This 26sqm Studio Unit Can Accommodate More Than 5 People

The creatives behind Upcycle Manila worked with multifunctional furniture and a neutral palette to turn a small space into a cozy and comfortable guest house

Photography: Dairy Darilag Styling: Kamila Arianna Garcia Interior Designer: Jiezl Sunga Design Consultant: Upcycle Manila

One would think that it’s quite easy to transform a tiny space into a warm and inviting home. Since there’s only a limited area to work with, choosing the furniture pieces will be quick. After all, you can effortlessly make it extra snug by adding pillows and throws. However, as the famous adage does, it’s easier said than done. Working with small spaces is always challenging (and fun!).

The owners of this 26sqm studio in Taguig wanted to use the space as a guest house for their relatives and also as a rental unit. To make this happen, they worked with Upcycle Manila, a store that offers interior design services, refurbishing, and bespoke furniture pieces. “The initial challenge was how we can propose a layout that will complement the design without sacrificing the comfort of the people staying in the unit,” says JL Sunga, marketing manager of Upcycle Manila.

Finding the balance between comfort and proper use of space became the driving force behind the unit’s improvement. “The inspiration for the unit is how we’ll be able to maximize the space and design smart furniture and layout, while giving equal emphasis on form and function,” says JL. With the final look, we won’t be surprised if the owners’ friends would want to stay in the unit longer. It seems to invite you to relax, settle in, and get uninterrupted sleep.

Sleeping Area

The unit’s main sleeping area features two beds that can be combined to create one huge bed when needed. Natural light streams in through the big window, adding to the airy feel of the space.

Sleeping Area

The focal point of the home’s design are the wood slats used as ceiling accent, room partition, and media nook/display cabinet. As seen from this angle, a partition in dark wood finish holds the TV. Opting for slats proved to be a wise decision. “It promotes proper airflow since the unit only has one provision for an AC,” shares JL.

Sleeping Area

Don’t let your eyes deceive you! Two corner tables were cleverly placed between the beds to hold a lamp with a beautiful geometric base, a few books, and other accessories. These tables are separable and movable to allow the owners to create one big bed or change the layout of the home easily.

Design Detail

The partition also functions as a display cabinet that holds décor pieces, plants, and other accessories. It can be transformed into a bookshelf, too.

Living Area

A few steps from the sleeping space is the compact living area furnished with a sofa that can function as a bed. Beside it is the dinette that can accommodate two people. Also known as informal dining area, a dinette is a nook found in or near the kitchen that’s used for meals.

Living Area

A section of the partition that holds the TV can be rotated so that guests can watch shows and movies whether they’re in the living or sleeping area. The other side of the section features framed wall accents to keep the looking from being too plain. Meanwhile, a slim cabinet that can be used to store clothes, shoes, and other belongings was installed in a corner. It sports the same dark wood finish for a cohesive look.

Dining Nook

Since every inch of space counts in a tiny home, the dinette is foldable to allow the owners to create extra room when working in the kitchen. When not enjoying meals and snacks, it can serve as a console or as a workstation.

While the design team used a neutral palette highlighting gray and white, they added a touch of shine into the final aesthetic by incorporating rose gold and gold accents through the chosen wallpaper and accessories. The wallpaper used in the living and dining areas feature geometric lines in white that stand out against a solid gold color. These touches add a quirky and playful appeal to the unit.

Find a similar wallpaper at Studio Eleven, MG Building, 150 Amorsolo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City. You can also follow them on Facebook.

Dining Nook

Wall-mounted ledge shelves above the dinette hold bottles of wine, a couple of glasses, and other essentials. The pieces on display can be easily updated should the owners want a new look for their space. Aside from wine and glassware, cookbooks, photos, and other knickknacks can also be put on display.


The small yet organized kitchen features a few décor pieces and only the essentials needed for prepping meals. To match the color of the cabinets and the overall palette of the home, white subway tiles were used as backsplash.


Take your cue from this unit and use dinnerware as part of your décor. For a pop of color, opt for plates and mugs in bold colors like yellow and red. If you’re going for a country-inspired aesthetic, you can purchase white tea sets with floral details or a wooden tray painted white.

Find similar pieces at SM Home.

Loved the pieces used in this unit? Follow Upcycle Manila on Facebook and Instagram.

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with Upcycle Manila through e-mail at upcyclemanila[at] or mobile at (0917) 316-2340. You can also follow them on Instagram. Visit their store at Stall CB-90, 2/L Bldg. C., Tiendesitas, Pasig City.

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