Help Design A 400 Sq/Ft Apartment

Over at Apartment Therapy a reader has turned to the blog for help trying to make a 400 square foot apartment livable.

I’m moving into my first apartment next month and I’m starting to get cold feet! I signed a lease for a 400 sq ft studio in Chicago. I’m looking for suggestions of how to lay it out and decorate it without making it too cluttered but still keeping it somewhat “homey.” I don’t know if I should try to squeeze a bed and a couch in the unit or suck it up and sleep on a futon! And, if I get a futon, how do I make that look nice?

Lend a hand with the design here

  1. You didn’t give a budget. Shop around for something like this:

  2. Futon and a picnic table. That oughta do it.

  3. My hubby and I live in a 380sqft cabin. We heat with wood so the area where the stove is is lost space we have a full kitchen and bath, a queen size bed, a small table w/chairs, and a cozy loveseat that is a hide-a-bed (for company). We share the space with 3 small dogs and a couple of indoor/outdoor cats. I’m amazed at the amount of space we have. Our place does not feel or appear “cluttered” at all most visitors are shocked when we tell them the size of our home and when they visit they comment on how it doesn’t feel small at all. I can’t tell you where to put everything but my advice is that if you don’t have the furniture yet don’t buy it (well by a bed not a futon) a bed with curtains so if you have company you can just close the curtains instead of having to make the bed.

    Just my two cents.


    • Hi Amy,

      Can you post some inside and outside pix of your 380 sqft cabin? It sounds great. I’m sure I’m not the only one who would like to see it. Am I right folks?

    • Amy,

      We would love to see photos!

  4. I would definitely go for some kind of murphy bed, they save a lot of space! Even if you just go with a futon mattress mounted on a hinge against the wall, the bare floor space will make it seem more open.
    Also, flat curtains across the whole of the kitchen, you can tie them back for cooking ( which looks quite dramatic! ).
    Consider the table, even if you plan on using it often, it might be worthwhile to find a sturdy one that can be folded away. A narrow “buffet” style table against the wall or under the window might give you all the dining room and work space you need.
    That closet has a lot of space, relatively, consider floor to ceiling narrow shelving ( most people don’t seem to use two foot deep shelves, even six inch deep shelves can carry a lot of boxes, and you loose less because it is not packed three deep) on all the walls with maybe a fold up ladder for access to the higher bits.

    Good luck!

  5. depending on the height of your ceilings, you could always build a loft bed. I live in rough;y the same size space, but my ceilings are high. I cost me about $150 to make and it is a great conversation piece. and it is sturdier than anything you will ever buy for $150.

  6. Tips and tricks for tiny homes:

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