This Renter Uses Black to Hack a ‘Bland’ 655-Square-Foot Rental into ‘Moody Modern Minimalism’
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Name: Senaida and cat named Benji
Location: Union Station Neighborhood in Denver, Colorado
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 655 square feet
Time lived in: 5 months, renting
Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: This is my first time living in a one-bedroom apartment in Denver, so it’s taken me some time to find the right balance of moody, cozy, minimalist, and modern. When I first moved in, it was really bland and I’ve used renter-friendly hacks to make it feel more “me.” In the bathroom, I used black electrical tape to line the mirror border and wrap the silver colored light above the sink. In my bedroom, I used washi tape to design the vertical lines behind my nightstand and an abstract pattern behind my dresser. In the entryway area, I used washi tape to cover the air purifier cover (air still flows out and in easily).
In my living room, I used washi tape to cover the spine of three black books and used it as decor for my coffee table. I also wanted to be mindful about purchasing new items, so I used black paint to transform my large mirror, lamp, bookshelf, entryway table, and other small items instead. To limit how much I spent on new “artwork” I bought cheap canvases, put spackle all over them, and sealed them — I used my “artwork” to hide the ugly electrical box in the hallway (while still making it accessible in an emergency) and painted them black to hang up above my sectional. To help make it feel more “modern” and functional, I added several motion-activated lights in my closet (since it does not have an interior light) and attached puck lights above my “artwork” so that I turn them on when I have a headache or need more moodiness in my space. I also transformed two Target bookshelves to use all the vertical space needed to store my shoes.
As a PhD student, part-time school psychologist, and a child clinical extern, my days can feel overwhelming. So when I come home, I want my space to feel cozy with very little visual stimulation — modern minimalism has helped me find moments of peace after a long day. I initially started using modern minimalism to manage the small amount of space (e.g., living room, bathroom, and “bedroom”) offered in a 250-300-square-foot studio apartment and I branched out to apply it to organizational systems in my cabinets, drawers, and closets. I also find that the “out of sight out of mind” motto to be especially pertinent when strategically placing my cats toys, scratchers, basket, food, and water bowl.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Moody modern minimalism
What is your favorite room and why? My bedroom! Not just because it’s my cat’s favorite space to be, but because I worked really hard to make it feel cozy and relaxing.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? A black accent “table” that I’ve tucked under my entryway table. Since it’s concrete, I used it as a tiny bench to put my shoes on and it doubles as extra seating when I have people over.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Combine your needs with items that bring you joy!
This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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