A 480-Square-Foot Studio Garage Apartment Proves That Small Homes Are Super Cozy

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Living room corner with charcoal gray sectional sofa, Morrocan rug, and white shelf with plants

Name: Rachel Riddell
Location: 12 South Neighborhood — Nashville, Tennessee
Type of home: Studio garage apartment
Size: 480 square feet
Years lived in: 10 months, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I am a household assistant and nanny here in Nashville and also run an online greeting card and home goods shop. I am a total introvert and homebody and love quiet nights on my couch with a glass of red wine.

I live in a studio garage apartment and love it. I’ve always wanted to live in a studio because I love the coziness that the small space provides (plus it’s so easy to clean!). Previously, I had lived in a two-bedroom with a roommate, so downsizing was somewhat of a tough adjustment. A lot of my furniture no longer worked in my new space because of size restrictions, so I only brought a few pieces with me and had to buy a lot of new ones. Since I also have a paper goods business, that means I need A LOT of storage. I had to get super creative, but I’ve managed to make it work. I day tripped it to IKEA in Memphis and got a lot of things that would help with storage. And I’m super lucky that I can store as much as I need in the garage downstairs.

I thrifted a lot of my wall decor, including old black and white family photos. Most of my decor are plants (shout out to Hewitt Garden Center in Nashville) and decorative storage baskets. Over the years, I’ve really gravitated towards neutrals, wood, and metal as well as mid-century and vintage. I think my apartment is a good mix of everything and I am so happy with how it turned out.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Homey mid-century vintage mix.

What is your favorite room and why? Well it’s all one room (ha!) but I love the view from my couch. I can see all of my apartment and it just brings me so much joy. It’s also where I do most of my work and eat all my meals!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? I searched for months for a kitchen cabinet to store my pots and pans. I was dead set on buying something vintage through Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, but never found anything that I both loved and fit the measurement requirements. I eventually got tired of searching and bought a curio cabinet that I loved (and looked vintage) from Target. I’m so happy with my decision even though it wasn’t my original plan.

Any advice for creating a home you love? It takes a lot of time, searching, and a little bit of collecting. My apartment is a collection of things I have found over years, not just a few months. Some pieces I bought without having a place for it, but knew I would in the future. Don’t buy something if you don’t love it but want to fill a space. Take time to figure out style and invest in pieces you’ll love forever.

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