A 326ish-Square-Foot Studio Was Decorated Entirely from Scratch

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Name: Jenn Tranbarger
Location: New York, New York
Type of home: Studio Apartment
Size: 326ish square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years, renting

The view from where I'm usually sitting.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Although it is the smallest space I have ever lived in, it might also be my favorite. All my past apartments were full of hand-me-downs and whatever was cheapest at Target at the time. They were just a mish-mash of things that served a function but did not necessarily bring me joy (hello, Marie Kondo).

Moving across the country was the perfect opportunity to start over (in all senses of the word), so I got rid of everything and started fresh. And then pretty much only allowed myself to buy things I genuinely liked and wanted in my life. From silverware to trash cans, I wouldn’t let myself “just get it because I needed one,” it had to be just right.

I’ve always loved design. Of all things. From letterforms in college (I studied Design at UCLA) to trash cans now (obsessed with my new Brabantia), you name it, and I think it can be crafted and designed into something both functional and beautiful. And I think that love of design comes through throughout my home… as well as my love of California… I honestly had no idea my home state had seeped into my aesthetic so much until I found myself awkwardly hugging a giant tasseled boho lumbar pillow on the subway ride home from Target. But overall I think my house really is an eclectic mix of everything I love — from the streamlined minimal clean lines of my dining table to the decorative curves of my dresser — I think it’s those intersections, of what some might call clashing styles, that keep it interesting and well, me.

One of my favorite corners.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: California Boho meets New York Regency

What is your favorite room and why? It’s all one room… so that one.

My "bedroom."

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The trash can! Who knew a trash can could make someone so happy…. I used to keep my trash under the sink in my tiny closet of a kitchen (because I didn’t want it in my main living space), and I found it super annoying to open the cupboard door every time I had something to throw away. Pre-COVID I obviously wasn’t home as much, so the irritation was minimal, but once I saw this bad boy that looked like a piece of furniture… I was sold.

An assortment of goodies.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Build slowly. I literally started this place with nothing more than a mattress on the floor, and then one by one the pieces started to add up, and suddenly I had a home. Also, I think be honest with yourself. I used to think my home was decent, and it was, but it didn’t make me nearly as happy as this one. Once I got rid of all the things that didn’t truly make me happy, I had the space and the freedom to finally turn an apartment into a home that truly makes me smile every time I enter.

The gallery wall project I started the first weekend of lockdown.

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