I want to share with you a How to Design a Small Rental Apartment, We are actually in my apartment in lower Manhattan. It’s my little nutshell decorating lab. And the basis of my blog and book. In 20 years, I’ve lived in about a dozen small space apartments. But along the way, I really have road tested what works and what doesn’t for small space living. So I’m always fighting the good fight against clutter. So as soon as I walk in the front door after a long day, my mail lands here. And these are just rubber boating straps. I always like to use untapped design resources ’cause it’s cheap. And also it gives your space a unique touch.
So in my one bedroom apartment, I created all these different living zones so that there’s a nice flow and a sense of dimension in the space. And this kitchen flows right into the living room, so I wanted to give it a visual division. And I did that by using caviar tins. They’re brand new, so I didn’t have to deal with the clean up. But I liked using them as a collection to make a real bold style statement on this wall. I guess I got kind of crazy about chalkboard paint, ’cause it really comes in all these vibrant colors. I didn’t know that. I used it for my back splash. And since I like typography so much, that is actually an equations for a hard-boiled egg.
So every time I look at it, it makes me smile.
So my first approach here in this apartment was with color. And I actually went dark and chose grays for the wall. But by choosing a cooler color on the color wheel, it actually tricks the eye into thinking that walls recede and go further back than they really do. And so my living room does look a little larger than it really is. Right here is my living room slash home office, and it has to really function as a home office. This is a six foot desk where I do all of my work at home, all my blogging. It doubles as a buffet table for parties. It doesn’t take up visual real estate, because it is clear. When I moved into this apartment, it had no architectural interest at all. It was pretty much a featureless box. I’m a renter, and most renters have these ugly folding closet doors.
I decided to use artist’s stretcher bars to create my own paneled moulding on the closet doors. And I used removable picture hanging strips so I can take it with me when I move to my next space. So we’re in my bedroom. And the ceilings are really high. I liked keeping it white, but I wanted to have a little bit of dimension and art on the walls. So I found this really great artist, his name is Tord Boontje and loved his paper die cut curtain. So I hung a couple panels on the wall with just a few tacks, so that I can take it with me when I leave. Shoes just seem to take over my space.
So I am always looking for storage solutions, and one of them is to hang them on the wall. All my favorite pairs hang on these light weight polyurethane strips. I hang them with removable picture hanging strips. It’s strong enough to hold the shoes without any damage to the walls. I created my own floor lamps out of wall decals. The trick here is the fact that I found out from my hardware store that a flashlight wall caddy fits a lamp cord perfectly. And there you have it, 3D floor lamp that takes up zero floor space. And voila! I really try to fight clutter along the way. But I realized I have to create storage solutions that look great and are really easy to maintain or I’m not going to do it. And I’m always tricking myself into being neat and tidy, cause it’s not natural for me at all.