How To Make A Studio Apartment Feel Sunlit & Spacious

In Refinery29’s Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial women. Today, Angeleno Cynthia Papp shows us her bright, midcentury-influenced studio in Culver City, CA.
Culver City resident Cynthia Papp has packed a lot of vintage charm into her sunny-but-compact studio apartment. “My style is very mid-century and boho,” she explains. Since occupying the space two months ago, she’s made the two-room apartment feel somehow spacious by creating zones for sleeping, lounging, working, and (thanks to the addition of a Peloton) exercising. It’s a lot of activity to cram into limited space but, with a complementary color scheme and cohesive design touches throughout the home, the apartment doesn’t feel one bit cluttered. Read on to discover a few of Papp's top design tips paired with some shoppable pieces inspired by her space — and be sure to check out her full tour in the video above.

Use Complementary Colors & Cohesive Design Touches

“I changed the knobs [on all of my furniture] to these gold knobs, so everything matches,” she points out, showing off coordinating Atomic Age-hardware on her media console, nightstand, and dark wood desk. “[It’s important] to create a cohesive color palette when putting a space together, so I made sure that mine was filled with neutrals and gold.” (She even made sure the graphic-print dog bed for her eight-month-old corgi, Hank, matched the throw pillow on her bed.)

Section Off Your Space & Make Furniture Multipurpose

Papp explains that her studio is actually sectioned off into several different areas — which she achieves through clever use of multipurpose furniture and thoughtful arrangements. “This table is actually multifunctional — it can be used as a little mini desk, it can be used as an entry table, it can also be used to hold your food on top of your bed. I am very guilty of eating food in my bed, especially after a long day,” she says of the World Market table marking the entryway of her studio. Papp also has a designated music center where she keeps her Crosley turntable and favorite records. Her "entertainment center" is achieved by placing a sofa at the foot of her bed mirroring a sleek MCM-style console with a TV on top.

Use Plants To Open Up Your Space & Make Your Bed As Cozy As Possible

Papp calls herself an "aspiring plant mom" and uses the placement of plants around her studio to "green up the space." She also describes her bed area as her favorite part of the apartment, "I think it's super cute and it's just the coziest part."
"I never expected to like living alone — I was always very afraid of it,” admits Cynthia — and the added complication of a global pandemic has made the solitude all the more challenging. However, she explains, “Once I got the hang of it and got my routine down, I realized that it’s such a blessing to be on my own with my dog and to have my own freedom. Honestly, I love it.”
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