person and two medium sized dogs, so we have to really thoughtful about how we choose to decorate and arrange things. I definitely second what everyone else has said about using rugs to break up the space and create “rooms”, and using some kind of shelf separator to make a bedroom – the IKEA kallax shelves are really good for this, and not too crazy expensive. Also, we have this fold-down desk and it has been a freaking godsend during COVID, especially now that we’re both working from home!!

    For coziness, definitely plants and treat yourself to some nice-smelling candles. :) <3 <3

  116. Maria says...

    Hi Kim!
    Congratulations! I was also intimidated to live alone and it might be one of the best parts of 2020! I separate my bed from the rest of the space with bookshelf/cubby (IKEA) that also doubles as a dresser. I made it a point to only sleep and do intimate things in my bed and nothing else! This helps with sleep! Plants and rugs are a must!
    I became very fond of “spa nights” treating myself to a face mask and wine with a good book or TV show. During quarantine, I did plenty of online workout classes in my studio too. Have a close friend over for dinner, alone time is great but socialization is also very important too.
    Can’t wait to see what you do with the space! Also, love COJ’s tiny apartment tours!! So much inspiration!

  117. Laura says...

    Living alone is the best. Since working from home full time since March, I made a few adjustments to my 400 square foot Brooklyn apt (it does have pocket doors that separate the bedroom and living area which is so nice): I got a real [used/free] dining table (and a couple new dining chairs) to double as a desk and that has had reeaaallly improved my work life and mealtimes. I try to stay in my living area quadrant during work hours. If I had a true studio, I think I’d have fun hunting for a rattan room-divider since that’s my current aesthetic and would try to visually block off the bed from the rest of the space. I had fun having a mostly fresh start with furniture and decor in my current apartment and splurged for a Joybird loveseat that has a twin bed. I kinda regret that I didn’t just try to fit in a full-size sofa instead of trying to save space, because a full-size sofa would be comfier for me every day, dinner guests etc. Over the door (inside and outside the closet door, bathroom door, laundry door, inside kitchen cabinets on the doors) organization has been my friend. Have funnnn!

  118. Mallory says...

    I moved into my own tiny studio two years ago. I think the key to not feeling lonely is to leave your apartment everyday. Even in the coldest of South Dakota winter days, I made a point to at least walk for a cup of coffee. I also highly recommend rearranging your space regularly until you find how you best live in the space. The best thing I purchased for my first solo place was a chair to sit in by the window. People watching is really the best.

  119. Rezia says...


    My tip is that lighting makes a huge difference- yellow/pink lights give a more homey feel, blue/white lights are more clinical. Definitely take the time to play around with your lights (swap out bulbs if necessary) and make sure you have ample lighting in your apartment!

  120. b says...

    Congratulations, Kim! It has been a dream of mine to live alone and I’m hoping to make it a reality in the next year and a half. I would say lots of candles and cozy blankets for curling up on winter nights to read or watch television. I like Burlap Bag for candles – lots of great, not overpowering, scents and they last forever; they also have a subscription option. I really want a weighted blanket, but those run in the $450 range so that’s going to have to wait.

    • Kara says...

      I have a Bearaby weighted blanket that was $250. It’s a beautiful knit, and I highly recommend!

    • Quinn says...

      I’ll second the Bearaby recommendation! I got a Nappling (it’s narrower, but less expensive and perfect for one person) at the start of the pandemic and I’ve slept so much better with it – plus it’s perfect for curling up with a book.

  121. Jenn says...

    I’m so excited for you! Living alone and feathering your nest to suit only yourself is such a treat and special moment in your life.

    I feel like the “Tiny Space” tours by Apartment Therapy on YouTube are a great way to source ideas for creating separate spaces in a studio. I love watching them even though it doesn’t apply to my life at all.

    Think about colors and textures that make you feel happy and comfortable and cozy and you’ll be able to find them in little pieces for your new place.

    And fingers-crossed that sometime soon (please, universe!) you can have a housewarming that will fill it with good vibes.


  122. Meredith says...

    Hi Kim! I live in a studio apartment, and I love it! Having my own space at an affordable price more than makes up for the lack of a separate bedroom. My biggest piece of advice to anyone moving into a studio is to take some time to experience your life “in the space” before making final decisions about furniture and layout. Get your bed/bathroom/kitchen set up right away, and then play around with hypothetical layouts on paper or with an app before you arrange the rest of the space. After looking at a lot of studio tours on Apartment Therapy, I ended up putting an Ikea Kallax bookshelf in front of my bed to create the illusion of a wall between my sleeping space and my living space without blocking too much light. It works really well, and it also gave me a ton of additional storage. Creating zones within the studio in this way makes it feel less like a giant bedroom and more like a home. Finally, since everything is basically “on display” at all times, I was very careful to consider both form and function with every item I brought into my apartment. Cultivating this mindset has also helped me to curb any temptation to over-spend or buy things on impulse that I don’t really need, since I don’t have space for random bric-a-brac, which is a great side benefit. Enjoy your new home!

  123. Michaela Pavone says...

    I’ve lived with a roommate and then moved into a 170 sq ft. studio back-to-back before moving in with my boyfriend (yes, something THAT small exists as a living space). Speaking for myself, I LOVED living on my own – no roommate mess to gripe about, I could watch TV as long and as late into the night as I wanted, and the kitchen was mine to use whenever I wanted. I found that those pros and more made it worth the switch.

    My suggestion for designating separate space in a studio:
    -Designate your furniture for specific activities. If you have a couch that you use to sit and watch TV, read, or chill. If you have a table, use that for meals and WFH, etc. Your brain will habituate and you’ll less likely use your bed as a catch-all for activities.

    For coziness:
    -Decorate with repurposed Christmas lights/fairy lights, buy some plants, and decorative pillows and shaggy blankets dress up a couch or bed for max coziness. A throw rug also does wonders!
    -When I lived alone, I hung the many Polaroids of my loved ones all over the place. It was nice waking up and seeing my parents next to me, or heading to the kitchenette and looking at my dogs’ while making tea.

    Hope these help – enjoy your new space and stay safe!!

  124. Lee says...

    I’ve never lived in a studio, but my spouse and I have lived in our share of tiny apartments. My recommendations would be:
    1) plants, books, and candles for coziness
    2) Ikea Grundtal rails for pots & pans + their magnetic knife block is a great space saver
    3) a small kitchen table you can also use as a desk
    4) don’t underestimate the power of “custom” additions to your space–like an extra shelf in the closet or wall bookshelves in that awkward corner

  125. Gerry Lopez says...

    Hello Kim!!
    I’m so happy for you and congrats! I have a small space as well. I love the apartment therapy article on on small space furniture.\:
    I purchases a small desk, so it can allow me to to have a sense of separation despite the fact it is right next to my desk. And, I don’t eat meals in my bedroom but at my small kitchen to help, lol.

  126. marcella says...

    so exciting!! i have lived alone for 2 years and it’s been such a learning experience. when i first moved out of my parents house and into my studio i set the fire alarm off the first night making frozen pizza and started crying thinking what am i even DOING??? but i got over it and am now a better cook, ha! a couch REALLY made it feel more homey, and also a separate place to nap! the freedom of living alone is liberating, at least for an INTJ like me i would love coming home from work and not having to talk to anyone!! or share a bathroom!! or have anyone judge me if i watched tv on the couch til 8 pm! although you can easily slide into slob territory.. lol. my most hated chore is the dishes.. i’m working on it :)

    • b says...

      Oh no! In my first apartment, which I shared with my brother, I was baking one day and had to melt butter. I overdid it in the microwave and there was melted butter sprayed all over the ceiling for the last two years we lived in that apartment.

    • Definitely recommend a wall divider, shelving unit, or curtain (a la Carrie in Sex and the City!) To divide the bedroom from the rest, especially if it is a long, railroad space where the bed can be all the way at the back.

      Agree with the comment that says to add fairy lights! My living room doesn’t get much light but it makes it so cozy! Also, find some art you love and put it up! Stuff on the wall instantly makes places more like home. (But I’m an artist so maybe my opinion is biased ?)

      Hoping you share photos when you get it all together!

  127. Emily says...

    Hi! I’ve lived in a brooklyn studio for over 5 years, and my best piece of advice is to use furniture and rugs to create “zones” (i.e. a zone for sleeping, one for eating/cooking, one for lounging). Also, not sure how much of a minimalist you are when it comes to your belongings but less really is more! Display the things that are really special to you and get rid of the rest. A good way to break up one big studio space is with a bookcase that you can see through, like the classic Billy from IKEA. It’s great for storage (any time you can add vertical storage is a plus!) but still lets light pass through both sides, helping the space to still feel open. Good luck with the move!

  128. isabelle says...

    Living alone is incredible! I dread the day my solo living comes to an end, if it ever does. I love not dealing with other people’s mess or noise inside my space, and I get to decorate exactly how I like. I can wake up on a Saturday morning and decide to rearrange all the furniture or watch reality TV for eight hours straight or eat a steak dinner for breakfast. I tend to keep things clean, but I could leave my laundry on the floor for days and nobody would complain. It’s not to say you can’t do those things with a partner or a roommate but there is something about that complete freedom and not needing to explain yourself to anyone!

    Making a small space feel cozy is easy! Don’t rush it, but as you settle in you’ll figure out where you want your furniture to go. I like sitting by my windows to get some sun, especially now that I’m stuck inside without any outdoor space. A curtain or divider might be nice near the bed. Otherwise just feel it out and add whatever touches feel homey to you – plants, textiles, artwork, etc.

  129. Congratulations! As someone that has lived on my own for over a decade, I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do! My biggest tip for making a space feel cozy is having music/podcast/radio on in the background. I find that whenever I’m sitting in silence, it’s easy to get caught up in my head or whatever I’m scrolling through on my phone and before I know it forty minutes have passed. Having the outside noise to keep me from getting sucked into my phone is such a huge help and makes my space feel homey.

    I bought a Tivoli Bluetooth radio for my kitchen a few years ago and love having it set on my favourite local radio station but also being able to play spotify through it. It has been very helpful, especially now that I’m home almost….well always haha

    When I wake up in the morning, I also chromecast some music from my phone to my tv in the living room that helps bring the space to life and makes it easier to leave my bed.

    Good luck with the move! I’m moving at the end of the month myself and cannot wait for it to be over.

    • Lily says...

      I also have lived alone for a long time (not quite a decade, but close) and I love it, but I’m taking notes; this is such good advice! With no one’s needs but my own to shape my time around, I don’t always have the willpower to pull myself out of time-eating habits (phone scrolling, internet rabbit-holes. TV! …who’s to stop me from watching the entire series at once?) The right balance between self-discipline and indulgence is hard to find. It’s easy to get a little lazy and it’s easy to get stuck in your own head. Which is fine! But it helps to have tricks to pull yourself back into the world.

      Oh: having a dog helps!

  130. Britt says...

    Congratulations Kim! A washer and dryer inside the unit is a steal.

    I second the foldable wall. It’s how I create my work from home office and grad school space for Zoom meetings inside a 100 sq ft space. And there are some great couches with pull out beds out there that are functional and cute, without a college student feel.

    Good luck with the move!!!

  131. London says...

    This isn’t helpful but I’m just so happy for you! Starting in a new place (solo!) is like opening a present: you don’t know what is in it yet but it is magical and exciting. This is a first kiss! A big change! Powerful!

    (Although one helpful thought is that I put my studio bed in the furthest corner from the kitchen to keep it from feeling like all one bedroom, even though… it was.)

  132. Meg says...

    I lived in a very tiny studio in San Francisco for 5 years before moving in with my now husband. I remember being very nervous to live alone (in such a small space), but I LOVED it!! I am a firm believer that everyone should live alone for a bit if they can. You learn so much about yourself and being self-reliant. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything!

    There are so many ways to make a studio functional and with the “small living” trend, there are great resources available too! Apartment Therapy is a great resource. They spotlight a lot of studios from real people with amazing tips.

    A few tips I learned through the years:
    1) Rugs are a great way of separating one room into different living spaces.
    2) No matter how small, create a little seating area of some kind. It makes guests feel more comfortable when they come over and it feels less like hanging out in a dorm room. For the first few years, I had two swivel chairs and a side table in between to create a living room. I later found a vintage settee that worked as a very small couch.
    3) Stools and benches are your friend! They can be tucked away into a closet or the corner of a room, but function as a coffee table or a place to sit a drink or extra seating when you have people over.
    4) You don’t need nearly as much cookware or utensils as you think. I love to cook, but with a tiny kitchen you have to be creative. You don’t need tons of pots, pan, and gadgets to make amazing food. I also had a cutting board cut to the size of my stove so when I wasn’t using the stove (and it was completely cool!), it could double as a work space or serving station.
    5) When you are purchasing furniture, go for the pieces that have drawers or added storage. Instead of an open nightstand, opt for one with a few doors for extra storage. Opt for a bed frame that allows for more under-the-bed storage. You’ll end up using every once of space you have, so there’s no point in wasting valuable space with furniture that doesn’t serve multiple purposes!
    6) If you can squeeze it in, a small table and a chair or two in the kitchen will keep you from eating every meal from your bed. It took me longer than I care to admit to figure that one out!

    Enjoy solo living! It’s scary and intimidating at first, but it’s so rewarding – you will love it!

  133. Emily L says...

    Exciting! When I lived in a studio I bought a long, low bookshelf and put plant on the top of it to create a “bedroom” that was separate from my living/dining area.

  134. Brigette says...

    I love living is buildings with history so when I lived alone that meant a few studios or extra small bungalows. Using shelving as a room divider is great for small spaces (see Ikea hacks), filling them with your favorite books, candles, baskets for the extra storage you’ll need, and photos helps to keep the space warm, make your bed it’s own, and reduce clutter.

    I would also suggest a poof or extra pillows, great to make it feel cozy and when friends visit (one day) and you need extra seating.

    Also finding a small desk or table helps to designate a “work” space.

    Ultimately, you’re own personality will shine through and fill the space cuz it’s all your own. Enjoy it!

  135. Ashley says...

    First of all, I think the number one piece of advice I like to give people is that you might feel really lonely in the beginning. It was very much what I wanted but there was a huge adjustment, still. Be kind with yourself and honest with your friends. That time will pass.

    Second, it will take time. I changed the furniture configuration in my studio THREE TIMES in the first year. Give yourself time to live in the space a little. You’ll figure out what you need to really make it your own space. When I first moved in I wanted floor pillows but as time went on I realized I actually wanted an armchair to read/craft in.

    Then, make each space it’s own. Even though that armchair is a foot away from the bed they are both different spaces to me. In my studio I, for the first time in my entire life, started to make my bed daily. I think that’s huge. It won’t feel like a giant bedroom at all once it all comes together.

    I also have lots of lighting and I don’t just rely on the overhead light. I think that helps make it feel more cozy. I have a small lamp that sit on a dresser and also a floor lamp and sometimes those are the only lights on.

    This was so much haha but I wanted to get it all out bc I used to see the studios on apartment therapy and get all this pressure, “oh my layout isn’t like that” or “I don’t have a couch that nice, I don’t even want a couch what do I do? ” and “gosh, no one is talking about the emotional adjustment. Is this normal?”

    Can’t wait to hear how it turns out, Kim! Congrats!!!

    • marcella says...

      second that!! it is a bit lonely at first but then you get used to it. thoughts would also pop into my head sometimes like “if i fall and hit my head in the shower.. how long will it take someone to find me??” lol. at one point i did get accidentally stuck in my bedroom and had to call maintenance, but they couldn’t get in because the front door was deadbolted. i was able to pry the door open, you learn to problem solve living alone!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this is all such great advice xoxo

  136. Andrea says...

    Tell us more about this gorgeous photo!

  137. I also live in a studio, although it is shaped more like a box than a bowling alley. After 10 different configuration attempts (I am a home stager, so it is in my blood to rearrange) I’ve landed on my best solution.

    For a 2 in 1 space, I faced my bed away from the “living room”, with the footboard against the wall. My sofa’s back lays against the back of my VERY tall headboard, creating a semi “wall” to divide up the rooms. This set up has relieved a lot of that “walking directly into your bedroom” feeling studio living can amplify.

    Pro tip: if you have multiple entrances to your studio (I have a front and back door), blocking off one entrance to be used as more wall space can greatly increase the functionality of the room. My front door is blocked by hanging + floor plants, and a lot of books!

  138. Anna says...

    Well, I don’t have anything terribly constructive to say about design, but now we must have a Kim Rhodes apartment tour post!
    Congratulations on your new home. The joy of living alone is REAL. You can be as fancy as you want, or eat dinner in your underwear in bed… and no one can judge you!
    Regarding winter, I can say this: I live in Canada, in a particularly cold part where our winters are looooong. The key for me is lighting candles, lots of them, when I get home. And investing in some colour-changing bulbs where I can adjust the hue to make it bright and cheerful, or warm and cozy, depending on what I need. Or put it on ‘party mode’ where it flashes every colour, and dance my heart out.

  139. Sophie Olejnik says...

    First of all, huge congratulations! What a thrill to have your very own space to live in and love.

    For decor, I have recently been searching tambour screens like crazy! I’d love one to provide some separation in our living area (dining, kitchen, living – basically a studio without a bed). I think something like this could ensure that your bed doesn’t become a makeshift sofa/table and, you can move it around the space as you wish. It’s a super chic mid-century piece of furniture that can move through life with you!

    Good luck on the move.


  140. Elaine Tran says...

    My only advice is…there’s really no checklist as to what you “must” have in YOUR space. Be it traditional areas (living area, dining area, etc.) or items. Do what feels best and allow things only into your space if they work for you.

  141. Mary says...

    Hi Kim, first time studio dweller since March 1st (so I’ve only known pandemic solo living life!) and I’d say absolutely get a plant or two. Having another “living” thing has helped me :) and I was by no means a plant person before this.

    Also, my studio was big enough for a couch in addition to the bed and I’m so grateful to have a non-bed place to sit. I got TV tray tables that fold up and eat off the couch (I have two, so it’s even fine for a guest to join!). I was able to use (cheap, from amazon!) area rugs to distinguish between the “living room” and “bedroom” parts of the room.

    Finally, wall sconce lighting! If your landlord allows, hanging up scones to give more light and a really homey feel without stealing any floor space was another game changer for me. I have one on either side of my bed and one next to my couch in addition to one other standing lamp to really warm the place up.

    I have found a good book to be the best company during these lonely times. Good luck!

  142. Mom of Boys says...

    Some of my loneliest moments were when I was with others. Being alone doesn’t mean you’ll be lonely. You strike me as someone who loves alone time. Reading a book. Watching a movie. Working on a project. Lean into the alone time and you won’t be lonely. Congrats on the big move. I think you’ll love it.

    Oh and my suggestion is to make sure you have a cozy place to sit (not your bed) where you can soak in some winter sunlight or where you can watch the snow fall. I love comfy couches facing outwards, towards windows, not inwards.

  143. Tiffany says...

    Hi Kim! Congrats!!
    As a fellow Brooklynite (I am also about to move at the beginning of September to a place with laundry – albeit in the basement, but no more schlepping to the laundromat!) moving to your OWN place is very exciting.
    Does your studio have an alcove at all? or somewhere you plan to tuck your bed, or is it all one big room? My first apartment was a studio but with an alcove. If it is just boxy, i’d suggest putting up some sort of divider that doubles as storage as well. Ikea has some boxy modular type things that I think work well to divide a space but also be usable.
    I would also put my bed on one side of the space and other things (couch, desk etc) on the other side of the space if possible. Another thing I realized to make the room not just my entire bedroom was not put the TV facing the bed exactly, so I’d have to sit on the couch to watch instead of laying in bed all the time lol. Good luck you got this!!

  144. Joyce says...

    Big congratulations, Kim!!! In unit washer and dryer?! A dream!! No advice other than…enjoy!!

    Also, could this be the perfect time to adopt a cat or two? ;) [Though I do admit litter-box placement in NYC is tricky!] Good luck with the move! xoxo.

  145. Julie says...

    I lived by myself for almost six years before my wife, then girlfriend moved in with me. She too lived alone before we moved in together. And may I just say, CONGRATS! It may be scary and you may be nervous about being lonely (which, you will be at some point), but I LOVED living alone. Someone recently asked us both about it and we both eagerly told our friend how great it was. Sometimes I still miss it. So I am jealous already and I cannot wait to see what you do with your new space (if you decide to share!)

    I would recommend using rugs to make different areas feel more defined so it doesn’t feel like one big room. I’ve seen folks use free standing cube bookshelves to divide the bedroom from the rest of the space. More storage! Defined bedroom! Sometimes I like perusing websites like West Elm for their small space storage ideas for inspiration.

    Best of luck Kim! Living alone is a dream and I felt like I grew so much as a person and when I finally lived with someone again, I carried with me the power and knowledge that I was a full person who could do many things alone.

  146. Anne says...

    Congratulations!!! I’ve been living by myself now for 5 years in two different apartments, and previously lived alone for two years before some roommated years. In most ways, I love it, though COVID has messed with that a bit…

    About making small spaces homey, I actually think it is easier to make a small space feel homey rather than a bigger space. When I looked around my small apartment and just everything in it reflected me, I felt very very homey. Since it is your apartment, you get to decide everything! Which is great!

    I love hardwood floors, but I think rugs and plants for me are the things that make a space feel cozy/homey quickly. Oh, and books. Not only is it nice to have softness under your feet, but having soft surfaces means that the sound doesn’t echo as much, and reduces weird noises from other apartments, which helps me a lot. Nothing like having a bunch of weird noises when you’re alone in an apartment to make you feel alone and freaked out.

    In terms of not feeling like one giant bedroom, zone-rugs can help with that too. Mainly, I would say don’t rush to fill the space with furniture, and make sure you try some things out! Oh, and consider a murphy bed. They are waaayyyy better these days than they used to be, and you can find them in a ton of different styles to suit your style. I like the horizontal ones a lot, you get a nice shelf on top where you can put plants and trinkets and stuff, and it means you aren’t having to reach up quite so high (but that’s just me I’m short…).

    Sorry for the word vomit, I’m so excited for you and I hope you love it! (Also, I hope to see a tour whenever you’re ready!)

  147. Emily says...

    When I moved into my first solo place I was afraid of being lonely and having no accountability about mess… But I have NEVER looked back and am so happy to report that:
    1) I can still have people over *in covid-safe ways, now, so porch time or digitally* and be just as much in contact as I want to be. I love my own company and I’m not lonely just because I live alone.
    2) It’s actually a pleasure to tidy up for *me* and not because I’m afraid a roommate is going to be mad at my mess. Yeah, sometimes it’s a mess, but I still straighten up and it’s all about my own desire to, not worry about someone else.

    So I love living alone and I’m stoked for you to experience it too!

  148. Veronica Ma says...

    How exciting, Kim! I would suggest creating designated “spaces” by using furniture to separate. Couches, shelves, chairs, rugs, art work, lighting, and side tables can really help with this. I also like thinking about my needs within the space and making those a priority, with flexibility in mind. This will naturally help prevent your bed from being all various spaces. There are so many great small space solutions now, I cannot wait to see what you come up with. Good luck!

  149. Christina says...

    To make it cozy I would suggest fairy lights, tealights, plants, rugs, pillows and other textiles.

    If possible, use a foldable wall (no idea what those are called in English, sorry!), curtains or bookshelves (if there is enough space) around your bed to create a room in the room.

    Congratulations to your own space!