A Refreshing New Look For a Tiny Studio Unit

See how functional pieces and the right wallpaper can transform a dull space

Original Article: Sunshine Selga Funa Photography: Michael Angelo Chua (Before) and Hans Fausto (After) Styling: Tala Singson Interior Designer: Van Acuna Solana

All of us want to come home to a nice and organized space after a long day. However, how can relaxing be possible if a cluttered area welcomes you back? In this studio unit, the living area not only lacks function, it’s far from being comfortable, too. Boxes take up floor space, a dining table looks out of place, and there are no seating pieces where one can settle in and take a breather.

To help improve the home, interior designer Van Acuna-Solana worked her magic. After identifying what needs to be done in the space, she brought in key pieces and defined the living area with a lovely wallpaper. Since a washing machine dominates the kitchen, the designer also made a few adjustments in the cooking space to make it suitable for prepping meals and storing essentials. To achieve the calm, minimalist feel the owner wanted—a neutral color scheme was chosen for the space, with a few pops of color here and there to keep it from being plain.

Living Area

Storage and comfort were addressed in transforming the living area. To improve the space, Van added a three-seater sofa and a chest of drawers from Blims Fine Furniture. The sofa can now accommodate guests and even serve as a lounge area where the owner and her son can bond and relax.

One of the first things you’ll notice upon entrance to the unit is the leaf-patterned wallpaper from Studio Eleven that defines the living area. Aside from complementing the neutral colors used on the walls, it gives the unit a light and airy vibe that’s reminiscent of parks and outdoor areas.


Before the makeover, a folding dining table and a couple of plastic chairs were placed on the left side of the unit to serve as storage. To make this corner more efficient, Van removed the pieces and replaced them with functional items. A mirror was installed to create depth and expand the space, while the glass-topped sideboard under it can be used to display photos and store belongings. The designer decided to keep the refrigerator in the same spot due to the limited space.

Van prioritized storage in the unit to make sure the owners have enough space where they can keep their essentials. This chest of drawers can be used to store magazines, extra linen, and other knickknacks.


Three things had to be addressed in the kitchen—the need for a proper dining nook, enough storage for essentials, and a clever way to conceal the washing machine. To create an improved cooking area, Van had drawers built where kitchen items can be kept in place. Since the space only had one overhead cabinet, she had custom-built cupboards installed where pantry items can be stored and organized.

Meanwhile, to solve the lack of dining nook and storage for the washing machine, Van had a bigger kitchen counter made. With the addition of two stools from Blims, the owner and her son now have a bright and cheerful area where they can enjoy meals.


To make sure the kitchen will match the new look of the unit, Van had a backsplash installed. This feature made use of dark subway tiles from Felport, as well as grout, water proofing, and adhesives from ABC Building Materials.

Ready for your own makeover? Get in touch with interior designer Van Acuna-Solana through e-mail at: vanacuna[at]

Read the original article ("Warm Welcome") in the May 2017 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

*Ed's note: Final cost does not include designer's fee.

How Much It Costs:

Blims Fine Furniture
Furniture - P 60,574
Studio Eleven
Wallpaper - P 6,700
Tiles - P 4,000
ABC Building Materials
Grout, water proofing, and adhesive - P
Labor and other materials - P 30,000
Grand Total:

More on

An Eight-Day Makeover for a Bare Concrete House

A Plain Sleeping Space Turned Into a Pinterest-Worthy Bedroom

An Old Shared Bedroom Turned Into A Functional Personal Space


Latest Stories

This Lady's Closet Is 3,000 Square Feet In Size

Would you believe this enormous closet has three floors of designer bags and clothes, and a champagne bar, too?

The Birdhouse in El Nido Is A Paradise on Its Own

Elevate your island experience in this boutique glamping hotel that offers not just a breathtaking view, but a close encounter with nature, too

Take A Peek Inside The Beach Houses and Resorts Owned by Celebs

These relaxing sanctuaries are perfect for well-deserved vacations

The Multitasking Kitchen Appliance You Need at Home

With this on your countertop, you can accomplish tons of tasks in a breeze

We’ve Discovered 5 New Stores for Your Plant Needs

Tap the Instagram icon on your phone and give these shops a follow

There’s More To This Mysterious Island Than The Moriones Festival

Many visit Marinduque for its famous Holy Week festival, but the MIMAROPA island is a treasure trove of heritage homes, artistry, and delicious food.

8 Cultural Spots in Negros You Can Visit This Summer

This Southern region holds many (sweet!) surprises such as a bakery in a centuries-old building and an art gallery in an ancestral house

Get Fresh, Tropical-Filipino Inspiration From This Store

These pieces will remind you of nostalgic summers in your lolo and lola's home

5 Ways To Redecorate Your Home Without Shopping

For starters, you can try these pro-approved tips

Avoid A High Electricity Bill This Summer While Keeping Your Home Cool

You don't need to leave the AC unit turned on 24/7

How I Moved Out of the Family Home and Survived Living Alone

A young photojournalist shares the triumphs and struggles of living independently

This House in Pasig Has Been Under Renovation For Years

Architect Pierre Briones transformed a dated property into a stunning home filled with wooden touches, designer pieces, and handpicked accessories
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!