A Renter Made Her Small Studio Feel Chic and Parisian on a Budget

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Living room with tufted loveseat, large mirror, and candelabra
My favorite place to be in — my beautiful royal living room. My sofa is from wayfair. The rest of the pieces are vintage from Kijiji and local vintage shops.

Name: Sarah Maamari of Sisi’s Tea, and bunny, Prince Louis
Location: Downtown Montreal, Quebec
Type of home: Condo
Size: 400 square feet
Time lived in: 5 months, renting

Everything looks better with a "Sex and the City" clip.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I am a single gal living in downtown Montreal with my bunny Prince Louis (who is my LIFE). I have always wanted to live in the downtown area, and now, here we are! I would describe my apartment as a mini palace (since I live in a studio). It has the regal feel of a kingdom (very much inspired by Palace of Versailles), the allure of a Parisian apartment on a summer afternoon, with a rich and luxurious decadent decor. Everything about it screams FABULOUS.

When I started decorating, I knew I only wanted a three-color base: gold, white, and a touch of marble/cream. I started searching for pieces, and most of them were vintage, which I found on the Kijiji marketplace and in local vintage shops (and for such good prices!). I’m a pretty picky person and a perfectionist, so it was not easy finding what I wanted on a budget, but you have to keep looking, and eventually, you will find what you are looking for. I searched for a lot of inspo on Pinterest and created a vision board. And when I couldn’t find what I was looking for and the price was out of my budget — which says a lot because I’m a detective in the art of decorating — I DIYed it! And the views in the morning? To die for.

Vintage bar/tea area (with my locally made tea).

Since I describe myself as bold, dramatic, and extra girl with a lot of confidence, I say my apartment pretty much reflects who I am, and I am proud to show it to people. I added a few vintage and designer pieces (which reflect moi) and a beautiful DIY painting of Queen Elizabeth I (who is my favorite queen). My place is still not 100 percent done (I would say about 90 percent with some touches left to do), but I am oh-so-proud of it. I designed it all by myself, and it’s honestly the best feeling ever when you accomplish something by yourself with no help.

My favorite corner in my little kitchen! I wanted a pop of pastel colors. The toaster is from Kate Spade, the LaDuree bag is from Paris (or you can get from your local LaDuree cafe spot), and the water pitcher is vintage.

I also love my kitchen corner! I put my bread in a LaDurée bag that I kept from my time in Paris, added my Kate Spade pink toaster, and the rest followed! You’re gonna say I’m so bougie, but I love to drink lemon-flavored water in the morning, which is why I added it to my corner. My baby bunny’s small palace is so cute, but I still haven’t gotten him to sleep in his gold bed! He literally only likes to hop in it. (But one day…) I love the French cottage pet feeder I got him from Helpen Pets, and he loves to hop and eat in it! I also just got a vintage bar cart and styled it as a tea bar cart. Since I have a tea business, it was perfectly fitting.

Prince Louis, my baby bunny. I got his bed custom made from an Etsy seller and his pet feeder from Helpen pets.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Royal, Parisian, aristocratic, chic, glamorous

What is your favorite room and why? I know I live in one room and everyone says that when they do (laugh out loud + eye roll), but my favorite section has got to be the living room. It took me five months to get it together, and after endless nights on the vintage marketplace online, it’s finally put together and, shall I say, royally, darling.

My table is from Wayfair, and I decorated the wall with Chanel bags, where I put Louis' toys.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I wish I had the links to them, but the best part of my favorite section, which is the living room, is its newest addition and what glued the entire area together: my beautiful gold/marble table set that I found on the Kijiji marketplace. I know you’re gonna hate me, but I only paid $150. For ALL three!!!

I bought these Versace-inspired towels from Winners.

Any advice for creating a home you love? I’m not staying in my rental condo forever (planning on buying next year!) and even though I was not allowed to do some wall molding, I still created my little palace in a studio apartment of 400 square feet. It’s not about trying to fit everything together perfectly. It’s about finding the imperfect and making it perfectly you. (Okay, and sometimes you want it to be super perfect, so go for it!). You can find amazing cheap and beautiful pieces on vintage websites and Instagram pages and local shops! All you have to do search. For hours. Or days haha!

Bathroom cabinet with my products.

The important thing is your home has to reflect YOU. And if you are a maximalist and you love being royal (like me), then go ahead, darling. Create your palace within your small place. You don’t need huge ceilings and areas. You create the area by maximizing it with the pieces you love.

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