Do you live in a studio type condo unit and don’t know how to decorate or design your place to make it feel more like home?
Studio condo design dilemma
A couple weeks ago, I put on some makeup (which I normally don’t do) and went in front of the video camera to ask what design dilemmas you have at home. I wanted to know if there is anything I could perhaps research on or write about that would be useful to you.
One of the responses I got was from an OFW based in Singapore. Her design dilemma was not knowing how to spruce up her rental without making any permanent or—if I may borrow a doctor’s term—“invasive procedures” that any landlord may not approve of.
I know this dilemma all too well. Back when I was still single, I also shared rented apartments and felt that itch to spruce it up just to make myself feel more at home. It wasn’t enough to just have a bed to sleep on, a bathroom to bathe in, a kitchen to cook in and eat from.
Worse still when my rented unit had furniture that didn’t quite fit my style preferences nor lifestyle. I still have nightmares over that glass-topped, iron leaf-wrapped dining table we once had (with matching chairs), and that horrid giant lamp with the gold-speckled base and the forest-green metal shade. Brrr. I shudder at the thought.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, then read on!
Interior styling tips for your studio
So I went to a friend’s studio unit to perhaps demonstrate some easy, no-reno, design tricks and techniques you could also implement in your own studios—or any condo unit or room type for that matter!
My friend is lucky enough to have snagged a bare studio unit, which meant he was able to bring in his own furniture and decor.
For brevity’s sake, I chose to focus on the bedroom area of the studio.
My friend’s furniture was mostly pushed back against the wall and the bed didn’t feel like it was part of the rest of the space. So I first rearranged everything to create specific zones for sleeping and working, but at the same time make the bedroom area still feel like an intrinsic part of the studio unit.
Now it’s time to decorate! The fun part 😉
The first thing anyone needs to do when decorating one’s existing space?
Take stock of one’s environment and belongings.
Look at your walls and flooring. Look at your existing furniture. Can’t bring them out (aka landlord refuses to ship them off to storage)? Work with them by looking at their color and style.
As you can see in the photo above, my friend already has quite heavy pieces of furniture—and all in deep tones of wood.
We don’t want to make things even heavier by adding more wood. The beige walls (a typical feature in most condos) lighten the look, but don’t exactly excite the senses.
The blue bedsheets, however, were a good cool contrast against the warm tones of the wood.
Add life via plants.
Living elements like plants add, well, life (duh) to any space. The amazing thing now is that there are so many plant sellers and nurseries online, like on Instagram. It’s easy for anyone to pick a plant they like and can maintain—even for those with the blackest of thumbs (like me).
But if you’re not yet ready to become a plant parent (or a “plantita”), then cuttings from someone else’s garden will do. The Philodendron selloum works really well as a cutting, and normally lasts at least a week in a vase filled with water.
Repeat accent colors at least 3x.
Blue became our accent, while whites, creams, and beiges became our de facto overall neutrals. To bring out at more of these colors, I looked among my friend’s book collection and found books with blue and off-white spines.
I also added a fleece blanket in a soft, powdery blue to the bed. It’s much more noticeable than just a duvet in the same deep hue as the bedsheets, so it really lifts the color up and makes the repetition much more deliberate.
Show some bling via metallics.
Because we already had a lot of wood in this studio, I wanted to lighten things up even more with some shiny, metallic objects.
Metallics reflect light so it has a brightening effect. Not to mention that it always adds visual interest.
It’s okay to mix up metallic tones, as long as their undertones are the same. In this space, we have a brushed nickel work lamp, which I paired with a decorative bird in creamy gold.
The desktop clock also had a silvery finish to its sides, mimicking the nickel of the lamp.
Add a standout pattern.
Up next, the bed. To make things even more interesting, I simply added a throw pillow with a graphic b&w chevron pattern.
This works even with the bedsheets having a dotted circular print, because the scale of the patterns vary in size (the bedsheets’ dotted circles are big, while the chevron print of the throw pillow is small).
Also, its black and white palette is neutral but still adds a graphic punch.
Finish off with a conversation piece.
If you have anything in your space that always elicits comments from guests, display it! Much better if it’s a functional piece, like my friend’s authentic vintage electric fan in aqua.
It was a great addition to the space because apart from being a showpiece, it also repeated the blue hue we wanted to highlight, and in a much more vibrant shade.
So there you have it: our simple, studio condo refresh! What’s great is that you can apply these tips in your space whether you have a rental, or your own bedroom at home.
That’s my friend enjoying his newly refreshed studio!
And this is me after wiping off the beads of sweat on my face LOL.
Shop the Look
If you’re also looking to decorate and refresh your studio or condo, check out these items to get a similar look as my setup above. These all definitely apply the interior design tips I’ve shared.
This vintage electric fan was bought by my friend at a vintage pop shop for P5,000. Check out the shops at Cubao X in Araneta Center, Quezon City for a similar find.
Vases from Metier Home.
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Isang pag-alala sa ating Pambansang Bayani. Our liberty will not be secured at the sword's point… We must secure it by making ourselves worthy of it. And when the people reaches that height, God will provide a weapon, the idols will be shattered, tyranny will crumble like a house of cards, and liberty will shine out like the first dawn. Dr Jose Rizal Rizal bookend available at http://www.pinas-sadya.com #WearItLiveItPreserveIt #SupportLocalPh #LoveLocalPh #ShopLocalPh #MadeInThePhilippines #ProudlyPhilippineMade
Book ends from Pinas-Sadya
Electric candle warmer from Hoom
Metallic accessories from H&M Home
Speckled vases from Crate & Barrel
Yakan-weave throw pillows in various colors, Pinas-Sadya, P750
Furniture from Space Encounters
Gold jackstone bookends, set of 3, Art Home Manila, P2,500
Find similar or tabletop plants from Once Upon a Plant PH
Need interior design help?
Want to refresh your space but don’t know how or where to start? Click get in touch to send me a message! I’d love to help you out.