A 315-Square-Foot NYC Studio Shows How to Use Art and Wallpaper to Create Distinct Zones
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Name: Jung Hi Han
Location: Upper East Side – New York, NY
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 315 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months, renting
Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I am a photographer turned marketer turned real estate agent. When I first saw my apartment, I fell in love with the high ceilings and big windows. The apartment gets amazing light in the morning, which is a great natural wake up call and my plants appreciate it. As a Virgo, my design aesthetic is classic and organized. I know my apartment is mostly white, but I use lots of textures to keep it visually interesting. I’m also kind of obsessed with knolling—organizing objects at a right angle—which feels like the ultimate level of organization, and it’s so satisfying.
As a photographer (photography translates to drawing with light), lighting is extremely important to me. So changing out the chandelier was a must—I did it myself with a little guidance from YouTube! I feel most creative at night, so I like having different light temperatures and sources to match the lateness of the hour. Like at some point in the evening, I’m just tapping away at my computer with the glow of the monitor and my neon light.
Since I live alone, I like having open sight lines to the door. Rather than using furniture or dividers to break up the separate spaces, I used artwork to visually break up the space. So the sleep area has this beautiful chinoiserie style wallpaper that I found on Anthropologie. It’s actually removable and was pretty easy to install—just a few hours. The couch is backed by a gallery wall of small pieces of art that I’ve collected over the years. The dining area has a unicorn that I randomly found in the children’s section of Target with a frame from Michael’s. The dressing area has a print from PhoebeNewYork. She’s a local street artist, and whenever I spot her works around Greenwich/West Village, they bring a smile to my face. So I knew I needed one of her prints in my apartment. It’s just a girl with sunglasses that says, “All I want is everything,” but every morning it reminds me to go after whatever I want—everything.
Even though the space is small, I’m still able to entertain. I host an annual “adult tea party” where I make tea sandwiches and serve champagne out of tea cups. If I pull all of my chairs together, I can comfortably host five. I could probably squeeze in more, but I like keeping my apartment intimate. My favorite DIY was my IKEA HEMNES dresser. I sanded the fronts of the drawers and then switched out the handles for vintage ones from Etsy.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I bought the vintage ice cream parlor chairs off of Craigslist. They’re a great match to the marble bistro table, and I feel like I’m at a cute cafe whenever I sit there.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: French Country Meets Mid-Century Modern
What is your favorite room and why? My kitchen is tiny—it was hard to photograph! But with a bit of organization, it’s big enough for exactly one person (me!) to cook in. I cook a lot, and my IKEA SKADIS pegboard makes everything that I need within easy reach. The biggest deterrent for me about taking the apartment was the undercounter fridge. I can only buy what I know I’ll eat for the week because of space constraints, but it has made me so aware of food waste. I really don’t need a full-size fridge for just me. I compost what I can at the greenmarket down the street once a week and create very little actual waste, which is great because I only have space for a tiny garbage can under my sink.
Any advice for creating a home you love? If you live in a tiny apartment buy tiny furniture! I have a full-size bed and the tiniest West Elm loveseat. My desk is a console table. All of my furniture has legs that you can see under because that makes your apartment look bigger.
This submission’s responses were edited for length and clarity.