A Small & Cozy Brooklyn Studio That’s Still Guest Friendly

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“I stand by my conviction that navy is a neutral.” (Image credit: Submitted by Anna)

Name: Anna
Location: Flatbush — Brooklyn, New York

I’ve been living in this tiny studio apartment in Flatbush, Brooklyn for just over two years. Living alone was a longtime goal of mine and I knew that I’d have to sacrifice size in order to have my own roommate-free space. But it was a trade that I was happy to make—plus, my place has several features that make it seem larger than it really is. The ceilings are very high, the tall windows let in a ton of light, and a built-in wardrobe and drawers allowed me to ditch my dresser and free up some floor space. Moreover, the separate eat-in kitchen helps make it feel less like a dorm room and more like a legitimate adult dwelling. (Despite the Christmas lights on my headboard!)

One of my favorite things about my apartment décor is how much history there is behind it – much of it either belonged to my parents/grandparents or was made by me at some point in my life. The satellite photo of southeastern Massachusetts (where I grew up) and the 1968 Lincoln Center poster (where my grandfather worked) came from my grandparents’ summer house. My father made the bookshelves decades ago, which serendipitously fit perfectly underneath the windows. The steamer trunk at the foot of my bed belonged to him when he was a child, and I use it for storage and as an impromptu coffee table in front of the couch when I have guests. I made the wall quilt that hangs over the TV as well as the quilt on my bed—the latter of which was inspired by the classic Hudson’s Bay Company design.

I love entertaining, so I definitely kept that in mind when designing the space. Although I wanted my home to be a cozy retreat from the world for myself, I also wanted to make it a place where my friends feel welcome. Comfortable but not sloppy was the goal— my guests are essentially hanging out in my bedroom but I didn’t want it to feel that way. The birch IKEA table in the kitchen expands to seat six and I keep several vintage wooden folding chairs in the closet. I got them on Craigslist and they fold up perfectly flat for easy storage. As for coziness, I always have a wool blanket on the couch for cool evenings and a down comforter on the bed for warm but lightweight insulation at night.

I definitely had to come up with some creative storage solutions for this apartment—with barely 300 square feet to work with, I’m all about using the vertical spaces. I hung as many pots and pans as I could on the kitchen walls using 3M Command hooks, and bought a piece of marble from Home Depot for about $25 to turn the radiator into a shelf. During the winter, I just have to be careful to only put things that won’t melt or burn on it. I love how the Kitchenaid stand mixer that sits on it (a Christmas present when I was 15 years old!) matches my loveseat, which came from West Elm. My mother tried to talk me into a “more neutral” color for the loveseat, but I stand by my conviction that navy is a neutral.

The worst part of this apartment is the bathroom. The walls are a unique and truly hideous shade of dusty pink-orange, with old, cracked nautical-themed tile. All in all, I love my place and love how much it feels like a full and accurate reflection of myself.

Thanks, Anna!

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