Whether it’s your first home or your fortieth, decorating a studio apartment can present unique challenges. Creating any multi-functional area can be a daunting task; however, combining a bedroom, kitchen, living room, and entryway into one can be positively overwhelming. But do not throw up your hands in despair yet dear readers. I’m here with a few tips that will take away the struggles of this decorating process.

The first step is to develop an understanding of the traffic flow. Identifying which sections of your apartment are used most will help with furniture placement later. Typically, these areas are the front door, bathroom, kitchen, and intercom.

Next, light it up. Open windows, upgrade ceiling lights, and purchase lamps. The most effective option is track lighting. In addition to brightening the room, they draw the eye up and make ceilings seem higher.

Now that you have an idea of common paths in your apartment and your place is well lit, it’s time to bring in the furniture. Because space is limited, be sure each piece has multiple functions and is absolutely necessary. Futons are obviously good choices because they double as a couch and bed. Another great choice is an ottoman that doubles as a storage space and coffee table. Also remember, pieces that are visually heavy, like overstuffed couches, will make the space seem even more cramped. Use light pieces with slimmer designs. Smaller prints and brighter hues will also make the area bright, open, and fun.

Organization is mandatory. In a small space, clutter is significantly more noticeable. Be sure to keep tables and desks as neat and clean as possible. Installing shelves is a great way to create more space as they can be put virtually anywhere, even hung from the ceiling. Use storage bins and baskets as much as possible. Unfortunately, there still may not be enough storage space and downsizing may be necessary. Perhaps there are some things you just aren’t willing to part with, but if it doesn’t fit, you may need to rent a storage unit.

Pictures and paintings are a great way to liven a room. Artwork can make a room more inviting and lively. Rugs and pillows can also have the same effect. Remember, just because the area is small, it is still your home, so add personal touches. It is important that you be comfortable in your own dwelling place. Following these tips on decorating a studio apartment will make your home functional and welcoming.