Episode No. 308

Small Apartment Makeover


Vivian and Dominic met while studying in England and now share a one bedroom one bathroom apartment in San Francisco that has to hold both of their lives and serve many functions, but things have been very challenging. With a severe lack of surface area to prep in their kitchen, limited places to study, inadequate storage, and a lack of comfortable seating, Dominic and Vivian are having to constantly rearrange their crowded space. As they begin their life together in San Francisco, they are hoping that the IKEA Home Tour Squad can help them transform their space and get settled. By creating separate living areas into the apartment's design, the Squad will be able to bring in elements of a much larger house. Using the Home Tour Squad's small apartment ideas, Vivian and Dominic will create an efficient, welcoming space with plenty of storage and reclaim their home as they begin building a life together.

Behind the Design

Multi-Functional Small Space Living

Vivian and Dominic recently moved in together in downtown San Francisco. They were so excited to start a new chapter together but found that their new small studio apartment wasn’t cutting it for their busy lives. With so many activities happening in the apartment, our goal was to create an organized, functional and comfortable space that truly reflected Vivian and Dominic’s style so they could start living a better life in their home.

Learn more about the design


When tackling any space, one of the most important questions you can ask yourself is, “what do I really want to do in this space?” For Vivian and Dominic, they wanted to lounge, study, work, socialize, cook and store their belongings. By breaking activities into zones, we were able to create spaces for television and lounging (1), study (2), food prep (3), and kitchen organization (4), while incorporating smart storage solutions throughout.

Television and Lounging

When you have a small studio, multi-functional and flexible furniture is key. The addition of the FRIHETEN sofa was perfect for Vivian and Dominic because it gave them plenty of room to relax and watch movies together or entertain friends and family. The sofa also pulls out to be a queen bed which is perfect for overnight guests, and the hidden storage under the chaise is just what Dominic and Vivian needed for their extra linens. The addition of the LALLERÖD coffee table fit well with the classic industrial design of the space while providing additional storage in the metal basket below. Now, when Vivian is ready for a yoga session, she can simply roll the coffee table to the side of the sofa, creating plenty of room to stretch out.


Dining tables can be a great alternative to a traditional work desk. For Dominic’s study space, we opted to use the BJURSTA dining table, which expands, allowing him to spread out his study materials when needed. The petit size of the table also leaves enough space to move around comfortably in the studio. The nearby closets, once disorganized and cluttered got a total overhaul with the ALGOT storage system. Now Vivian and Dominic have a way to efficiently organize all the things they need to store in the space and Dominic’s study materials, printer, school work, and text books are right at his fingertips.

Food Prep

The STENTORP kitchen island is Vivian’s favorite addition. It provides a large surface area for preparing and eating dinner without having Dominic’s textbooks in the way. The large storage shelves on the back side of the island hold all the larger items that were taking up precious counter space before the makeover and the addition of two RASKOG stools transform the island into an additional workspace for Vivian and Dominic.

Kitchen Organization

Vivian and Dominic’s kitchen needed some help, but the changes needed didn’t require a complete remodel. The kitchen doesn’t have any drawers which was causing the counter tops to clutter up with utensils, cooking accessories, and everything else that didn’t have a spot. By installing a couple of FINTORP rails below the upper cabinets, we were able to provide a dedicated space for all of those small kitchen items and finally free up that valuable counter space. Now with the kitchen counters clear (plus a new kitchen island), Vivian and Dominic have plenty of space to enjoy their cooking hobby without a struggle.

With a little planning and team work, we were able to collaborate with Vivian and Dominic to transform their disorganized and gloomy studio into the comfortable, organized and inviting haven they’d been dreaming of. It goes to show that working with a small space and a challenging layout doesn’t mean you can’t find the perfect solutions to help you stay organized and live more comfortably. In the end, we walked away from this makeover being reminded of the importance of togetherness and we take pride knowing that Vivian and Dominic are living a better life together in their home.

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