A 400-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Channels Groovy ’70s Vibes with Color and a DIY No-Paint Mural
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Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 400 square feet
Type of Home: Studio Apartment
Years Lived In: 1.5 years, renting
“My apartment is just about the perfect square, which made the idea of decorating for me quite a challenge,” explains Lauren. “When I first saw the space, I instantly saw a 500-piece-puzzle that I was excited to put together. Since I live in a studio, I felt I had to find a way to add invisible walls that made it feel like there was some separation in my space. The furniture placement and even the location of my mirror really aid in creating those boundaries.”
Lauren decided that her apartment would be decorated with bright and 1970s vibes. “Channeling the ’70s is an interesting feat for modern decor, because there’s a lot of digging that you have to do to find items that feel on theme and also relevant to the space,” she explains. “I found that mixing colorful vintage and modern pieces in my space really brought my idea to life. Although my favorite color is yellow, I decided to go with orange as the foundational color for my apartment. I think it’s bold and attention grabbing, and also feels like I’m waking up to the sun everyday.”
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Groovy/Retro + Maximalism
Inspiration: Scooby-Doo, ’60s/’70s interior design, bold colors
Favorite Element: It’s a tie between my big orange mirror, my orange couch, and my DIY no-paint ’70s mural locker.
Biggest Challenge: The tiny space! It was a challenge to build a practical living space in a tiny space that was basically my bedroom, living room, office, and kitchen. Fortunately, I enjoy a challenge, so it felt like playing a groovy game of Tetris to make all the elements work.
Proudest DIY: Definitely my no-paint ’70s mural locker. I’ve dreamed of having one of those curvy ’70s murals around my apartment. I’m not much of a painter, and a little afraid of ruining the walls, so I decided to design my own mural with vinyl and adhere it to a storage unit that lives under my TV.
Biggest Indulgence: My most expensive piece of furniture is my Murphy bed. It was worth it though. Having a bed that folds into the wall has opened up so much walking space for me. The space it’s in also feels like an additional room/area when the bed it’s up. It’s something I’d definitely recommend for others living in a studio.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My room has become a big muse for my interior decorating journey. I create content on TikTok (@laurenthelolife) about my decorating process; in a way my apartment has kind of become a working studio as well as a living studio.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I have a lot of Black-owned products in my apartment that I’m obsessed with. Most of my prints come from independent WOC artists on Etsy. In addition, a lot of my trays — and even my side table — come from independent artists.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Always design up! When you’re living in a small space, vertical furniture is your best friend.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t feel like everything needs to be so matchy-matchy. The true sense of maximalist interior design comes from confidently being able to put things that don’t seem like they go together to the naked eye.
- Island — IKEA
- Shower Curtain — Society6
- “Stay Peachy” Rug — Urban Outfitters
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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