This Small San Francisco Studio Apartment Looks and Feels Like a Sunrise

published May 17, 2022

This Small San Francisco Studio Apartment Looks and Feels Like a Sunrise

published May 17, 2022
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Name: Dipa Halder
Location: Lower Haight — San Francisco, California
Size: 560 square feet
Type of Home: Studio apartment
Years lived in: 6 months, renting

This 560-square-foot studio apartment in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood is Dipa Halder‘s first solo apartment, and she says that the journey of turning an empty space into her personal home has been a lot of fun. “I didn’t even see the place in person before signing the lease. I knew the moment I saw the photos while I was in Brooklyn for the summer that it was the one,” Dipa admits. “It’s a classic San Franciscan studio tucked away on a quiet street in my favorite neighborhood in the city. It has some fun retro details like a built-in ironing board and telephone nook and pretty much everything was painted with a fresh coat of white paint when I got it. I fell in love with the blank canvas feel and the beautiful sunlight it gets.”

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Though Dipa’s day job is as a software engineer, she also freelances as a muralist, illustrator, and interior designer. And her small home has been the perfect canvas to play with. “I love to DIY and paint murals so my apartment has been an ongoing art project of mine. I sold all my old furniture so I could start over and furnish it from scratch, which has really allowed me to discover my style in the process,” Dipa writes. “It was really important to me for my home to feel like a nourishing and inspiring space, especially since I moved here mid-pandemic and work mostly from home. It also doubles as my art studio.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Earthy, retro, vibrant

Inspiration: I wanted my space to feel like a sunrise. I brought in a lot of warm tones and earthy pinks for my walls, furniture, and art to bring out that color palette. My rug has sun motifs on them, my semi-circle headboard mirrors the sun, and my linens are colors of the sunrise. I even painted the ceiling a warm pink so it feels like I wake up to a forever sunrise everyday.  

Favorite Element: My current favorite element is the mural I painted in my dining room for my bike to lean against. Biking became a really big part of my life this past year and I wanted to give my bike a more beautiful home in my apartment. My bike used to leave these darks streaks on my white wall that were really visible and this mural helps hide them while also adding these beautiful pink tones to my dining room. Here’s a little timelapse of me creating it.

Biggest Challenge: Definitely layout. I feel like that’s always a tough one for studios. I actually tried every possible configuration of my bed and couch over two months before landing on the way I have it right now — the other ones never felt quite right. 

Proudest DIY: Painting my ceiling pink. I thought about painting my ceiling pink for three months before I spontaneously went for it one day. I painted the entire thing using a two-inch brush because that’s all I had on hand in the moment. My arms and shoulders were definitely sore for a few days but I had so much fun with it and I love the final effect. 

Biggest Indulgence: My curvy terracotta couch. I’m in love with her. It was the first big piece of furniture I bought for the apartment and was a big inspiration for the rest of the vibe. It fits perfectly in the little nook outlined by my bay windows, nested between my plants, and is such a focal point of my space. 

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I made my own art since I had a hard time finding pieces to match my space and made them using the same paint I used on my walls and ceiling. I also found other places to mirror my color palette, like painting my door using the same pink I used in my kitchen. The pink I used for my open shelves is the same pink I used on my ceiling. Using the same shades of paint throughout the house really brings it all together and gives it this cohesive feel. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? After my couch, my favorite piece in my apartment is my giant tufted headboard. I love the softness of its half-moon shape and the sumac red velvet is so regal. It also has these built-in floating side tables that are perfect for bedside reading. It’s definitely an art piece on top of being a practical furniture item and I truly feel like a queen waking up every morning with it behind me.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Use your walls to get things off of the floor when you have limited space. I hung a folding drying rack in my closet and mounted my kitchen knives and towel paper holder. I have so much more open counter and floor space because of these two small upgrades. I’m also ruthless about what I own — if I’m not in love with it or using it regularly, it’s out.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? I live in a transient city where people move around a lot. Most of them never really take the time to make a place home because it’s so easy to think “Oh it’s not worth investing in this piece if I’m just going to move next year.” But even six months or a year is a really long time when it’s the space you spend so much of your time existing in.

I also like to think of my space as ever-changing. You can move things around, paint over walls, change your light fixtures, sell furniture when you fall out of love with it. Reminding yourself that can help decisions feel less intimidating. Don’t hold back on expressing yourself!






  • Chairs — West Elm
  • Tulip Table — Wayfair
  • Pendant Lamp — Overstock
  • Floating Shelves — Etsy
  • Benches — Amazon
  • Throw Pillows — H&M Home, West Elm
  • Ceramics — Hasami, East Fork, Earthen
  • Wine Glasses — CB2
  • Wooden Palette Stool — Zara Home 


Thanks Dipa!

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