A 451-Square-Foot Chicago Studio Has Distinct Spaces for Working, Dining, and Relaxing

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Small kitchen with items stored above cabinets
Credit: Erinne Brown

Name: Erinne Brown
Location: Printer’s Row neighborhood — Chicago, Illinois
Type of home: Apartment rental in high-rise building
Size: 451 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

Credit: Erinne Brown

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I moved into this apartment at the beginning of the pandemic and soon realized that it needed to be my comforting happy place, sanctuary, and home office.

Credit: Erinne Brown

This was the first time in years that I wasn’t traveling regularly for work or for personal reasons. Because I used to always be on-the-go, I hadn’t put much effort into home decor. Decorating my studio became a fun creative outlet and source of joy during a tough year.

Credit: Erinne Brown

It also challenged me to carve out a distinct work space for myself. In a small space like this I wanted to be able to look around and feel good about what I saw from any angle. In hindsight I am so grateful for the large windows because the bright natural light and the view energized me and gave me a sense of calm during all that time I spent inside. It also inspired me to buy lots of sunshine-loving plants!

Credit: Erinne Brown

What is your favorite room and why? My living room for sure. The things I owned when moving in were the sofa, armchair, dresser (which I use as a media stand), and the tall mass cane plant. I had no color scheme in mind but slowly started to look for items that made me feel cheerful, starting with the Ana Leovy print I custom framed. Everything else came together after that. So much light comes in these windows, and it makes the space feel warm and bright, even during the cold winters.

Credit: Erinne Brown

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My disco ball! It was a random idea that I was inspired by from photos of someone else’s home. I wanted something playful and unexpected to fill up the corner next to my media stand. This was the perfect find because it catches the sun and casts out sparks of light across my studio, which I think is delightful!

Credit: Erinne Brown

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Vibrant, warm, eclectic

Credit: Erinne Brown

Any advice for creating a home you love? Take your time and allow yourself to be inspired by the unexpected. I never would have thought I’d have this much (or any) pink in my home, and I love it. Going outside of my mental model of what I thought it should be gave me freedom to add elements to my home that surprised me and make me smile whenever I look at them.

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