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By Alden Monger

There are many different ways to transform a simple studio apartment into a luxurious home. Your apartment is supposed to be a place where you enjoy spending time and that you look forward to returning at the end of the day. While many NYC apartments are pretty much the size of a shoebox, here are 5 ways you can make your studio apartment appear bigger, more spacious and luxurious.


Lighting in an apartment is incredibly important, especially when living in a small space. When I say lighting I don’t mean actual light fixtures, I mean natural sunlight. A lot of the time, studio apartments don’t have many windows so there isn’t much natural light to work with. Fortunately, there is an easy: mirrors. Mirrors not only help reflect sunlight, they also make your apartment look and feel bigger. The best ways to reflect sunlight is by placing a mirror on the wall adjacent to or across from a window.

You can also hang a mirror in a small kitchen to avoid claustrophobia. An added bonus of is being able to see what’s going on behind you while your back is to the apartment, or even guests.


Accent A Wall

Accenting a wall can completely transform your apartment.

An accent wall is as simple as painting one (or possibly two) walls or can be slightly more challenging if you opt to wallpaper. The cool thing about wallpapering versus painting is wallpaper gives texture, pattern and depth whereas painting tends to be one-dimensional. This is not to say that painting a wall will be boring, because it won’t – often, painting is the better, faster, cheaper option. However, if you do decide to go for it, wallcoverings have that ‘cool factor’. For instance, I used wallpaper that was patterned with white brick. I wanted to channel the old, rustic feeling of NYC brownstones but instead of going with the traditional red, I opted for a white brick because of its cleaner, brighter vibe and feel.



In a studio apartment, not much is hidden – everything is out in the open for all to see. Because of this, it’s important to have good furniture pieces in the apartment and one of those pieces should most definitely be a (beautiful) bed/headboard. This will help complete the “bedroom” look and will also add a level of comfort. A cushioned headboard makes for a very comfortable spot to watch TV and to sit in bed and read. A bed with a headboard can also double as a couch if your studio isn’t big enough for a full-size sofa. Just remember to use lots of pillows as they will further the ‘lounging’ feel and will also add depth to the bed.


Vintage Furniture

Not only is it fun to shop for vintage furniture, it is a great way to make your space feel luxurious. Vintage furniture can be expensive but that’s not always the case. There are plenty of second hand stores that have vintage furniture for very reasonable prices. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, right? So hit up your local Good Will, Housing Works and Salvation Army and find those older pieces that will bring character to the apartment. Keep in mind that if you like a piece of furniture but are not crazy about the color, there are many DIY ways to fix that (ie: chalk paint and a wax finish).

vintage furtnitre


I understand that overhead lighting is absolutely necessary in many cases, but I must admit that I [generally] simply cannot stand it. This actually works in my favor as numerous apartments are without overhead lights. Of course there are always exceptions, but most of the time overhead lighting creates a dreary and gloomy feel. So don’t worry if your apartment doesn’t have a light figure in the middle of the room – this is easily fixable with a mixture of floor and table lamps that are strategically placed throughout the room. When only a few lamps are turned on, a lovely ambiance is created. Lamps also make great accent pieces. They will bring pops of color and a level of elegance to your studio apartment.

If you do have central light fixtures, it would be best put them on dimmers– this is easy to do and affordable.


All images of Alden’s Manhattan studio apartment 


March 1, 2016