This Cozy and Warm 500-Square-Foot Brooklyn Apartment Was Furnished from Scratch

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A dining table next to the living room with a blue couch up against a wall
Credit: Coralie Kwok

Name: Coralie Kwok
: Fort Greene — Brooklyn, New York
Type of Home: Apartment
Size: 500 square feet
Years lived in: 4 months, renting

Credit: Coralie Kwok

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: I moved in this apartment this fall and had to furnish it from scratch as I’d just moved back to New York after a having spent a few months this year back home in Paris, where I grew up.

It was a very fun project for me to undertake, as I’ve lived in many apartments in New York (16, believe it or not!) but never got to live on my own. I always have had roommates, so apartments would come with pre-existing furniture, or we’d decorate them together eclectically. This is my first solo apartment, and it was so nice to be able to make it into my own home, the way I wanted.

Credit: Coralie Kwok

I would define myself as a thoughtful and intentional person, and that gets reflected in my apartment. Furnishing an apartment from zero is expensive, so I had to be strategic about what I was going to purchase, how I would furnish and decorate the space.

I would describe myself as a minimalist; I love a clean space that is not cluttered, while also having specific items that bring warmth and comfort. Because I have moved so many times, I’m used to purging every time I do and only keep with me what I find most meaningful. 

Credit: Coralie Kwok

What I’ve kept throughout the years are mainly books. Even if they can technically be replaced, there is a sense of belonging by carrying them with me wherever I might move. When I have my own little collection of books with me, I always feel at home.

Most of the color palette is neutral, with touches of bright tones to accent the space.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Cozy, warm, minimalistic, clean, intentional

Credit: Coralie Kwok

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite space is definitely the living room. I’m a social person and love having people around, so naturally, I love to gather people around in this space.

It is also a space of comfort and rest for me, where I can journal and read during the day, or cozy up at night, watching TV.

Credit: Coralie Kwok

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? One of my most recent purchase is the one I’m most proud of: a painting from my dear friend, Stephen Whittaker, an artist from New Zealand who now lives in Paris. He shipped the painting rolled up from Paris and came to visit New York last month. He stretched it at my apartment and mounted it on the wall for me. It was such a fun experience to set it up together and it is special for me to have this gorgeous piece of his work in my home. 

Credit: Coralie Kwok

Another item that I purchased and absolutely adore is a print from an Italian artist, Gianluca Cannizzo. His illustrations are gorgeous and also really fun. You’ll see his his works in many wine bars. I work in the hospitality industry, so I purchased this illustration that is a nod to both my French background and love for wine.

Credit: Coralie Kwok

Any advice for creating a home you love? I love art and looking at other people’s spaces, whether it be fictional movie sets, or people’s homes in magazines, or on social media. We have access to an incredible wealth of information now with the digital world. I find it inspiring and extremely creative.

The more spaces you see, the more you’ll learn about what you like and define your own sense of style.Always add some plants for some greenery and life, and less is more.

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