Living & Working in a Studio Apartment


Some lucky people need little more than a lap and laptop to accomplish their work. Most of us require a bit more, so it can be a challenge to carve out efficient work space in a one-room studio. The first step is to pick one area and designate it for work. Why? Studies indicate having a specified work area increases focus, concentration and efficiency.

To leverage every inch, consider different approaches:
•    Dedicate an entire wall to work and storage. Choose a mix of shelves and cabinets to hold equipment, records and supplies, and add a long desk or work surface. This approach helps you neatly confine to one wall a generous amount of work and storage space.
•    Convert a closet into a work nook if you have alternative storage for clothing and other essentials. This option has the added advantage that it uses non-living space, and when your day is done, you can close the “office” doors to put papers and equipment out of sight and mind.
•    Divide the space into zones and group furniture by function. Put all work-related components and furniture in the work zone, cluster the couch, dining table and TV in the social-living space, and position the bed to create a defined sleep zone. Use area rugs or place some components perpendicular to the wall to physically define the zones.
Once you’ve picked a work area, determine what furniture and configurations will help you make the most of the space. Options include:
•    Expandable work surfaces. Overflow is inevitable with certain tasks. To expand your primary work surface, consider desks with retractable extensions or dropdown leaves. As an alternative, invest in a drop leaf or gate-leg table that doubles as a dining surface. Look for one that requires minimal floor space, is versatile enough to use on a day-to-day basis and extends to provide an additional work surface when you need it.
•    Wall-mounted desks. There are a variety of wall-mountable fold down tables in the marketplace and a few are specifically designed to function as desks. Most look like shallow wall-mounted cabinets when closed, but the front panel drops down to reveal shelves, storage cubbies and a compact but functional work surface.
•    Fold-out desks. If you want a defined work area for occasional use, consider one of the freestanding armoires that incorporates a built-in or fold-out work surface. There are numerous configurations, but most offer storage for equipment and supplies, and when these units are closed, they resemble a traditional armoire.
•    Space-optimizing furniture. Multipurpose furniture is a good solution if space is at a premium. Several companies make cabinets that hold a full-sized, fold-down bed for sleeping and a spacious foldout table for work or dining. Some also include built-in storage, installed lighting and handy power outlets.Sleek, adult loft beds are another option. Some feature built-in desktops and shelves, cupboards and drawers. Others are basically bunk beds on stilts with room below for a desk and storage components. Both styles pack an impressive amount of work and sleeping space into the same compact footprint.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Use your ingenuity, combine strategies and make well-considered furniture choices to craft an all-in-one studio that suits both your work and life styles.