Before & After: A Little Change Makes a Big Difference in a Small Studio

Before & After: A Little Change Makes a Big Difference in a Small Studio

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Nancy Mitchell
May 15, 2017
(Image credit: Sweeten)

Sometimes, when you're dealing with a little space, all it takes is a small change to make a big difference. When Lauren bought her Brooklyn Heights studio, it had just one small closet in the bed nook — but there was a large home office in the living room. The bed rested on a platform with storage underneath, but the storage underneath was only accessible from a trapdoor directly underneath the bed (and who wants to move the whole bed to get to their seasonal storage?). Lauren knew she wanted to renovate her kitchen and bathroom and darken the unit's floors, so, in addition, she decided to make a storage swap that would have a huge impact on the livability of her little apartment.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

The simple solution to the apartment's storage woes was this: switching the location of the closet and the workspace. There are two advantages to this approach. First, it allocates space where it's needed, making for a larger closet and a smaller workspace. Secondly, it reduces visual clutter in the main living space by moving the workspace to a more tucked-away spot.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

The storage under the bed also got an overhaul. The old platform that supported the bed, which was made of plywood, was replaced with a new one in a maple flooring that matched the rest of the apartment. In place of the not-so-convenient trap door there's now a set of drawers, which makes it much easier for Lauren to access her stuff.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

Another change to the apartment was the transformation of the unit's kitchen. Lauren really wanted a full-sized stove, so the 24" range was replaced with a 30" one. This meant that the countertops had to be replaced as well. Lauren chose a bright white quartz, to complement the existing white gloss IKEA cabinets.

(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)
(Image credit: Sweeten)

While the existing cabinets were kept in place, the kitchen also saw a few other changes, like a new sink, faucet, dishwasher, and refrigerator, and a new soffit that fills the gap between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling. The pendant lights over the bar were replaced with a single large fixture.

Added together, all these small changes make a big difference to the look and feel of Lauren's apartment. Working within the constraints of her small space, she's created a home that's light, bright, modern, and incredibly functional.

Lauren found her contractor on Sweeten, a free service matching homeowners with local general contractors. You can read more about the project, see more photos, and find sources on the Sweeten blog.

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