How to remodel a Studio Apartment on a budget that is looking good and is comfortable to live in.
During his last year of High School, my son decided to move back to Germany to start his career with Mercedes in Stuttgart. Of course, he needed a place to stay, and finding a rental wasn’t easy.
Lucky for him, we have my family living close by where he can live in his own little studio apartment and start becoming independent from us.
Unfortunately, before he was able to move into his apartment, the studio apartment had to be remodeled. The bathroom needed a total updating, adding a shower and a new sink, but it all came out looking really good.
How to start with the studio remodel
Read on and see how I remodeled this small basement apartment to a fresh and happy place for him.
This is your first step before starting a remodel:
1. Evaluate the room
2. What are the negative and what are the positive points of this room?
3. Is there a focal point?
4. What furniture is necessary, what do you need to have? What is nice to have?
5. Always remember, the less furniture you add, the better it is for a small room.
Answer all the questions to find out the number one purpose of the room.
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What to keep and what has to go?
The room I remodeled is located in the basement and hasn’t really been used a lot in the last 10 years. So, of course, it didn’t look very inviting and therefore everything had to go.
We removed all of the old furniture, wallpaper, light fixtures and also the carpet.
Start with selecting a color scheme
The room looked very dark and cold and this is why I selected light and happy colors:
- a white glaze paint for the dark wood ceiling
- a light green/blue wall color for the accent wall and a fresh white for the left wall
- blue/grey for the new carpet to add some warmth
- white cabinets for the kitchenette
It is so important to select all the colors before buying any kind of furniture in order to create a cohesive look.
Select a color scheme for the whole room and furniture, go to your local paint shop and get paint chips which you can stick onto the walls. Decide on the colors and then get paint samples and actually paint swatches on the walls to make sure this is what you like.
Before you start painting
How to start with the remodel
Before I started to paint, I washed the whole room down to get rid of all the dust and spider webs and also to get a fresh and clean smell into this basement room.
I painted the wood ceiling with a white glaze, because I wanted to keep the wood structure and make the room look higher and of course lighter.
I painted the focal walls in a light greenish/blue to add some color and freshness and because I just love bright colors.
The left wall got a fresh coat of white paint.
If you have never painted before, check out this post for easy tips how to paint. https://colorfuldesigner.com/how-to-paint-a-wall-easy-and-fast/
Because my son can be a little messy, I was planning on adding hardwood floor. But because this room is in the basement and it can get pretty cold in winter, I decided to install wall to wall carpet to make it feel warmer.
First of all it is so much faster to install and second also cheaper. And it is a fact, that adding carpet and curtains, actually any kind of textiles, makes a room feel much warmer.
We are very happy with this pretty, grey-blue loop carpet, very durable, best quality carpet from Object Carpet and so easy to clean – big point here.
What kind of furniture to pick for a small studio apartment
What kind of furniture to pick
The room is pretty small (maximum 220 sq. feet or 4 x 5 Meters) and therefore it is mandatory to use light practical furniture.
Don’t choose heavy and dark furniture in a small room, it will look overloaded.
Money was an option too so we decided to get the furniture from Ikea. Ikea furniture is young and hip, colorful and reasonable in price. Good choice for a start up apartment.
The little white kitchenette we ordered from Ikea came with a sink and faucet and two lower cabinets. I decided not to install the upper cabinets because we wanted to keep the shelf which makes it look more open. We added a small refrigerator and a camping stove as well as a microwave for some easy cooking.
First I was tending towards adding a small kitchen table but then decided against it. Glad I did because the space is very limited.
Instead of a table, I added a small bar/seating area which separates the room from sleeping and cooking, but doesn’t make the room crowded or even look smaller.
I kept the wooden wall cover on the kitchen wall, which adds some warmth to the cool color atmosphere. The wallpaper at the small bar area gives an unexpected look. A new bar stool was all we needed to complete the kitchenette.
I was aiming for a sleeping couch but Sean voted against it. He wanted a comfortable bed and I agreed heavy hearted. Now I am glad we bought the bed, because it is just so much more comfortable to sleep in.
I love the straight lines of the Slattum bed and the light grey color of the bed frame fits perfectly to the rest of the color scheme.
A big wardrobe would have taken too much space and therefore added a dresser for T-Shirts and underwear. A clothes rack is all he needed to hang up his shirts and jeans.
Before and After look of the dresser
I painted the wooden dresser with the same white glaze as the wood ceiling and it came out so pretty. I exchanged the hardware to make it look younger and fresher.
Add curtains as a focal point
The focal point of this room is the window and the radiator which is not something pretty to look at. Therefore it was so important for this room to cover this view up by adding a pretty curtain.
Sean installed a metal wire from one side to the other side of the room and I was lucky to get a pretty curtain from my sister in law.
And it looks so much better if you don’t see the radiator first thing you enter the room. Now you look at a pretty curtain which covers the whole wall from top to bottom.
Now the focal point of this room is the curtain.
Decor adds color to a room
Add pretty decor to freshen up the look
Because it is a room for a boy, I was not allowed to add a lot of decor. So I kept it pretty basic and clean. But still couldn’t resist to add some color dots on the wall and on the shelves.
The bed sheets fits to the color scheme, I added a white bench as a night stand and a white table lamp.
A pretty cow hide chair and a lot of hooks and storage boxes help to keep the place organized.
He has a small entry space where he can keep all his jackets and I was able to even fit a mirror there.
Using non bulky furniture is essential
This open clothes rack is fine for now, because he doesn’t have a lot of clothes and shoes. It is enough space for his clothes but actually I wanted to add a small closet, with doors to hide his clothes. But because we were able to get the dresser and the rack for free, the decision was made. So we took it. Sometimes you have to make compromises, especially if you work on a pretty tight budget.
But a small closet with doors to hide his clutter would actually look much better.
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Brand new bathroom
The bathroom was completely remodeled in the same color scheme, green and blue. We added a new shower, toilet, and a sink which works perfectly for one person. Thank you to all my friends and family who helped with this renovation.
The bathroom took a couple of months to get done but was finished just in time for Sean to move in.
How long did it take to remodel this room?
I remodeled the room within two weeks. I worked a couple of hours everyday cleaning and painting, went shopping for decor, added new things and removed stuff. There are still some small things missing but it will get done in the next couple of days.
Summary of the Studio Apartment Remodel
Living in such a small space can be extremely challenging. This is why the following points are so important:
The most important thing when decorating a studio apartment is to use only a few basic furniture pieces. The smaller the room, the less furniture should you use.
1. Arrange the furniture to create distinct eating and living areas.
2. Use light and bright colors.
3. Create clever storage and multi-functional furniture.
4. Keep a corner or a wall space empty for a larger loft feel.
5. Maximize the space by bringing lots of natural light inside.
6. Add storage to maintain an uncluttered look.
How much did the room remodel cost?
How much does it cost to renovate a studio apartment?
Of course we tried to stay within our budget of 1,000 $ for the room. The bathroom is a different situation, because it was completely remodeled and the layout was changed to fit a shower.
The cost for the room added up as follows:
The paint for ceiling and walls was 50 $, the new carpet 250 $, bed frame and mattress 200 $ and the kitchen cabinets including accessories like microwave and toaster 350 $, the bar stool was 70 $. Altogether this room came to about 1,000 $ which I think is pretty good for starting from zero. Just remember how it looked a couple of weeks ago…
What do you think about the remodel, do you like the before and after?
Do you also have a project in mind you need to get done? Follow my easy tips and I am sure you can do it easily yourself or with the help of friends and family.
See you on the blog and ond’t forget to check out https://colorfuldesigner.com/5-best-deals-from-ikea-2019-2020/,
Do you want to shop this look? Here are some links for your convenience if you want to use similar furniture. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.Of course there are so many more furniture options, just search for light and functional pieces and try to stay within your color scheme.
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