Keeping Clutter at Bay Helps This 250-Square-Foot NYC Studio Apartment Feel Bigger Than It Is

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Credit: Olivia Garcia
The view of the living space from the other corner with the small entryway (the mirror + storage bench), plus the areas for the kitchen (with the light on) and the bathroom (door shut) in view.

Name: Olivia Garcia
Location: New York, New York – Washington Heights
Type of home: Studio Apartment
Size: Approx 250 square feet total; 100-150 square feet of living space
Years lived in: Renting 1 year

Credit: Olivia Garcia
The view of the entire living space from the bathroom doorway.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I live alone so one of my main goals was to have this apartment reflect my personality within in a small space without looking too cluttered or visually exhausting. I love to have things on display (pictures, knick-knacks, etc) that show my interests. Everything is meant to be looked at, from the travel photos, original prints by me, the books and records, to the other decorative items throughout the apartment. I even wanted some of my purses out to serve as decoration.

Credit: Olivia Garcia
This shows the length of the living space. There are two large windows, with another in the bathroom, which gives the top floor apartment excellent natural light.

Before I even knew about Marie Kondo and her organizing methods, I had to decide what I absolutely wanted to take with me and donate the rest (which was half of my belongings.) I did not want the apartment to look and feel just how small it is due to the amount of stuff in it. Every single thing in my apartment has a purpose or sentiment, from the extravagant to the mundane. I am also constantly going through my things and donating those that I no longer want. My apartment truly reflects everything I love and who I am at this point in life. I can honestly say I love coming home to this little oasis in a hectic city!

Credit: Olivia Garcia
The nightstand + entry table area, which is against the closet. The black and white photographs above the intercom are original prints made by me.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Petite and bursting with personality.

Credit: Olivia Garcia
The view of the bed, entry/night table, and entertainment center/storage.

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is the main living space since so much time and energy was spent planning out the area. Even though it’s all one room, I tried to subtly divide up the apartment into different sections using color. The abundance of natural light is another reason I love the apartment.

Credit: Olivia Garcia
The view upon entering the apartment.

If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? The most obvious thing I would change is increasing the amount of square footage—I’d like to put in a small sofa for more seating when guests are over. Or I would change out the main light fixture.

Credit: Olivia Garcia
Another view of the bed enclave (which holds a queen size bed).

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I bought new Euro size pillows and covers for my bed so I can sit upright while reading or watching TV. Though all the pillows take up a good third of my bed, I actually love being in a sea of them. It helps me imagine that I am sleeping in the clouds.

Credit: Olivia Garcia
The bathroom from its doorway, which shows the generous amount of natural light that comes in.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Planning was an enormous part of making my apartment work for me, given its small square footage. I’d recommend measuring the area and having measurements for any current furniture before going out and buying anything else. Looking online at blogs (like Apartment Therapy!) or even going to IKEA were also useful to gather ideas and tricks to use around the apartment. But always remember that you are creating your home for yourself. I got caught up in trying to make it absolutely perfect and “Pinterest cute”—I nearly got rid of a perfectly good bed frame that was less than 2 years old for “aesthetics”—before realizing this apartment was curated by me for me, first and foremost.