A 350-Square-Foot NYC Studio Apartment Feels Larger Thanks to a Good Layout

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Name: Isabelle Eshraghi and plants
Location: Upper West Side, NYC
Type of home: Studio apartment
Size: 350 square feet
Time lived in: 6 months, renting

My "reading nook" where I put on a record and dig into a scientific paper or a novel about the perils of being a brain surgeon

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I moved into this apartment in the summer to start my junior year of college. After living at home in California for a few months, I decided it was time to come back to NYC to be closer to my school and to the things I love. The apartment has a loft bed, which has allowed me to create an entire living room and study space within the cramped square footage.

I am equally enamored by the arts and sciences, which is reflected in the decor in my apartment as well as the knick knacks scattered throughout it. My shelves are filled with stacks of highlighted scientific journals, books on Caravaggio and the Tuscan countryside, and roughly 10 percent of my record collection, which I started in middle school. The wall next to my desk is covered in embroidery, a hobby that I briefly took up during my two-week winter break. And, of course, there are at least 11 plants scattered around the studio, two of which are edible! My collage-style wall is a representation of the past three years of my life pre-pandemic. Polaroids from high school road trips and birthdays fill the spaces between prints of flower paintings, old magazine cutouts, vintage tarot cards, and my first metro card.

One of the main reasons why I chose this apartment is because of the exposed brick wall.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Cozy, vintage, airy, and eclectic

I prefer to keep my coffee table books off of the coffee table; I tend to overfill my coffee cup, which leads to plenty of mishaps.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the entire apartment! I really love the coziness of the space, and that I have been able to make it my own. When I lived in a dorm for the past two years, I couldn’t choose my own furniture, couldn’t light candles, or use my record player at odd hours, so the freedom to customize the space and use it however I want has been amazing.

I made this collage wall in the 15-minute period between a religion class and biochemistry last semester, using prints and vintage tarot cards from Pageant Print Shop in the East Village.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I bought was a very funky yellow vase with grapes painted on the side. I found it at Unique Boutique, a vintage store in my neighborhood.

I'm a full-time student studying medical anthropology, so I spend most of my day working at my desk. I positioned it beneath the south-facing window so that I would always have ample lighting, and so that I can see the snow falling when I write essays.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t be afraid of mismatched decor, and fill the space with things that make you smile when you come home at the end of the day. Take advantage of the layout of the space, because you can turn any room into a home, however small it may be. Comfortable furniture is also a must!

A memory from early fall, when the weather was nice enough to crack open a window or (don't tell my landlord) sit out on the fire escape to read a book.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly said the square footage was 200 square feet, but 200 is the size of just the living room area. The entire apartment’s space is actually 350 square feet. We’ve updated it to be more accurate.