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How to decorate a 17m² studio apartment

Living in small quarters doesn't have to mean sacrificing style for drab storage solutions and "it's the only thing that will fit" furniture. It just takes a little creativity. To prove that small spaces can still be stylish, Gabby Deeming and Olivia Gregory took on the challenge of decorating a 17-square-metre studio apartment. Their ingenious ways of maximising space make quite an impact...

There is no need to paint an entire small apartment bright white; colour can add real drama to small spaces. Here Farrow & Ball's Charlotte's Locks is a bold backdrop to a monochrome scheme. A mirror cleverly mimics a doorway, creating the illusion of a grander space. 

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Paul Raeside

Get the lookPaint, 'Charlotte's Locks,' £29.50 for 2.5 litres matt emulsion at . 'Brera Largo' (noir), linen, £55 a metre, at . Lacquered-wood 'Mirror Table,' by Front, for Porro, 207 x 94 x 30.5cm, €1,391, at . 

Forgo a cumbersome wardrobe for separate storage crates (Ikea is a one-stop shop) and hanging rails, which can be hidden behind a decorative curtain. 

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Paul Raeside

Get the lookPlastic-and-steel storage system, 'Antonius', 180 x 124 x 55cm, £107.78 and polyester hanging shelves, 'Skubb', £7.99, both at . Forged iron curtain pole, 'Classic' (matt black), 2.5cm diameter, 19p per centimetre, at . Curtain, 'Sofienburg' (porcelain), linen, £75 a metre at . Laminated-paperboard storage box with steel corner protectors, 'Kassett', by Jon Karlsson, £9.39 for two, at . White and orange storage boxes, 'Inge', £13 each; and black DVD box, as before, all at

The main studio room has been given an injection of personality with a graphic rug and toile wallpaper, as well as a high display shelf, which draws the eye and creates the illusion of height. In the daytime, bedlinen can be hidden away neatly in a trunk; at night, the chairs become a stylish double bed. 

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Paul Raeside
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Paul Raeside

Get the lookWallpaper, 'The Boatman', £54 a 10-metre roll, at . Curtain, 'Brera Fino' (cloud) linen, £55 a metre, at . Wool-and-nylon rug, 'Tess' (black and white), 276 x 220cm, £850 at . Sofa beds, 'Melissa', 85 x 102 x 90cm, £1,690 each, at ; covered in 'Moro' (mango), cotton mix, £71.50 a metre, at .


A cupboard kitchen takes the place of exposed kitchen units - a practical and good-looking alternative. A drop leaf dining table can be discreetly folded against a wall when not in use. 

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Paul Raeside

Get the lookPaint, '50N01', £27.50 for 2.5 litres matt emulsion, from . Bespoke MDF cupboard, by Ben Lloyd-Ennals, 200 x 104 x 60cm, from £600; painted in 'Railings', £43.50 for 2.5 litres eggshell, at ; with curtains in 'Brera Alta' (chalk), linen, £99 a metre, at . 

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Paul Raeside

Get the look'Compact Kitchen', including stainless-steel splashback with shelves and worktop with integral sink, drainer and two electric rings, £549 as pictured, at . White, wood-and-MDF drop-leaf table, by Sara Szyber, 74 x 150 x 80cm unfolded, £679.30 at . Polypropylene and reinforced-fibreglass chair, 'Piana', by David Chipperfield, 90 x 46 x 52cm, around £150 at . 

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