Help! How Do I Place Furniture in This Strangely Shaped Studio? — The Room Layout Doctor Is In


One of the most perplexing things about moving into a new place, especially a small place, is where to put the furniture. This apartment, with its curving wall of windows, presented a unique challenge. How do you create both a bedroom and a living space (and maybe a dining room and a study, too) in a place that’s so small, and so unusually shaped? We went to the drawing board to come up with a few ideas.

First, an intro:

This is an advice column. Apartment Therapy already has an advice column, about the problems, personal and otherwise, that arise in conjunction with life at home. But this column is a little different. This column is about something very concrete: where to put your furniture. Back when Good Questions was a regular feature on Apartment Therapy, we used to get questions, fairly often, from readers perplexed about how to lay out the furniture in a particular space. Our readers, of course, always provided helpful answers, but as someone who was once an architect and still is a very visual thinker, the text answers left me a little wanting. So I decided to introduce this column, whose purpose is to tinker with space planning in a very visual way.

First up: the arrangement of the furniture in this dramatically (but also oddly) shaped studio apartment. Full disclosure: this floor plan was provided to us by a reader in 2012, so the layout here is purely theoretical. The floor plan is also hand-drawn, and therefore not perfectly to scale. In this case, I assumed that the apartment’s doorway was 2’8″ wide (a standard size and also, incidentally, the size of the door of my own apartment). This makes the apartment’s living room about 13’6″ wide, and the kitchen about 8’8″ wide. The length of the entire apartment, measured from the far outside wall to the wall with the entry door, is about 27 feet. From the original poster:

I am moving into a new apartment which I have fallen in love with… but it has a tricky layout. It is a studio and both my boyfriend and I will be living there. I’m looking for ideas about how to set up a living room/bedroom space as well as a dining room/study area for us. The best (and trickiest) part is the curved wall full of windows! See floor layout.

One solution (and my preferred solution) is to the place the bed immediately to the left of the living room closet, right when you walk in. (The front door, in case you didn’t spot it, is on the right side of the diagram, between the bathroom and the entry closets.) A screen or curtain to the left side of the bed provides a little privacy: there’s a console for the TV on the other side. The desk is at the foot of the bed, between the windows. I didn’t include a dresser in this plan, but this apartment appears to have ample closets, so a dresser could be tucked into one of those.

PROS:

  • More privacy for the bedroom space.

CONS:

  • Depending on how the closet doors work (whether they’re sliding doors, bifold doors, or traditional doors), you may have a little trouble getting into the closet.

This second plan involves an unusual solution a lot of readers proposed in the comments of the original post: putting the bed in the alcove right off the kitchen. This leaves room for a small dresser or shelf, or maybe a second desk, on the left wall of the apartment immediately below the opening to the kitchen.

PROS:

  • The living room feels a lot more open and spacious now.

CONS:

  • There’s a bed in the kitchen, and that’s, well, a little weird, especially if you cook a lot. You could make use of a screen or curtain so that you’re not staring at the sink when you wake up, but that probably won’t help with the smells.
  • There’s only room for a two-person table.

Which one do you prefer? Is there another, third solution that I didn’t see? Sound off in the comments!

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