This 375-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Packs in So Much Color and Function

published Jan 3, 2023

This 375-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Packs in So Much Color and Function

published Jan 3, 2023
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Square feet
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Name: Kayla Shannon and precious kitties “Moon” (pictured) and “Buddy” (not pictured)
Location: Crown Heights — Brooklyn, New York
Size: 375 square feet
Type of Home: Studio Apartment 
Years Lived In: 1.5 years, renting

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“My apartment is my sanctuary, it’s the place where I allow myself to experience a ray of emotion, get creative, retreat for rest and honor women. When the world outside is chaotic I know that I can come to this place and be my truest self. No one is here to cast judgment,” explains Kayla Shannon, who works in HR at Apartment Therapy Media. “2021 was the year that having my own space meant the most to me, so I searched Craigslist and many other local sites before stumbling on this apartment via StreetEasy. It was a gem and waiting to be upgraded! I love the sun rising and the amount of light in the space, it brings peace to my days. My neighbors are kind and I never feel alone with all the action out my windows.”

Kayla continues: “The building is old, built in 1899 but to me there is beauty in history, a chance to honor those who were here before me. Historical Crown Heights is a magical little place, it’s where my ancestors lived and it’s packed with so much culture. I pass the time so simply these days, leaning into slow living in a big city. Reading, cooking, dancing, creating, and meditating are the activities I enjoy the most in my space before heading out into the world. When Kayla isn’t working, she can be found “exploring with my film camera, doing something creative and volunteering as an adoptee mentor.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style can be described as bohemian/Parisian, with Swedish Scandi layout. Truly I think it’s hard to describe!

Inspiration: My inspiration comes from my connection with the community around me, it can be found in the items I have, the apartment colors, and so much more. I am very interested in the way people live, the feelings of human experience, and how we allow ourselves to experience home! I am also very inspired by the people that I have in my life, most of them in some way changed who I am as a person and it wouldn’t be me to not include that! My inspiration online is a real estate site that I browse for hours is Historiska Hem.

Credit: Erin Derby

Favorite Element: My favorite element of my apartment is the paint and the amount of sunlight the space gets. 

Biggest Challenge: When I first moved in there were a few challenges — 1) I was on a shoestring budget and needed to furnish the place! 2) The building was old, which meant the apartment needed some repairs. 3) The layout was super awkward with little wall space 4) Storage was little to none! — I got right to work! Starting with changing windows, scouring Facebook Marketplace, moving things around a ton of times, and being creative with storage solutions! Everything eventually came together like a charm bracelet. 

Credit: Erin Derby

Proudest DIY: Proudest DIY is my kitchen, it’s tiny. Sometimes still frustrating but fully functional and mighty. It’s the size of a closet but with a good coat of paint, a dish rack, shelves, and wall storage it transformed. 

Biggest Indulgence: I don’t really have any — a few pieces like my rugs and chandelier did cost a lot to ship but they were free from an old job! I truly believe that life shouldn’t cost a lot to live great. Lean into your community, all the things you need are right there! 

Credit: Erin Derby

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My studio is on a corner, and it has six windows in total. Personally, I think that is very rare! Most places have 2-3 windows, max. I’m a lucky gal.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? My favorite home purchase is my chandelier from Lulu and Georgia. It was the first real change I made and when I first laid eyes on it I knew I wanted it in my space. The William Morris & Co. wallpaper also brought in a fun feeling to the apartment. I have so many birds by the windows that it feels like an outside-in type of experience. 

Credit: Erin Derby

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Put your shoes in a sliding bin under the bed, thank me later. Additionally, use the space under your kitchen sink for random things but make sure to buy organizers to use vertical cabinet space. Most of all, let go of things that you have outgrown physically and energetically! 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? One of the best things I’ve done for my space was purge things that I do not need — this frees up energy as well as space, not brilliant or nothing newly said but very true! Another piece of advice would be to look at the buildings outside of your window and the colors in your neighborhood to hone that into the space. You will feel a sense of cohesion and grounding from the inside out.


Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Bookshelf — Nathan James
  • Dresser — Vintage 1930s Artist
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Bryn Jute rug — Lulu and Georgia
  • Sayan Woven Jute Pendant Light — Lulu and Georgia
  • Asian Oriental Fan — Fire Lily Vintage
  • Coffee table — FB Marketplace
  • 1950s Thomasville Allegro Bamboo Dresser — FB Marketplace
  • 4in 1 turntable — Victrola
  • Orange Martini side table — West Elm (Out of Stock)
  • Cat Condo — Chewy
  • Yellow and Blue pillow — Target (Out of Stock)
  • Fluffy pillow — Pier 1 (Out of Stock)
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Round Bistro TableWest Elm (Out of Stock)
  • Green Vintage Wicker Chairs — Out of The Closet Thrift Store
  • Hanging Pendant Light — IKEA (Out of Stock)
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Over the sink drying rack — Amazon
  • Simple human garbage bin — Amazon
  • Spice rack — Amazon
  • Peel and stick Vinyl floor — Local discount shop
  • Black wooden kitchen island — FB Marketplace
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Zinus bed frame — Amazon
  • Tuft & Needle Mattress — Tuft & Needle
  • RL 464 Percale Sheeting — Ralph Lauren
  • Linen Pillowcases — Brooklinen
  • Threshold Quilt — Target (Out of Stock)
  • Colored Pillow — Target (Out of Stock)
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Floral shower curtain — Amazon
  • Kitty litter box — Modkat
  • Over the toilet shelf — Amazon
Credit: Erin Derby


Thanks Kayla!

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