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A space for work, rest and entertaining

01 January 2016

When Antonio started university, he wanted to give his childhood bedroom more of a self-contained studio feel – somewhere to study, sleep, relax and hang out with his friends. We asked stylist Johanna Flyckt-Gashi to help him find easy ways to make the same floorspace do twice as much.

Turning a bedroom into a studio, so it can be used in different ways
Antonio, an engineering student from Lisbon

‘I spend a lot of time in my bedroom so it’s great that the room feels a lot lighter now, it makes it nicer to study in. It also feels cosier which I think my friends will like when they come round.’

Antonio, engineering student, Lisbon


Think about the space you have available: a small desk set away from a wall will help free up space


Pushing a desk against the wall isn’t always the best way to use your space. ‘I wanted to look out of the window while I was studying, so we turned the desk to face it. Now, if I open my curtains, I can see the old church outside.’ Downsizing your desk can also be a good way to free up space, without losing storage options. ‘Part of the reason we swapped my big desk for something smaller was to create somewhere for me to add a sofabed. I haven’t lost out though – I have a new set of drawers under my desk so I still have plenty of space to store my papers.’

A mix of traditional and modern pieces, with open storage
Personal belongings add colour and interest
A blend of new and old to bring personality


Opt for open storage to make the space feel bigger and brighter. Mix traditional furniture with stripped-back modern pieces, to keep the room’s personality and add practicality. ‘I didn’t want to get rid of too much of the old stuff – I like that this apartment is full of my family’s inherited furniture – but I also didn’t want too much of it in my room!’

A downsized desk enables the space to function as a second sleeping area


Antonio wanted an extra bed where friends can sleep when they stay over, and a comfortable place to sit. His loft bed meant he already had the space underneath it to create a room within a room but to make the most of it, Johanna downsized his study area by putting in a smaller desk and added a sofa bed and laptop table that can double as a coffee table in the space it created. ‘Now I can read or sit with my tablet at the coffee table, and just use my desk for studying. It makes it easier to take a break!’

An open rail allows the historic tiles to show through


Rethink what furniture you need. Antonio doesn’t have many hanging clothes, so Johanna replaced his large, barely used closet with an open rail. ‘Now there’s much more light and the room feels more spacious. The other closet kind of invaded the space, and I like seeing the old tiles on the wall.’

Antique pieces sit alongside modern touches

‘I love tradition, so it’s cool to keep some of the old cabinets in my room – they’re part of the decoration’