Studio bedroom ideas – designers explain how to create a sleep space in an open plan room

Let these inspiring studio bedrooms prove that you don't need walls in order to create a calming space to retreat too...

Open plan studio apartment in converted garage
(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

Studio bedroom ideas, potentially the trickiest of all bedroom ideas. Because really you aren't just designing and decorating a bedroom, you are designing and decorating a whole open-plan space, that just so happens to contain a bedroom. For for all their shortcomings, there is something about studio spaces – the openness, the light, the effortless flow around the space. You just have to get a bit... creative when it comes to apartment decor.

Luckily, there are loads of amazing designers out there who have proven studio bedrooms can be every bit as calming and cocooning as a bedroom that's been blessed with four walls. From clever layouts to using bold colors to zone a space, we asked designers to explain the logic behind their open-plan bedroom ideas...

1. Consider an innovative bed design

Small studio apartment with floating bed

(Image credit: Alan Tansey)

Okay, this studio bedroom idea is actually onboard a yacht – the ultimate test of how to maximize square footage. It was designed by MKCA Architecture (opens in new tab), who explains, 'It’s pretty much the ultimate folding bed. It’s a small space and the bed faces the wall of glass and the ocean behind. It’s cantilevered from the rubbed aluminum pod on a counterweighted steel chassis, so it floats above the floor with no legs.'

'We wanted to dial up the luxury factor here and to use materials that would give the bed a kind of spatial dimension and contrast of its own. So the lacquered interior is oxblood, the headboard is lavender mohair from Pierre Frey, and the open compartment has niches for books and devices, and integral lighting that gives the space a gentle glow in the evening for reading.'

'The gilded painting of a honeybee is by Matthew Wiley. He’s painting 50,000 bees to raise awareness about the value and threats to pollinators. It’s a piece the clients bought, but we loved this almost medieval reliquary kind of touch in the space. It counteracts all of the perfect shop finished and machined surfaces, and it’s beautiful.'

A murphy bed never looked so chic.

2. Tie in your bed linen with the rest of the space

Small studio apartment with white scheme

(Image credit: The Brooklyn Home Company)

In small apartments every detail counts as you'll be able to take everything in at once, so don't design your bedroom space as a stand-alone room. Consider how your decor decisions will look with the kitchen cabinets, the dining table, the sofa color, etc. 

Holly Waterfield, principal designer at The Brooklyn Home Company (opens in new tab), turned this teeny studio into a light-filled, minimalist dream. She explains, 'The first step when decorating a studio is to configure your bed. If you have an open wall, you can consider a Murphy bed which leaves the entire space for living. If incorporating a bed within a space, make sure you tie the bedding, pillows, and headboard into the design of the living area so the room appears cohesive. I love adding large pillows to a bed making it a comfortable place to sit during the day.'

'In general, when designing a studio you want everything to have multiple purposes. For example, you can position a dresser in a way that it also serves as a side table, and daybeds are always great. Adding a large, floor-length mirror reflects light and also helps to create the illusion of more space. Bookshelves or screens can be used to divide the room and provide privacy if preferred, but I recommend only using one rug as two breaks up the design.' 

'Smaller-scale furniture is preferable. In this studio, we used a love seat instead of a sofa so that the scale of the furniture matched the scale of the apartment. I do however recommend selecting one or two larger pieces of art. This will be more impactful than several smaller-scale pieces.'

3. Zone your space with clever layouts and levels 

Raised bed in open plan apartement

(Image credit: Montse Garriga Grau)

Studio layout ideas, and specifically how you zone the space are key to creating a bedroom that doesn't feel like it's just a bed standing in the middle of an open plan kitchen. 

'Studio apartments can be tough to layout. But like every room I set out to design, it's all about zones.' explains designer Emily Henderson (opens in new tab). 'Have a bed zone, a living room zone, and a dining zone at minimum. Then make sure the majority of your larger pieces are multifunctional. For example, can your coffee table double as storage? It probably should. Lastly, use your vertical space to free up your floor. Basically, be strategic with every design decision to maximize the space you have.'

In this apartment the bedroom area, which double as extra seating and storage (there's your multifunctionality), it's the different level that makes it feel more like its own separate room. It's by no means a loft bed, but even just taking the sleep space a few extra inches off the floor distinguishes it from the rest of the room.

4. Cocoon a bed space so it feels like a retreat

Open plan studio apartment in converted garage

(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

This gorgeous studio was originally a garage. Hard to imagine right? But designer Marie Flanigan (opens in new tab) turned this small space into an elegant apartment with a floorplan that makes every room feel like its own – note how the bedroom is tucked away into its own light-filled alcove?

'When I started designing my garage studio apartment, I wanted to create a true guest experience in this small but might space. The garage apartment is not connected to the house, so it was incredibly important that the space was outfitted with all the necessities of a home. I didn’t want guests running back and forth between the main house and garage apartment for coffee, laundry, etc. I was able to create a floorplan that reflected how I envisioned my guests using and living in the space.' explains Marie. 

'In an open space, like this apartment, it was important to create multiple vignettes that elicited the feeling of space and directed flow. The apartment includes several designated areas like the kitchen, breakfast table, which doubles as a workspace, the pantry (opens in new tab) and coffee bar, laundry, bathroom, and of course, the bed. I wanted the bed to be slightly offset from the rest of the floorplan. This allows guests to feel like they’re retreating to the bedroom, despite being a part of one space. I knew a queen bed would fit perfectly while creating a beautiful visual backed by natural light and soft window treatments.'

5. Get the lighting right in a studio bedroom

Small apartment bedroom with statement lighting

(Image credit: Interior Fox)

'A studio apartment has so many hats to wear all at once, so it’s really important that every inch is accounted for. With careful storage elements and creative thinking, you’ll be surprised at how much you can achieve in even the smallest of spaces. The best way to make the space feel larger is to zone the different areas. There are a few ways to do this, from the furniture, textured rugs or even art or painted walls.' explains Jen and Marr, founders of Interior Fox (opens in new tab).

But their top tip and what was a major consideration when designing the bedroom area of this apartment was bedroom lighting (opens in new tab). 'When designing the bedroom, it’s important to make an area that feels cozy and inviting. A table lamp or wall light is a bedside essential for a glow that cocoons the space, while a room divider gives the feeling of privacy, and is light enough to move out of the way when you want to open up the room.'

6. Make use of clever room dividers

a privacy room divider in a small apartment

(Image credit: Eric Laignel)

Room dividers work wonders to add extra privacy to a studio bedroom. Of course, they add to the whole zoning a layout concept, but they also make the bedroom feel more like its own space – somewhere to retreat to. Plus it can be nice not to have to stare at the kitchen from your bed.

There are loads of designs out there, some more permanent than others. A Crittall-style glass screen as used in this space designed by design studio Messana O’Rorke (opens in new tab) is always going to look dreamy, plus they don't break up that lovely open feel of a studio apartment. But if you are renting or want a more temporary solution, drapes can create a lovely cocooning effect around a studio bedroom and can be pushed to the side when not in use. 

7. Create unity with a wallpaper

small studio apartment with statement blue bed

TILDA sofa 2LG x Love your home, LUCA bed and ottoman 2LG x Love your home, Buckley wallpaper 2LG for Graham & Brown

(Image credit: 2LG Studio)

While we have focused a lot on how to zone a studio bedroom, the Studio 2LG team (opens in new tab) believes it's also important to create unity throughout the space, be that through color, flooring, or, in this case, a bold bedroom wallpaper that runs through the entire space.

'Studio bedrooms are all about making the functions super clear. Here we used our own illustrative wallpaper design to unify the space, then accented it with blue upholstery and tan velvet to clearly define the functions.' explains Russell Whitehead co-founder of the design studio. 

A color-blocked wall houses the media and TV whilst practical and modern furniture with black frames, nods to the line drawing design of the wallpaper. You don’t have to compromise on pattern and color.'

How can you layout a studio bedroom?

This will depend on the shape and size of your space. Plus whether you like a really open plan feel with each 'room' flowing into the other, or you want to zone your apartment so it has more of a broken plan feel.

When it comes to the bedroom layout, however, chances are you'll want to carve out a bit of sleep space that feels separate from the area you cook and eat in. So in terms of layout, we'd suggest you use furniture to mimic where walls would normally be. Now we are saying build a fort around your bed with your closet and bedside tables, but just a cleverly placed dresser that creates a corridor between two spaces will work. 

Or even break the rules and use your headboard as the divider, facing it away from the middle of the room – this is ideal for making your bedroom feel more like a bedroom once you are in it too, nothing reminds you you live in a studio space quite like staring at the washing up you've been ignoring while trying to fall asleep. 

How can you style a studio bedroom?

The best approach when styling a studio bedroom is to treat it like any other modern bedroom. You still want to bring in plenty of your own style adding character and personality, but the one difference we would say be aware of is how all your decor decisions are going to look when you take in the open-plan space as a whole. 

If your studio bedroom is behind a divider or if you have a loft bed, you don't need to worry so much about the cohesiveness of the space. But when your bedroom is out in the open consider how your bedlinen will look with your sofa cushions, how your wall art will fit in with any wall decor in your living room. Decorate a studio bedroom with the entire space in mind.

Hebe is the Digital Editor of Livingetc; she has a background in lifestyle and interior journalism and a passion for renovating small spaces. You'll usually find her attempting DIY, whether it's spray painting her whole kitchen, don't try that at home, or ever changing the wallpaper in her hallway. Livingetc has been such a huge inspiration and has influenced Hebe's style since she moved into her first rental and finally had a small amount of control over the decor and now loves being able to help others make decisions when decorating their own homes. Last year she moved from renting to owning her first teeny tiny Edwardian flat in London with her whippet Willow (who yes she chose to match her interiors...) and is already on the lookout for her next project.