A 599-Square-Foot Studio Apartment Was Personalized With DIY Washi Tape Murals

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Credit: John Connor
The full height windows and high ceilings allow for great views of the courtyard and plenty of natural light to enter the studio loft.

Name: John Connor and Maryana, my long-time partner
Location: Navy Yard District — Washington, D.C.
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 599 square feet
Years lived in: 8 months, renting

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: Our space was very much inspired by our apartment building. There are murals everywhere, which inspired us to create some bespoke pieces of our own. The building itself drew inspiration from the Bauhaus movement and we actually both attended the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, which was led by Mies van der Rohe, a former director of the Bauhaus. We knew instantly when we walked through the lobby that this was the perfect place for us!

Credit: John Connor
The dining table was assembled with Heckinger sawhorse legs found in the garage, as well as an old door we spray painted black for the table top. The chairs were also repurposed and given new life with colorful seat cushions to match the table runner we made from scrap material.

Having no furniture at the time, we scoured Maryana’s parent’s house for interesting finds. We were able to get a majority of the furniture from their garage or basement. We re-purposed old bricks to create a TV stand, we spray-painted a white wicker sofa and ottoman black, turned an old door and sawhorse legs into a dining table, and found an unused copper trough in the garden that we thought would make the perfect planter. The loft-like feel of the apartment with exposed concrete and 10’ ceilings inspired us to get creative and add our own designer stamp to it.

Credit: John Connor
A weathered copper trough made the perfect base for a variety of planters that are easy to maintain.

We selected colorful fabrics from IKEA and sewed our own sofa cushion, table runner, and seat covers. We hung modern prints reminiscent of tapestry and being inspired by Sol LeWitt’s wall drawings, we created our own full wall murals out of Washi tape.

Credit: John Connor
Multi-wall murals can add interest and help define underutilized areas.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Colorful, modern, creative, re-purposed, abstract.

Credit: John Connor
A careful balance of color from objects to art can help add interest and define zones within a small space.

What is your favorite room and why? We’re in a studio and the great thing about it is that it’s all one space; everything is connected yet we curated separate zones within. We love that it overlooks a courtyard and the floor-to-ceiling windows allow a lot of light to come through.

Credit: John Connor
Inspired by the murals found in our apartment building, we wanted to create an art piece without painting or damaging the walls. Also taking inspiration from Sol Le Witt’s wall drawing series, we created this piece using Washi Tape from Amazon.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? Washi tape from Amazon to create the murals.

Credit: John Connor
These curtains were purchased back in college and came in handy as a patterned back-drop to our bed. The artwork was created in a wood-block print class we took while in San Francisco.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Go for it! Let the space speak to you about what to add. Just because you are renting doesn’t mean you can’t decorate for fear of damaging walls. Also, a well-designed space doesn’t have to cost a lot! You just need some creativity. That is why we used Washi Tape; it’s easy to use, affordable, and temporary.

Credit: John Connor
These bricks were found in Maryana’s parent garage and with some trial and error became a functional piece to match the industrial character of the apartment.

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