How to use zones — in any size home — to maximize your space and style.

Share story

Studio spaces and one-room living are increasingly common, especially in urban areas. Ranging typically from 250–500 square feet, it’s important to make sure every inch counts.

Enter the concept of zones. Zoning is a design technique in which space is defined by its function, rather than merely doors or walls. For example, a large outdoor space can be broken into zones for dining, entertaining, lounging and grilling.

This design concept can be translated to nearly any space. For example, a master bedroom can be divided into zones that may include an area for sleeping, an area for dressing and a seating or reading area for relaxation.

When it comes to one-room living, the concept of zones plays a particularly critical role. In a small space, you must be able to sleep, eat and relax, so  proper space planning is important.

Here’s a look at how to maximize your zones for both space efficiency and style.


Even in a studio space, allow your sleep area to have its own space, if possible. It will create a more relaxing environment. Placing a bed within a nook or on a short wall can help to define the space without taking up too much room.

When it comes to bedding, think white and bright — and attractive enough for guests to see.

You can further define your rest space with soothing artwork and comfy throw pillows. Curtains and moveable room dividers can be employed if you need a little extra pivacy.


After a long day, it is important to have a place to unwind and potentially entertain guests. This is where the lounge zone comes into play. Whether your space is large or small, it is important, when possible, to carve out a lounge area.

This can be achieved by adding an apartment-sized sofa or small coffee table, so that you have places to perch that don’t overwhelm the space.

Add finishing touches, such as layers of lighting and accessories that show your personality, as this is the spot guests will most focus on.


In smaller spaces, figuring out where to eat is often a challenge. Although you could eat at the coffee table, if you want to host a guest, planning a more formal dining area will be more comfortable and impressive.

Dining tables don’t have to be large in scale, and round tables work particularly well in smaller spaces, as they are easier to maneuver around. Add two padded chairs and the table can also multitask as a desk.

Glass or other transparent materials help to visually make a space feel more open and airy, so consider a glass-top table or acrylic chairs that will “disappear” from sight.