How to style, live in a single room

You can live in a one-roomed apartment or rental and still have interior decor of your choice. Photo by

Last year, Jonathan Byaruhanga was offered a new job opportunity by an organisation based in Makerere, a Kampala city surburb.
This, therefore, meant that he had to leave Mbarara District where he was staying and relocate to Kampala.

Upon his arrival, Byaruhanga, who was 28 years and single, immediately began searching for a rental apartment. He however, realised that the rent for most houses was high, yet, at the time, he was still struggling financially.

He then remembers asking a broker if he knew any landlord who was renting out a single room.
“I know someone,” he told Byaruhanga.

He eventually met up with the landlord. “He took me to this one room, which bears a similar design to a garage. I saw the place and liked it,” Byaruhanga says.

It is where he still stays today paying rent of Shs100,000 per month. Inside the apartment, is his bed, a sofa set, reading table, chair, and, a portable wardrobe closet. The bathroom and toilet are outside the room. On the few occasions he decides to cook, Byaruhanga prepares meals outside the room using a stove.

Living in small spaces
Byaruhanga says: “It is cheaper, plus, the arrangement has enabled him to save a lot of money as he does not have to buy unnecessary items for the room.”

“Where would I put them?” he wonders.
Stella Akurut, 25, who like Byaruhanga, lives in a single one room, says the advantage with living in a small unit is that it discourages one from filling up the room up with unnecessary items.

“It is quite difficult to clutter a small room. The space constraints you from littering things all over the place. And, it is for this reason why one is forced to be organised at all times,” she says.

Regardless of the advantages, Akurut notes that there are also challenges that surface as a result of staying in a single room occupancy.
“My biggest issue with small spaces is that you cannot easily entertain guests. It limits you so much from calling up and inviting people over to spend some time with you. I can’t, for example, let my father to come to my place. It would be like inviting him into my bedroom,” she says.

Then, there are “certain” items one can’t bring into the room because the space is simply not enough. And, in circumstances where one does not thoroughly clean up the apartment, it can become quite stuffy.

Styling a single room occupancy
Charlotte Mbabazi, an interior designer, says one of the most important considerations for a one room apartment is high levels of organisation.

“It is very important to keep everything in place. Have different spots in the room where you keep different things. For example, if you keep shoes in one corner, get another position to keep food items,” Mbabazi says, adding, “Don’t litter things all over.”
The other secret of styling small spaces is installing large mirrors.

“If you can get either one or two, that is okay. Mirrors have a tendency of making small rooms appear bigger.

“They are also helpful in reflecting light, meaning that one will be able to have sufficient light within the room. ” she says.
For vast items such as the bed or table, Mbazazi advises that one pushes them to corners of the room so as to have enough “middle ground” to walk around in the room.

And if the one room is quite large, one can consider the option of dividing it into two using privacy screens, that can be wooden, steel, or plastic. One can also use transparent room dividers such as glass.

“A number of home owners do it by the way. You partition the room so that one part is your bedroom and the other is either the kitchen or living room,” Mbabazi says.

Not forgetting, the interior designer advises individuals to consider the aspect of vertical placement while arranging their rooms. Simply, this means placing items on top of others as a way of saving space.


Priscilla Mirembe, an interior decorator, lists them as follows:

• A bed and mattress.
• A couch. This is important for visitors to sit when they visit.
• In case you are very limited by space, you can opt for a few chairs rather than the sofa set.
• A table which is instrumental during your meal hours or for placing on items like books.


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