This Renter Used Colors and Shapes to Update Her Small 1970s-Style Apartment

This Renter Used Colors and Shapes to Update Her Small 1970s-Style Apartment

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Name: Dominique Fluker and Ratonji Mosley
Location: Adams Point — Oakland, California
Size: 685 square feet
Type of home: One-bedroom apartment
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

I found my apartment through my property management company. A few years back, I lived in a cute but quaint studio owned by the same company. I knew to move to a more scenic and central neighborhood and the Lake Merritt area in Oakland would be perfect for me. Being born and raised in Oakland, I was always fond of the neighborhood and it’s a dream come true to live by the lake.

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I love my neighborhood because I’m literally ten minutes away, walking distance from the gorgeous Lake Merritt, delicious restaurants, as well as my errand locations (hair shop, cleaners, and grocery store.) I also have a slight obsession with dogs, and Lake Merritt is the perfect place to dog watch right after brunch, pre-COVID, of course.

Besides the fact that my apartment is centrally located, I love that my home has large windows, making it easy for the morning light to seep in through the living room, kitchen, and bedroom. Waking up to morning light is rejuvenating and allows me to start the day refreshed and inspired. I also love my large living room, as it’s given me the space to be creative and play around with circles and shapes. I love reading, taking lavender baths, watching Netflix and HBOMAX in my queen bed, and writing! We also enjoy our game nights.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Mid-century modern glam, luxe bohemian, contemporary, earthy undertones, and pops of regal colors.

Inspiration: My grandmother Queen Esther Coleman, Diana Ross, Black women artists, Misty Copeland’s glamourous New York Architectural Digest apartment tour.

Favorite Element: My home’s absolute favorite elements are my huge windows, West Elm glass and gold console, and pure white ceramic vases. I was curious about exploring textures within my furniture and highlighting different shapes within my living room space. Given that I have brown carpet within my home, it was important to choose furniture colors to brighten up the space. My fuchsia, dark/light blue, and green floor carpet does a great job of tying all of the colors in the room together, in addition to my plants named Faith and Prosperity.

I also love my featured painting in my living room created by a Black woman artist, Lauren Davis. Her work has completed my living room and added an element of culture, elegance, and beauty to space.

Biggest Challenge: There were several challenges to tackle within our space, starting with the layout! I’ve had to work around a glass wall that divides the hallway and kitchen and not much of a walkway to get through to our bedroom from the living room. I had to think through how to bring elegance, glam, and modern realness to this previously 1960-1970s-styled apartment that’s 685 square feet. I overcame it by being intentional about leveraging shapes and specific colors to enhance the living room while making it comfortable and peaceful. 

Proudest DIY: Putting together our floating bookshelves from IKEA! They came out super chic and minimalistic.  

Biggest Indulgence: My beloved glass console from West Elm and gray couch. My glass console is one of the most expensive furniture pieces that I own, and I’m very proud of it. Reflecting on my time at grandmother’s house, I remembered her having several standout furniture items, and you just knew that they were special and not to be touched! Now, I’m blessed to have one of those items in my home. 

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I love our bar cart! It’s super retro and fun, with a pop of turquoise at the base. The image above our West Elm glass console is so fun and chic to me. That piece by another Black woman artist, Kendra Dandy highlights the jungalow, edgy, and modern themes within our home. 

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? A few things have changed in my household since COVID-19, including my home office! Once I realized that we would be working remotely, I knew I needed a desk. Thankfully, the desk and chair fit nicely within our bedroom. Another unique element is our glass wall that divides the entry walkway, bathroom, linen closet, and kitchen. I’ve never seen a glass wall like this before, and it reminds me of what you would see in a mod home, like the Stahl House. 

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I love the Container Store for all my organizing needs! Given that we have a small space, it’s imperative to maximize our space by creating extra storage. I highly recommend purchasing shoe and clothes organizers. 

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Follow your gut and heart. Have a budget but don’t limit yourself to a price tag on signature and bespoke items. You’ll thank yourself later. Have a vision and theme for your home in mind before decorating but allow yourself the flexibility to change your home décor. 





  • Large kitchen clock — Vintage


Thanks Dominique!

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

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