Leicester, UK

Styling My Studio: Making a Small Apartment Feel Like Home*

As every man on the planet will tell you, "it's not about the size, it's about how you use it." And when it comes to homes, I'm inclined to agree with them. When I first relocated to Leicester to begin my PhD, I moved into a share house with four other students. The apartment block that we lived in was spacious and conveniently located, and sharing a kitchen between five of us really wasn't that bad, but at the end of the year I nevertheless found myself craving my own space. Enter my studio apartment. It's very compact, with a bedroom, kitchen, and home office all in one room and a private bathroom off to one side. And honestly, despite the reduction in size, I've never been happier. Getting used to having less space was definitely a learning curve but now that I'm starting my second year in my studio flat, I feel like I've got small-scale living down to a fine art. Today's blog post is dedicated to why I absolutely love my apartment and how I've styled the space to make it my own.

studio flat homeware Julian Charles bedding review

Why I Love the Studio Life

All of the mess is YOUR mess: One of my biggest pet peeves is cleaning up after other people. Even when I lived in a shared house with other adults, I'd still find myself having to wipe their mess off the kitchen worktops and hoover the lounge after their guests had traipsed through it with muddy shoes on. It used to drive me crazy! Now that I'm in my own flat, the only person that I'm cleaning up after is me!

Accumulating junk is impossible: I'm a super sentimental person and I tend to hang on to everything from aged soft toys to random tickets and scraps of paper just because they have memories attached. But living in a studio flat has really made my reconsider what I need around me - I need to prune my possessions regularly just to keep my apartment liveable. The studio life has helped me to be more minimalist!

Great for me, great for the environment: My utility bills have certainly decreased since moving into my studio flat. I spend very little on heating it, even in the winter. My apartment has four south-facing floor-to-ceiling windows so even the slightest bit of sunshine warms the entire room. It's now November and I haven't had to put the heating on yet! This eco-friendly living is not only brilliant for my pocket but good for the planet too.

studio flat homeware accessories furnishings
Julian Charles Azure trend pillows throw

Styling My Studio: Colours

Since my studio flat is rented, changing the colour of the walls isn't an option that's open to me. However, by choosing appropriate homeware and soft furnishings, I've still managed to achieve the look I want without needing to pick up a paintbrush. Something that was really important for me to incorporate into my sleep space was the colour blue. In colour psychology, blue is most recommended as a bedroom colour because it supposedly triggers a soothing sensation in your brain, promoting relaxation and tranquility. As someone who often struggles to get to sleep, anything that helps to reduce blood pressure and heart rate in this way is worth a try! That's why when I was recently offered the chance to try out some luxury bedding from Julian Charles, I leapt at the chance to feature some items from their Azure trend. The Azure collection is characterised by its sumptuous deep blue colours and plush textures. I especially love the zig zag teal throw: the faux fur lattice cutouts are gorgeously soft, adding an opulent feel to my room. I'm also a huge fan of the jacquard duck-egg and teal duvet cover: the polyester face of the set is very glamorous but the poly cotton reverse keeps it really comfortable to sleep in too. I was really impressed by all of the products that I tried from the Julian Charles AW range, the quality was second to none. Even if the colour blue isn't your thing, their gorgeous Christmas trend can upgrade your bedroom for the festive season!

Julian Charles bedding photo frame review homeware

Styling My Studio: Personal Touches

My apartment really was a blank canvas when I arrived, so putting in a few personal touches was something that I thoroughly enjoyed. The first thing on my decorating to-do list was prettifying the rather ugly pin boards that were fixed to the wall. The pin board directly above my bed was black in colour and was a bit of an eyesore, but by covering it with blue floral gift wrap, I was able to make it look a hundred times better. This was a cheap fix too, with the wrapping paper setting me back just a quid in Primark. I also love having photos on display - originally I had printed pics fixed to the pinboard with drawing pins, but soon they started to curl up at the corners and look a bit ugly. But thanks to Julian Charles, I now have a gorgeous frame in which showcase one of my favourite photos. Their teal velvet photo frame is really stylish - I especially love the silver pattern which catches the light beautifully. The photo that I chose to place inside is really special to me as it shows me and my Mum at my Masters graduation, it brings back fond memories of a really lovely day of celebrations!

bedding homeware style studio apartment flat

Styling My Studio: Storage

Space is at a premium when you're living out of just one room and making the most of all available storage possibilities is essential. When I first moved into my studio flat, I most struggled when trying to fit all of my possessions into the kitchen area. I love to cook and having my slow cooker and vegetable steamer with me was non-negotiable. However, these appliances are super bulky and they occupy an entire cupboard in my kitchen. This left me with limited space to store things like herbs, spices, and teabags. To remedy this, I invested in a couple of under shelf storage baskets. They cost me less than a tenner each on Amazon and all you need to do is hook them onto an existing shelf to almost double the storage capacity in your kitchen! The cheap and cheerful ones that I purchased were too flimsy to hold anything like heavy cans or mugs but they're ideal for things like rolls of cling film and foil. Another of my studio storage tricks was to purchase a set of plastic storage drawers and putting it inside the existing wardrobe. This gave me much-needed extra space to store underwear, hats, and accessories but keeping it inside the wardrobe ensured that my room remained uncluttered.

Have you ever lived in a studio flat? Do you have any top space-saving tips for me? Leave them in the comments below.

*This blog post was written as part of a paid partnership with Julian Charles.