Tips and Guides

5 Makeover Ideas for Studio Units

Transform a plain and boring space into a stylish and comfortable home

Original Article: Bubbles Salvador Photography: Michael Angelo Chua (Studio Unit) Pictorial Direction: Tala Singson

When it comes to compact living, practical choices and smart solutions are important to make the most of the available floor area. If you’ve recently moved into your own place, you might be at a crossroad when it comes to choosing furniture and finalizing the layout.

Take for example this studio unit owned by an editor—it’s functional and filled with the basics, but she wants to turn the space into a welcoming home that would inspire her to rest and stay in instead of going out. To give her an idea on how to best work with the space she has, interior designer Erika Uichanco shares these tips and insights: 

Current Situation

The studio unit has a reasonable size and a big kitchen. A partition separates the cooking corner from the sleeping spaces, while a mirror was added to create an illusion of bigger area.

The place highlights a neutral palette and parquet flooring—safe but plain choices for the owner who loves mountain climbing and traveling abroad.

The Solution:

To help the owner maximize the unit and turn it into a home she and her sister would love to come home to, interior designer Erika Uichanco suggests the following:

1. Rethink the layout.

Since the kitchen is barely used, Erika thought of knocking down the partition and carving out living and dining areas in the space. Doing this would make the studio even more functional—giving the owners defined spots for eating and entertaining guests.

2. Finalize a look or theme.

Depending on your lifestyle, choose a style that you're most comfortable with—is it minimalist? Industrial? Country? For this studio, Erika decided to go with a laid-back Brooklyn-inspired look featuring wood, bricks, and streamlined furniture.

3. Opt for light furniture and interesting finishes.

Don't let the small space stop you from having a home that's filled with character and unique touches! Erika suggests working with pieces that can be moved around easily like poufs and ottomans. Since these are multipurpose, you can use it as storage or extra seating when you have guests.

Aside from bricks, the designer also shares that you can liven up the home using wall stickers, wallpaper, and faux finishes. In this unit, she envisioned a glass divider to let light in while the use of wood makes it more homey.

RL Tip: Looking for just the right must-haves for your home? Home Matters offers customized pieces while Dimensione carries a lot of items that you can add to the different parts of your space.

4. Work with a neutral palette and experiment with different accessories.

Since neutral colors dominate the space, it would be easy for the owner to go bold with the accessories and decor. From area rugs, vases, and graphic pillows—she can mix and match! Since she loves to travel, she can also showcase a few souvenirs.

5. Make the look seamless with a consistent color palette.

When decorating and furnishing your space, make sure that you use the same colors in the different parts of the home for a cohesive look. In this unit, Erika plans to showcase wood through open shelves in the kitchen and a desk in the living room. Even accent colors are seen through silver furnishings and black accessories. "They make the space look unified and cohesive, without any color overpowering the other," she shares.

This special feature originally appeared in the September 2015 issue of Real Living Magazine. Minor edits have been made by the editors. Log on to for more details.

More on

4 Common Condo Unit Types

4 Styling Ideas for a Studio Unit

A Small Home Makeover for P90,000


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