I shared my (roughly 10x20 sqft) studio with a roommate for about 3 years, and in the process learned the following important lessons:


Think imaginary separators when there aren't real ones

The key is to have spaces that are out of each other's immediate line of sight. Because we needed two work areas because we were both students with very irregular schedules, we placed them on opposite sides of the room so that the distance essentially created a wall cutting across the kitchen. This made it feel almost as if we were working in separate rooms (especially with headphones on). The vertical space also let us kinda of create our own bedrooms, because the different levels facilitated some sort of quasi-privacy.


Have storage, lots of separate storage

Both beds have very deep drawers, the bookshelf is deep enough for textbooks (and doesn't go taller 'cause I'm short) and there are two small dressers in the bathroom closet area. But that's almost secondary to the important part, which was that despite us not quite having the same amount of stuff, storage was always parsed out equally. We got the drawers under our bed, one side of the bookshelf (top shelf given over to shared apartment stuff) , one dresser, one closet rod and even one coat hook each. This rule forced us to limit the stuff in the apartment to what would fit, and helped us keep the clutter down to what could be shoved in a bookshelf.

Multiple forms of lighting are also crucial


Besides simultaneously needing task lighting, having lamps of all sorts around meant we could turn off the main light when one person needed to pull an all-nighter and the other needed to crash.

As is furniture that's compact, multifunctional, and easily movable



The main reason we chose a desk that's a simple table is that we wanted something we could also use as a dining table if the need arose. That never happened because the dining table sits 4 and it's hard to fit more than that many people in the place, but the lightness of the desk also made it really easy to move into the window nook whenever we had people sleeping over. This allowed us to comfortably give our guest enough space that we weren't tripping over her.

And have lots of easy ways to keep it clean

So the shoe rug is mostly 'cause I was raised in a shoes off home, but also 'cause in a tiny space, it contains the shoes and their dirt to a set rectangle. The multiple large bins (trash, paper, plastic) also encourage stuff to get sorted immediately. There are also loads of cleaning supplies tucked away in corners and under the sink.


Random note:

Color-coded kitchen stuff is because I keep kosher. My scheme is blue/black for dairy, red/purple/beige for meat, and green/white for parve (anything not dairy or meat). I use sharpies and electrical tape to color code anything stainless/wood/ziploc.