A 352-Square-Foot Apartment Uses Glossy Black Paint for an Easy and High-Impact Upgrade

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Credit: Sarah Amarica
Living room, in which most of the furniture was sourced secondhand. Also, I painted the doors glossy black upon moving in, which proved to be a very easy and impactful upgrade.

Name: Sarah Amarica, my cat Margo, and 27 plants!
Location: Montreal, Canada
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 352 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

Credit: Sarah Amarica
A living room close up featuring an orange ceramic mid-century lamp (one of my favorite finds), Art Deco bar, and a vintage yellow velour armchair.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I’ve been in my apartment for only a year, and share it with my cat, Margo, and a seasoned collection of flora. While small in size, it fits us perfectly. We are located in the vibrant Plateau neighborhood in Montreal, Canada.

Credit: Sarah Amarica
A sunny view of the bedroom, featuring a vintage green Italian silk bedspread and vintage room divider as a headboard (two of my favorite items) and some homemade pillows. My cat, Margo.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Mid-century, with tons of color!

Credit: Sarah Amarica
Close up of my plants.

What is your favorite room and why? My bedroom is probably my favorite room of my apartment simply because it’s the coziest; small, but bursting with flora. It includes two of my prized plants: a giant African Milk cactus and a Monstera I’ve had for years.

Credit: Sarah Amarica
Another close up featuring teak dining table, vintage cane chairs and a photograph by friend Edwin Isford.

I am also especially fond of my bedspread, bright green vintage Italian silk, found at a Montreal flea market. Lying in bed, cat nearby, sun bursting through the windows, through the leaves, feels pretty special.

Credit: Sarah Amarica
Kitchen, small but useful, and especially full of light.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I recently built and installed a new shelf in my kitchen (to house some plant clippings, of course.) My most recent furniture purchase was two Marcel Breuer cane chairs, to accompany my tiny teak dining table, which I bought from someone who was moving, around the corner from my house!

Credit: Sarah Amarica

Any advice for creating a home you love? I am most proud that the majority of the decor and the furniture I have collected over the years are secondhand, not only because they are unique, but because it attests to what can be done on a budget. I find it infinitely more satisfying to look hard for special pieces — online, in consignment or vintage shops, or flea markets — rather than buy them off the shelf (if I can help it) and would encourage others to take the time to do the same. There are so many great vintage objects out in the world, with interesting histories and lives.

Credit: Sarah Amarica
A close-up view of my mid-century dresser, featuring some special objects like a vintage ashtray, Monstera plant clippings, and a painting by friend Sydney Pine.

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

Correction: An earlier version of this post mistakenly included outdated photos. We’ve updated the house call with more recent images to be more accurate.