Interior Design for Living: Making a studio feel like more than one room

By SUSAN GILL SPELLMEYER

Q: I am moving to an "L" shaped studio apartment and need help arranging my furniture into the space. I'd like it to be as functional and attractive as possible.;

The pieces of furniture that I own are:

• A 84-inch sofa with two rectangular end tables and lamps;

• Two comfortable chairs;

• One 24-inch round end table with an appropriate lamp;

• One 18- by 40-inch coffee table;

• Three 48-inch-by-12-inch-by-36-inch book­cases;

• One double (54-inch) bed;

• One 36-inch-by-50-inch desk;

• One 36-iach-by-60-inch dining room table with six chairs.

There is plenty of storage space and shelves in the closets, but I could always use more, if that is at all possible.

I would consider adding a piece of furniture if necessary.

The apartment is bright and I'd like room for some large floor plants.

I'd also enjoy entertaining for dinner occasionally.

Realizing that I'm trying to accomplish a lot in a relatively small space, are there any ideas for furniture arrangement that you could suggest?

A: I think many people moving to a studio apartment would want to incorporate a list of furnishings similar to yours.

A few pieces may vary, according to personal preferences, but the approach is basically the same.

Even though the living space is essentially one room, you want to create different areas within it, so it feels like more than one room.

You want a seating area, a dining area, a study area and a sleeping area — each with its own separate function.

The seating area is most logically placed by the large windows you indicated on your plan, and the dining area should be accessible to the kitchen.

The study area for your desk works best somewhere that will be quiet.

The sleeping area also should be somewhat separate from the main living-dining areas, but close to the bathroom-dressing area.

I would use your sofa and rectangular end tables as a divider to separate the more "public" from the "private" area. I would put three open bookcases behind the sofa. This gives you the possibility of enclosed storage on the lower parts of each bookcase.

The sofa and the open bookcases, in effect, create a wall — but a wall that doesn't make the overall space look smaller because you can see through the bookcases. It will, however, create a sense of separateness, which is very desirable.

The chairs and round table form an intimate conversational grouping with the sofa. The bookcase under the window can hold plants and fits well into the space.

I would put your dining room table and four of the chairs against the kitchen wall rather than putting it in the middle of the room. This frees up a lot of space and gives the area a much more open feeling.

The table can be moved out easily, away from the wall, when you want to entertain.

The other two dining room chairs would be used at the desk in the study area and in the sleeping area. They are functional for every­day use, but can be pulled up to the table when extra seating is needed. The second bookcase, on the side wall in the dining area, can hold a small light with a mirror above it. This is not only useful close to the entrance of the apartment, but it could also be used as a small serving area for the dining room table.

There is plenty of open space for your floor plants and, again, it visually defines the spaces.

The desk works well tucked in the corner. It's not only separate from the main living area, but on the desk serves both.

The third bookcase at the bottom of the bed can house a small television and another plant if desired. The chair is handy for dressing and clothing and can be stored in the lower part of the bookcase units.

Throughout the apartment this arrangement of furniture works functionally.

I hope this has been helpful. Let me know if it works for you.