How to Maximize Space in a 400 Square Feet Studio Apartment

Farah Nadia

When you live in a 400 square foot studio apartment, it can be challenging to make every inch count. It’s no secret that living in a small space is difficult; even if your home looks well-designed at first glance, there are always ways for things to feel cramped or uncomfortable.

In an ever-growing city, it’s no surprise that the average living space is shrinking. This has become a norm for many people nowadays as you’re forced to live with less and make do with little square footage in apartments or condos of 400 sq ft or more.

woman standing near brown wooden cabinet

How big is a 400 square feet studio apartment

A 400 square feet studio apartment is the equivalent of 20’x12′. It’s roughly the size of a typical two-car garage, which can be imagined as large enough to fit 2 cars with some wiggle room.

In 400 square feet, you can fit a living room with enough space for seating and entertaining a few guests at a time. You’ll also have enough room to include an office or bedroom in this size studio apartment.

The kitchen is going to be small and the bathroom will always be tighter than what you’re used to since there’s no guest bathtub available (unless your plan has one).

Fun Fact: 400 square feet is considered small in comparison to the average size of a new American house, which ranges between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet.
white wooden door on white painted wall

Space saving ideas for studio apartments

There are many ingenious ways to make room within tight spaces like these. There are also plenty of ways to give your apartment some personality without sacrificing too much personal room (or sanity).

With the right organizational system and creative use of your space, living in a small studio apartment doesn’t have to be so bad. All you need are the right ideas and strategies, so your small studio apartment doesn’t need to feel so small anymore!

Here are some tips that we’ve gathered to help you maximize space in a 400 square foot studio apartment:

Use the vertical space

Utilize empty wall spaces by creating shelving units (either using bookshelves or floating shelves). This will give the illusion of there being more space around you than it actually is!

Don’t forget about those empty corners too. Even if they’re not big enough to fit any furniture into, consider adding some shelves to make the area feel more functional.

Hang things from your walls, attach hooks or tension rods in areas where you have space.

Hang clothes on racks or put them in a closet. You can also stand a rack on the floor to store shoes.

Attach hooks or tension rods in areas where you have space, such as under shelves and cabinets.

Hang things from your walls using command strips (such as paintings) or nails.

Use doors that swing out instead of opening inwardly for more storage.

Organize a clothesline on one window and hang clothes out to dry for an inexpensive way to de-clutter that closet. You can also use racks inside closets so clothing does not take up as much floor and shelf space.

Place books or other supplies on top of kitchen cabinets and tables to create a second level. These will be in reach for you when cooking, reading, or any number of tasks. You can also use them as an extra surface area for your laptop computer.

Utilize the wall space above beds/shelves with picture frames! Hang plants up high where they’ll get more exposure to natural light, this is just another way to make your small studio feel larger than it really is.

Buy furniture that can be easily folded away when not in use

This is a great way to save space and be able to maximize your usable space.

Use the backside of the furniture you have for extra storage. For example, putting books or even clothes on them when they’re not in use.

Drawers can also make good storage areas- but don’t pack too many things into one drawer.

Create dividers out of plywood boards to create little walls if necessary. In this case, it’s important that all items are neatly put away so only what will fit in that specific part is stored there.

If you need some additional shelving units, try looking at Ikea where their shelves are quite inexpensive! The best thing about these pieces is that they’re easy (and sometimes free).

Invest in furniture with hidden storage

Ottomans with drawers are great space saving furniture for a studio apartment since they are dual function in nature. You can use them as extra seating space and storage space at the same time.

Get creative with how you store things and put up shelves wherever possible so there’s no wasted space Keep all surfaces clear and decluttered for better airflow!

living room

Place shelves and hooks along the walls for storage 

Ever thought about using a curtain rod as a clothes rack? You may have to get creative, but hanging your clothing on the wall can save valuable floor space.

Utilize every inch of wall space with shelving and hooks to store anything from books to pots and pans to toiletries.

Hang shelves or side tables on either side of a couch and use them for display purposes so that they’re not taking up valuable floor space. This will also create an illusion of open spaces in your 400 square feet studio apartment!

In order for it to be cost-effective, you’ll need to be making sure things are lightweight. For example, bookshelves made out of cinder blocks with wire racks will serve their purpose well. They’re cheap and lightweight so they won’t break anything in your apartment when moved around or taken down.

Get creative with furniture placement

Arranging furniture pieces so that all areas are utilized as storage spaces for different items (ex: stacking books vertically instead of horizontally) will also free up valuable floor space.

Utilize furniture placement by getting creative with what can work around the walls. If you have a long sofa or armchair, try arranging your living area around it by placing a coffee table nearby or even adding additional chairs along one side to maximize seating options when entertaining guests.

Think outside of the box, like using a dresser as your kitchen island or laying down two cinderblocks and putting an old window on top for extra storage. You can even use an old door as a desk. The possibilities are endless!

Make sure that all furniture items fit together – even if it’s not aesthetically pleasing. If necessary ask friends over for help with rearranging so everything fits correctly and maximizes floor space.

Let in natural light in the apartment, either through windows or lamps 

My first suggestion is to consider natural light. Many apartments have windows that allow for a lot of sunlight throughout the day.

Natural lighting can make it seem like there is more space in your apartment and provide a greater sense of well-being as you go about your days, especially if you spend most of them inside! Making sure there’s plenty of natural light will also be good for plants (if you have or plant to have them) in your studio unit.

In addition, some lamps may help with this problem by providing extra light when needed or just making an area feel cozier depending on what type they are and where they’re positioned.

I’d recommend trying out different lighting configurations throughout the apartment until something feels right because oftentimes we’re not aware that what we’re experiencing is due to the lighting.

well-arrange room

Use plenty of mirrors

Mirrors can be used in almost any room, but they are especially useful in small studio apartments. They can be used to give the illusion of a larger space and make it feel more comfortable.

This may work particularly well if you live in a studio apartment with no windows or natural light!

Mirroring furniture might also help make it feel like there’s more room inside by providing some visual balance when placed correctly next to items such as chairs or sofas; this could alleviate feelings of claustrophobia experienced by people living in smaller spaces.

Add artwork to your walls

In addition, if there is an open wall on either end of this setup having some artwork displayed here would help create visual interest while providing color and warmth from the natural light or lamp in your studio unit.

Try using pieces of artwork to alter the sense of space in a room by reflecting light and creating visual interest, providing color, warmth from the ambient natural light coming through windows on opposite walls, etc.


Conclusion paragraph: In a nutshell, living in a small studio apartment can be challenging. But there are many creative solutions to maximizing space and making the most of what you have.

So if this sounds like your situation or you’re just curious about how other people manage their cramped spaces, check out our blog for more ideas on how to make small spaces work!