03/28/2011 05:27 pm ET Updated May 28, 2011

Ask Xorin: Studio Strategies

"Ask Xorin" is a weekly home and self improvement column created by award-winning architectural conservator, designer and philanthropist Xorin Balbes and best selling author Sandra Bark. For more info visit the official TempleHome website.

Dear Xorin,

I am a green marketing consultant, and when my company moved, so did I. When I swapped Boston for Denver, I also traded my narrow apartment for a loft-style studio. My new pad is basically a large square with the kitchen along one wall. Right now, my bed is in the far left corner and my couch is along the back wall, facing the kitchen and the round kitchen table.

I am new to living in one room! Is it important to separate my living space from my sleeping space? If so, what are the best ways to do so without creating extra bulk or blocking light?

Dena in Denver

Dear Dena,

Separating your sleeping space from your living space can be a challenge in a studio apartment that doesn't have a built-in alcove -- particularly when the room is square instead of rectangular or off-shaped. But it is a worthy challenge, and one that deserves your consideration!

Your email mentions a move and a career -- but you don't reference a partner. Whether you've left someone behind who may be coming to visit or you are a single woman ready to take on a new city, I imagine that you'll want not only to create the feeling of differentiated spaces but having a space that can be romantic.

Romance can happen in view of the dishwasher, of course, but feeling like one is in a distinctly romantic environment calls for some maneuvering in a studio, a loft-style studio, or a loft. People often manage this by building a low wall or getting a screen that blocks the view.

Since you want to avoid adding bulk or blocking light, I'd recommend getting a four poster bed that is draped with sheer fabric which will encourage a feeling of privacy, romance and intimacy.

When we change the size of our environments, whether we are scaling up or scaling down, adding a floor or moving from two floors to one room, we become more conscious of how we occupy space and what we use it for. I hope you use this time wisely and well, learning more about who you are and what you want as you decide what parts of your life you want to focus on in your new apartment.

Keep me apprised of your progress.

Yours in the journey


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