Episode No. 405

A Studio Apartment for Retirement Living


In episode 405 of the IKEA Home Tour Series, the Squad visits Kathleen, an accomplished woman who's recently retired. Now that Kathleen has retired, she decided to downsize from a one bedroom to a studio apartment in New York City in Manhattan. She went from an 800 square foot home to a 400 square foot studio, meaning that she has literally cut her space in half!. One of the most difficult parts of transitioning was letting go of old furniture that was too bulky to fit into her new home. While that was challenging enough, Kathleen continued to feel uncomfortable by her new layout. Kathleen's dream is to spend her retirement living creatively. Clutter impedes her thinking process, so she wanted organization to live in a more streamlined fashion. What she wanted was a flow to her apartment, and that's what the Squad came in to provide. The Squad started by dividing her space into an office, reading nook, living room area, and bedroom. The living room features several BESTÅ storage combinations, and serves as her entertainment center, as well as, providing ample wall storage overhead. Because the BESTÅ storage cabinets are completely customizable, the Squad was able to create the perfect layout for Kathleen by measuring her wall space and selecting the right amount (and style) of cabinets. Together, the Squad and Kathleen decided on high gloss, light gray/green cabinets to wrap around the corner of her studio apartment to further define her living room space. The BESTÅ storage units eliminated the clutter in Kathleen's home, while providing a clean, modern look. Plus, the storage units feature soft close doors so they won't damage what's inside them. Additionally, the OMLOPP / ANSLUTA undercabinet lighting provides a gentle pool of light for that area of the apartment. She can adjust the lighting with the ANSLUTA remote control which has two different light settings to fit the mood: high lighting for when she's hosting guests and soft lighting for when she's watching a movie with her entertainment center. When the remote is not in use, she can store it in her new GRANBODA nesting tables. These nesting tables are perfect for her small space as they can easily slide in and out from each other, able to extend the table space or tuck away when not in use. Meanwhile her VIMLE loveseat acts as a living room divider with the backrest lining up with the edge line of the BESTÅ storage combination. The entire living room section of her studio apartment is tied together with a rectangular BRÖNDEN carpet. Kathleen's study is made up of a STRANDMON wing chair -- which offers excellent back support -- and sits adjacent to her BILLY / OXBERG bookcase. The BILLY / OXBERG bookcase is perfect for displaying her collection, but keeping her house free from clutter. Opposite the study is Kathleen's office space which is perfectly defined with a BEKANT corner desk (left variation) to maximize the useable space. Adjacent to her desk is a GALANT storage combination with filing, the edge of which helps define the office space from the living room. Finally, for the bedroom section, the Home Tour Squad set up a VIDGA corner solution with one pair of AINA curtains. Now that the Squad has given her studio apartment a makeover, Kathleen can enjoy the kind of creative retirement living she envisioned for herself.

Behind the Design

Downsizing and Ready for Retirement

Two years ago, Kathleen decided to simplify her life to support her retirement by downsizing to a 400 square foot studio apartment in New York City. As much as she wanted to love the new space, things were still a bit of a disappointment for her. After multiple attempts to purge her unneeded belongings, Kathleen still found that books, knickknacks and misc. clutter evenly spread throughout her space, serving as a constant source of stress and a reminder that things weren’t complete.

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Floor Plan

It’s important set priorities when tackling the layout and design of any space. For Kathleen, it was very important to her that the work area face the large picture window. Taking this in consideration, we organized the room into 3 major zones: (1) Living Room area (2) Workspace (3) Reading Nook.

Living Room

Kathleen desired to have friends and family over but was too embarrassed by the clutter to extend an invitation. Using the BESTÅ storage series, together with the SELVIKEN doors, she is able to hide away personal items in a stylish and functional way. By placing the cabinets in an asymmetrical pattern on the wall, Kathleen gained space to display her favorite artwork and decorative items. And the VIMLE loveseat provides plenty of comfortable seating for visitors.


Now that she’s retired, Kathleen wants to be more creative with her free time and active in her community. Having the GALANT storage cabinets and the BEKANT desk will allow her to be more organized. With everything close at hand and easy to find, she’ll be ready to go when inspiration strikes.

Reading Nook

Kathleen loves to read but she was missing a comfortable space where she could escape from the stress of the day while getting lost in a great book. The BILLY bookcase gives her more space for all her books while protecting them from dust. The STRANDMON chair will provide a comfortable seat for all those hours of reading.

For so long, Kathleen felt frustrated and unsettled in her studio apartment. But with a little teamwork and some simple solutions, she finally has an organized and peaceful space where she can fully enjoy her retirement years; a home where she can be creative and feel proud to invite friends and family.

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