This 500-Square-Foot Studio Is More Proof You Can Create a Dream Home Out of a Rental

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Name: Chelsey Brown and pup, Seymour
Location: New York City, New York
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, renting

Chelsey Brown has been featured on Apartment Therapy before for her ability to beautifully design rental spaces, from the 750-square-foot Manhattan rental she shared with a roommate, to this 450-square-foot studio she lived in solo. This is her most recent rental she’s transformed.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I wanted my home to be the Pinterest photo that others want to mimic. I also want to prove to people that you CAN create your dream home out of a rental space.

I started my blog, City Chic Decor, when I realized how little information there was on decorating and designing rented spaces. I wanted to take a world where people believed an owned space could be the only form of a true home, to a world where people could transform their rentals into dream sanctuaries (without driving landlords crazy!).

After exceeding 60K visits per month, my blog eventually turned into a book. “Rental Style,” under Skyhorse Publishing and distributed by Simon & Schuster, was released in May 2020. I now speak across the United States about turning rental spaces into dream homes. My home is my sanctuary, and I am always finding new projects that break the stigma of renter restrictions.

I truly believe that as long as you fill your home with items you love, EVEN they don’t “go together,” everything will end up looking perfectly cohesive in the end. Don’t be afraid to buy that quirky vase or frame—don’t be afraid to purchase that chair you’ve always wanted, EVEN if it doesn’t match a single thing in your home. I love quirky and funky decor, and those items fill my apartment and frankly, that is what defines me in my home!

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Deco-vintage-boho

What is your favorite room and why? Well, since I live in a studio, I would say… my studio! Haha!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My vintage ’90s circular wall art.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t let living in a rental stop you from creating your dream home!

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