Nearly ten years ago the first property I bought was a 33 m2 studio flat in Borough, just down the road from where I am now. I thought it was the BEST THING EVER and there wasn’t a day that I didn’t love living there. I never felt cramped, claustrophobic or penned in and the only reason I left that flat was to move in with a boyfriend (he definitely made me feel penned in so that didn’t last long).
I learnt a lot about staying organised and living without ALL the stuff from that studio; it felt so simple and carefree living in such a small space and everyone who visited me there would wax lyrical about how great it was. Anyhoo, why am I telling you this? Well, one of very good friends is moving next week to a studio flat about a four minute walk from my flat (yay!) after I found it for her on RightMove – finally, my guilty pleasure of snooping in other people’s homes online has paid off! We visited the flat together and we both loved it and she decided on the spot that it was right for her and didn’t bother seeing anything else.
My friend has since asked for advice on living in such small space so I thought it might be helpful to share some of that here as I’m sure we are not the only ones who live in small flats.
Love the area
I think it’s really important that you choose an area that you love if you are moving into a small flat. You need to feel that you can get out and about easily so that you don;t feel hemmed in. Knowing that there is a great bar, restaurant or park on your doorstep makes studio living so much more bearable.
You must get bored of me harking on about decluttering but I really do believe it has the power to change the way you live. When you live in a small space the last thing you want is to be surrounded by stuff and have to sacrifice an important piece of furniture such as a dining table because you have too many clothes/books/crap to fit in.
Use wall space
Don’t underestimate the amount of storage space you can achieve by using the walls. Whether it be high shelves, wall cupboards, picture ledges, shelving or hooks there is always a way to use the walls without encroaching on the space too much.
Keep floor clear
Keeping the floor clear of anything other than furniture and the odd basket is something I have always strived to do and it makes a huge difference to how spacious a flat feels. Piles of stuff precariously balanced around the place is a big no, no.
Try really hard to make it very clear what each part of the flat is for, which will help you keep organised and keep the whole place from becoming one big mess.
If you can find somewhere with outdoor space you need to grab it and make the most if it! Have the windows and door open every day (weather allowing) and make sure to actually use the space in a productive way so that it feels like an extension of your flat; it will make a huge difference to the feel of the place.
Don’t scrimp on style
The worst mistake you can make when moving into a small place is to think that there is no point putting any effort in to the way it looks. Taking care and paying attention to the colour scheme, adding character and injecting your personality into the space will make it feel so much more special and you will want to spend time there.
Establish tidying routines
When I lived in my studio flat I decided to have a sofa bed with a fully sprung mattress. I had to be very disciplined to put the bed away every morning so that the living area was a useable space when I got home from work. Very quickly it became a deeply engrained routine, as did putting away all my clothes every night and cleaning everything away after dinner. These small actions made the space functional at all times.
Have you ever lived in a studio flat or bedsit and got any good tips?
No, but I do live in a 2 bed flat with my husband and 2 kids (and my husband works from home). We can’t afford to move, so I’m trying to find ways of making our flat “better”. This is definitely food for thought, although it is very, very hard to separate children from their clutter/crap!!! Thanks for this.
I think I need you to come and declutter my home! x
I’ve just moved to the tiniest flat (think it’s 37m2) and I’m loving it! For me, location is so important and I’m so glad I made the decision to stay in my favourite area and compromise on location instead of area – as there’s only one of me in the tiny flat I go out a lot in the evening so it’s good to be able to get home easily! The only thing I’m missing is there’s nowhere really for a bookcase but apart from that I love it! Luckily I actually have loads of storage space but I’m really on a major declutter exercise. I’ve read that Marie Kondo book and although I think she is crazy there’s some good advice in there.
Totally agree about having a routine. No matter how large or small the space you live in having a consistent routine to tidy away at the end of the day does wonders for making the brain feel less ‘cluttered’ as well! Will you be helping your friend to decorate and style her new home? Would be great to read about the process if so x
Glad it isn’t just me who snoops on right move haha!
I agree with Lucy tiding at the end of the day makes home feel better. But three kids in the house makes clutter breed, I’m sure we haven’t bought half the stuff in their cupboards.