Moving in together is a great way to strengthen your relationship, but moving in together into a studio apartment? That might just be the ultimate challenge in organization and creativity. Fortunately, turning a studio apartment into a space that works for two is totally possible, especially with a few key tricks and small-space living hacks from the pros. Enter Donnie and Nicole. This rad couple showed us how they turned a 537-square-foot apartment in downtown San Francisco into the perfect home that satisfied both of their needs. Between the DIY closets, multipurpose furniture and hidden home theater, Donnie and Nicole’s home is just the inspo you need to embrace micro-living and transform your studio apartment into a space that works for you and your S.O. Check out all their genius small space hacks below, watch the video tour and then head over to our Tiny Spaces series page to see some other totally amazing tiny homes.
1. Think multipurpose. Nicole said that the key to coping in a small space is to buy things that you can use more than one way. You definitely won’t find a lot of unwanted clutter in this minimalist space, where everything has a place.
2. DIY is the best way. Like all couples who are moving in together for the first time, there was some adjusting that had to be done — mainly the addition of a closet for Nicole. Since they were working with an unusual space, Donnie and Nicole chose to DIY the whole thing. And hats off to Nicole for fitting everything she has into this closet. Capsule wardrobe, anyone?
3. Mirrors will double your square footage. See that wall of mirrors on the left? Yep, that’s Nicole’s closet, cleverly disguised. After building the closet, the couple ended up covering the whole thing in mirrors to help make the space feel bigger and brighter.
4. Be brave about your organization. In the search for a more open floor plan, the couple actually got rid of one of their closets (gasp!) and opened up the entryway. All you really need in a foyer is a place to kick off your shoes and store your sunglasses, right?
5. Don’t fixate on “normal” spaces. Sure, a dining room is nice to have when you’re entertaining, but do you use it every day? Instead of taking up valuable space with a massive table for the two of them, Nicole and Donnie opted for a fold-down table and a bench that doubles as storage shelves.
6. Raise the bed. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Ceiling height, that is. If adding a loft is an option for you, a raised bedroom can save you a ton of floor space and give you room underneath for a home office or guest area.
7. Make Murphy beds cool again. A guest room? In a studio apartment?? Yep, totally possible — just ask this couple. The addition of a loft created an extra space that works quadruple duty as a workspace, storage closet, dining room and guest room.
8. Think vertical. Standing desks are a brilliant solution for a small apartment. You can still have your workspace without filling up your entire apartment with desks and chairs — plus, it’s way better for your health.
9. Raise (and lower) the barstools. Instead of splurging on desk chairs, dining chairs and bar stools, Nicole and Donnie chose adjustable stools that can easily transition from the kitchen bar to the dining room table and the desk space. It’s nice to have options when you get tired of standing ;)
10. Lucite is your BFF. It’s easy for a small space to start feeling cluttered rather quickly. Nicole and Donnie solved this problem by using clear barstools that can be moved around the room and clear storage boxes that are in sync with the light and minimal aesthetic of the couple’s studio.
11. Don’t let the TV dictate the room arrangement. In this space, a good ol’ Netflix binge starts with the quick pull-down of a projector screen. There’s no bulky TV to dictate where the chairs are situated, and you get an enviable home theater with zero floor space sacrificed. Brilliant.