A 450-Square-Foot NYC Studio Shows How to Add Lots of Color to a Small Space

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Orange rug in a colorful studio apartment living room

Name: Aviva M Shulem
Location: New York, New York
Type of home: apartment
Size: 450 square feet
Years lived in: 10+ years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I am a product designer, specializing in home goods (furniture, lighting, home accessories, etc.) I purchased this studio apartment in 2010. Generally, when I need to make big decisions in life, I always follow my gut. Therefore, when I saw it, I immediately felt good energy about it and put an offer.

When moving in, I decided to treat it as a blank canvas. It took me a while to complete the overall decor. I decided to take the time and added only pieces that I love and didn’t compromise on a need. I believe that your home is your anchor and safe space. Therefore we need to treat it with care and love. The overall decor is a mixture of different styles, mid-century, modern, artisan—hand-made pieces and lots of colors.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, cozy, mixed styles, and comfortable.

What is your favorite room and why? It is a studio apartment, which is one big room. However, there are different vignettes based on the function of the area. For example the living room area, dining-bar, working space, bedroom, etc. I don’t have any particular favorite one, as they all have their own unique purpose and visual identity, which I carefully curated.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Lately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and spending time at home, I started doing some art, so I decided to frame a simple watercolor painting. The idea of framing a piece that is dear to your heart gives it more importance, elevates its look, and can add to your home decor.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Treat your home with care and love. Be selective with the items you choose and don’t compromise on the aesthetic. Be particular with the quality, especially with the large items, such as furniture. It’s like in fashion when you buy an expensive classic tailored suit; you know it will be timeless and last for a long time. Mix and match styles. Think of repurposing and upcycling. Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore. Don’t be scared of colors and texture. Make changes from time to time to refresh the overall look.

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