Real reno ideas for living small—and smart
Whether you’re downsizing from a larger home or taking your first foray into home ownership, buying a studio apartment typically means one thing: you’ll be living in a small space. But if there’s one thing we know after seeing many a renovation, be it a tiny bathroom, kitchen, or an entire apartment, it’s that living in a tinier space just means you have to live smarter. See how these Sweeten renovators worked with their general contractor to make the most of their studio apartments.
Lauren’s studio apartment definitely needed work. A home office in the place of what could be a large closet was not ideal, and the kitchen had more to offer than the undersized appliances provided. Working with her Sweeten general contractor, they rethought the space to make it as efficient as possible. Changes like skim coating and restaining the floors made a big visual impact. The smaller closet next to the bed area was converted into a built-in desk, while the former office space turned into a large custom closet. In the kitchen, the contractor came up with a genius idea to keep the existing cabinets that left room for a full-size range.
Adequate storage is hard to come by, especially in older buildings, and especially in studio apartments. The lack of it across Christina’s 550-square-foot-studio, most significantly in the kitchen and bathroom, were the driving forces behind her renovation decision. In the kitchen, a smaller sink, and ceiling-height cabinets accomplished the need for a more efficient space. A wall-length medicine cabinet and vanity solved the storage issues in the bathroom.
Kim and Ian bought a 450-square-foot studio that required a complete renovation (down to rewiring and replumbing). They planned to “split” the studio into two distinct areas: one for cooking and dining, the other for living and sleeping. The kitchen island became the main divider between the two spaces. When their contractor made a surprising discovery behind a wall—two old, large windows—he decided to remove them and use their cavities for more storage and counter space, too.
A benefit of many studio apartments? A mostly open floor plan. Nancy and her Sweeten contractor debated changing the footprint of her newly purchased studio, including closing off the alcove. Ultimately, they decided to keep it as-is, but made other impactful changes, like widening the kitchen entrance, adding French doors to one existing closet, and turning another into a walk-in dressing room. Using wallpaper helped define the bedroom as a separate space.
When you should you start planning for your renovation? Sweeten founder and CEO, Jean Brownhill, has the answer.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.