Small Space Lessons: Floorplan and Solutions from Bethany Kay's Penthouse Studio

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What I love about the gorgeous small spaces we've been re-visiting is that, for me, they put into perspective what's "necessary." Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for my 2,500-square foot home (which I share with a husband, two cats, a dog, and three kids). But it's refreshing to see the simplicity and beauty of these wonderful small spaces, whose owners not only make them work, but make them enviable!

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Bethany Kay's Penthouse Studio in New York, New York is really delightful. This entry in Small Cool 2013 both follows the rules and breaks them to make this teeny tiny 305-square foot space great.

As the floorplan illustrates, the place itself didn't give Bethany much to work with in terms of defining spaces, so she had to accomplish this other ways. The animal skin rug, for one, clearly differentiates the living space. In addition, the placement of the sofa makes the bed "invisible" for those sitting on it, further making the living room feel like only that.

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It seems like a no-brainer to replace a piece as imposing as a four-poster bed with something more streamlined when living in such a small space. But listen to what Bethany has to say about that:

I love how the bed frame of my four poster bed defines the sleeping space. A lot of friends suggested I get rid of it; I'm so glad I didn't.

We think it totally works, Bethany! Great job.

Defining spaces aside, Bethany makes great use of space by placing a bookshelf behind her bed. Layering pieces like this allows her to get around the issue of not having many walls on which to arrange furniture. The white color helps to melt the bookshelf into the background, and the mirror (layered, again) adds even more depth.

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Bethany also goes vertical with her gallery wall, which brings the eye upward. However, she wisely balances the busy-ness of the wall with one large piece and empty wall space on the other side of the cabinet.

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Echoing the airy brightness she achieves with an all-white kitchen, Bethany's small bathroom also gives the illusion of space with its monochromatic palette. You can never go wrong with white in a small space, as so many tiny dwelling inhabitants prove.

(Image credits: ​Bethany Kay)

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