These Renters Turned an Old, Tiny Nook into a Bold Multipurpose Dining and WFH Spot

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Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
The living room's glamour shot. I've done my best to either thrift most of my furniture, or buy it from small and/or sustainable businesses. This room is probably the best reflection of my style; I took a leap out of my comfort zone with my navy blue couch, but I think it grounds the otherwise very warm and earthy colors in the room.

Name: Kayleigh Kahn and my partner and all our plants!
Location: Inner Sunset — San Francisco, California
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, renting

Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
The perfect reading/coffee-drinking chair. I love sitting here in the mornings (these windows face east) with my coffee as the neighborhood wakes up.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My partner and I both work for a local grocery company (which is how we met!), so this year has been quite the whirlwind for us. When San Francisco started to see a mass exodus of people whose companies let them work remotely, I jumped at the opportunity to rent a one-bedroom within my price range. Over the past year, I’ve spent a lot of my time and energy (with a ton of help from my partner) turning this space into a bright and comfy oasis — a relaxing home where we’re excited to spend the time we’re not at work!

Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
I wanted to keep the bedroom more minimalist, so it could be a calming place to decompress after busy days. I've welcomed a lot more blues and grays into my palette to make that happen, but I kept the grounding wood and warm brass accents to try to balance it all.

I identify as someone who’s both grounded and rooted in routine, but also attracted to the spontaneous and fanciful — and above all, enchanted by all the natural beauty of the outdoors, especially in northern California. I think you see this come through first and foremost in the ever-growing collection of plants that’s taken over almost every nook and cranny of the apartment! I’ve also always been most attracted to earthy hues — burnt orange, greens, yellows, and a smattering of neutrals — which you can clearly see as soon as you step into this space.

Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
My living room window, the plants' favorite spot in the apartment.

And I LOVE sunlight: Big windows with a ton of light are my #1 priority in an apartment. I love waking up with the sun, and I try to let as much of it as I can in, despite San Francisco’s tendency towards foggy days! Beyond my color palette and love of all things bright and natural, I also love collecting trinkets — either from my own past or fun vintage items I find out in the world. I appreciate that they add quirky personality to wherever they’re placed, and I enjoy weaving pieces of my own history into the decoration of my apartment through pieces I’ve held onto since childhood.

Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
We honestly spend most of our time at home in this kitchen. We both love food, and my partner is a former chef, so I tried to keep it as open and warm as possible while still making sure it served its most important purpose: the spot for all the best conversations and all the fun, collaborative cooking.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Cozy, bright, eclectic, maximalist

Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
I joke that my place is basically just one giant room with 100 doors — but I really appreciate that all these doorways make the apartment feel much more open. Here, you can see the bar we DIY-ed, plus a sliver of the kitchen and the entryway.

What is your favorite room and why? It’s more of a nook, but it’s my favorite nook in the place — The Bar! Over the course of the first few months living in the apartment, we worked to turn this old dining nook into a fun, multi-purpose space that would both give us a dining space and also give me an area to work from home. From the peel-and-stick wallpaper, to the thrifted barstools, to the bar itself (upcycled from an old IKEA table!), this space is truly a labor of love. I learned all the ins and outs of power tools, hardware, and the importance of a stud-finder throughout the process! Now, we spend every morning eating breakfast at “The Bar” together, and it’s incredibly gratifying to know that we built it all from scratch on our own.

Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
Welcome to The Bar! I felt safe going bold in this small space, since it's physically a bit separated from everything else in the apartment — and I'm so glad I did. All of the art on the walls has traveled with me throughout all my moves; I love being surrounded by it while I eat and work here. The bar stools were an especially lucky find; I'd been searching for months for the PERFECT bar seating, and I stumbled upon these in one of my favorite vintage furniture stores in the city and it felt like fate.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? A fun brass container with a white stone for a handle! I found it at a local vintage store. It’s a large cylinder that is the perfect home for the bundle of Crazy Bones (a classic game from the ’90s that I loved as a kid) that my partner bought on eBay for me as a hilarious surprise.

Credit: Kayleigh Kahn
I didn't want the TV to be the focal point of the room, so I was very pleased that it (and its stand) fit exactly in this corner.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t feel like you need to “pick” a style or even clearly articulate your own. Just pick things that excite you or speak to you in some way and your style and home will come together. It should be a reflection of who you are and where you’re most comfortable — and being comfortable in your home is the most important part!

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