This 425-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Apartment Feels Larger

published May 9, 2023

This 425-Square-Foot Brooklyn Studio Apartment Feels Larger

published May 9, 2023
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Leecy Li is a UX designer at Google, and has owned this 425-square-foot studio apartment in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood for two years, sharing it with 5-year-old kitty, Pidan. Although it’s a small space, the studio’s loft features — like high ceilings, pillars and pipes, and huge windows facing the river — make it feel much larger than it is.

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Credit: Erin Derby

Leecy refers to her home’s style as a “wild mix that weirdly melts together and sparks enjoy!” and explains that you can “find a little bit of everything everywhere.” Speaking of everything, almost all of the things in Leecy’s apartment are from either vintage shops, FB marketplace, Urban Outfitters, or IKEA, with a few pieces from the MOMA design store, Design Within Reach, and Hay mixed in. “You’ll find a silhouette of places where I grew up, traveled to, influenced by, and long for,” she also adds. Ultimately she followed three key words when designing her home: cozy, personal, creative.

Credit: Erin Derby

But her home’s small size meant she couldn’t just focus on the fun part of decorating; she had to work on function, too. Right after moving in, Leecy says she realized quickly this is a tiny, square concrete box and that it could easily feel too crowded and too plain. Here’s what she’s learned about small-space living after two years.

Credit: Erin Derby

“Firstly, always divide space into ‘zones’ regardless of how small it is,” she writes. “I divided this square box into four functional zones: lounging, dining, working, and resting zones. It’s amazing how a tiny place is perfectly capable of resembling all the necessary functions with intentional design to feel like home! Secondly, rigorously corral clutter, and choose furniture that themes the ‘room’ you’re in,” Leecy continues. “This works like magic. For example, my kitchen furniture is more industrial and modern vs. my bedroom is more woody mid-century.” 

Credit: Erin Derby

Lastly, Leecy suggests making sure that elements in your small home interact with enough negative space. “Your favorite pieces won’t pop if there’s no space to elevate it — no matter how expensive or beautiful it is.”

Take the full tour of Leecy’s home in the gallery above. You can also see more of Leecy’s home on her Instagram and on her YouTube channel.


Credit: Erin Derby


  • My entryway — Benjamin & Moore “Rosy Tan”
  • My living room — Benjamin & Moore “Mountain Moss”, “Deep Royal”(lining)
  • My bedroom — Benjamin & Moore “Hint of Mauve”
  • My dining nook — Color Atelier “Linen Beige”
  • Highly recommend Benjamin & Moore’s color sample cans. Those little cans can work decent sizes of surfaces if you love color like I do! 


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Sven Cascadia Blue Sofa — Article
  • Smiley Lights (L) — MoMa Design Store
  • Roly Poly Chair — Design Italy
  • Heywood Wakefield Dresser — Mother of Junk (A vintage store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
  • Rougier Style Ellipse Lamp — designerscollab (A cool homeware store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn)
  • Retro table lamp Renewfinds (A vintage store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn)
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Postmodern Tulip Table — Facebook Marketplace
Credit: Erin Derby


  • BAGGEBO Cabinet with glass doors — ​IKEA
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Mantis Swivel Wall Sconce — CB2

Thanks, Leecy!