Decorating & Entertaining Ideas

Small-Space Makeover: A Chic 400-Square-Foot Apartment

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Let’s face it: Decorating a tiny space can be tough. When a young New Yorker was at a loss for ideas for her first apartment, our head stylist Andrew Stewart stepped up to the challenge. He transformed the studio apartment into a functional and fabulous space, which is featured in House Beautiful magazine!

Check out below the chic makeover he gave the apartment, and steal his small-space decorating tricks.

Small-Space Tip #1: Define the Entry

“In a one-room apartment, use a bold wallpaper in the entry area,” says Andrew. “It will help define it as a space separate from the living and sleeping areas. It also has a totally unexpected wow factor when you walk in.”

Small-Space Tip #2: Hang Up Style

“For any small space, a coatrack can be a versatile place to hang everyday items like a bag but also use to permanently store some coats,” Andrew explains. “I chose a clean, modern style in brass.”


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Small-Space Tip #3: Add Statement Pieces

“Choose pieces that make a statement, even in a small space,” encourages Andrew. “The Lucite chairs were perfect here. They don’t take up much space, and you can squirrel a basket under them if you need to.”

Small-Space Tip #4: Balance Storage & Display

“A bookshelf can work in two important ways in a compact apartment: first, as a storage unit, using baskets and boxes, and second, as a display area. Keep the balance two to one storage to display,” Andrew advises.

Small-Space Tip #5: Use Art to Distract

“Since the bookshelf functions as a catchall space for storage and display, adding art and objects will make it feel like less of a closet and more like a living room piece,” says Andrew.

Small-Space Tip #6: Get Sneaky with Pretty Storage

“With a small space, don’t be afraid to let your bedroom storage spill over into your living area,” Andrew says. “I tucked baskets at the bottom of the bookcase so that they’re just out of sight. No one will ever know they have winter sweaters in them.”


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Small-Space Tip #7: Divide Spaces with Furniture

“Use furniture, like this settee at the foot of the bed, to more clearly divide areas in small spaces,” says Andrew. “That way it doesn’t feel like one floating room. We layered some texture on the sofa for a richer, fuller look.”

Small-Space Tip #8: Free Up Surfaces

“Think beyond surface space,” says Andrew about compact apartment living. “Sconces can easily replace bedside lamps, as the pair did here. Things get cluttered really quickly in a small space, so maximize vertical areas wherever you can.”

Small-Space Tip #9: Maximize Forgotten Spaces

“For a tiny bedroom, under-bed storage equates to extra closet space,” Andrew says. “Use pullout bins to stow away not-in-use winter clothes and blankets. They can stay out of sight under the bed, but they’re still easy to access.”


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Join the Discussion

Join the Discussion

  • Leah R

    Who makes that leopard print wallpaper?

    • Victor Esparza

      must have ze leopard ?

    • LAB1660

      Can get many different wallcoverings from KOROSEAL in Fairlawn, Ohio.

  • illya

    Fantastic-u could even hang a curtain from ceiling in between sofa and foot of bed-i did that once.But wow this looks prestine!

  • LAB1660

    IKEA does similarly, but with far less expensive furnishings.

  • lorraine irving

    So fabulous!!!!

  • Sandra

    Does anyone know where I can get that brass wall-mounted coatrack? Not one like it, but that specific one?