A 450-Square-Foot Bronx Studio Apartment Is Cozy But Colorful

updated Mar 3, 2020

A 450-Square-Foot Bronx Studio Apartment Is Cozy But Colorful

updated Mar 3, 2020
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Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Jeremy Lugo, Elaine Musiwa, their cat Chicken
Location: Bronx, New York
Size: 450 square feet
Years lived in: 5 months, renting

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Securing a spot to even view this apartment was a challenge; the alcove studio has three street-facing windows that bring a unique charm to the unit. And after seeing the hardwood floors, abundance of sunlight, high ceilings, and flexible layout, we knew we had found our new home.

We immediately started thinking about how to design the small space, and the first thing we tackled was storage. Good options such as the closet system from Wayfair and our floating shelves from Hayneedle instantly addressed our concerns with clutter. They helped set the tone for what we would do with the rest of the space.

We also wanted the studio to feel dimensional, so we identified two accent walls, sourced dynamic light fixtures, and enlisted the help of a plant designer at Urban Garden Center to find plants that not only worked with the lighting arrangement of our apartment but also added new life to our home.

Color was the third most important component of our design. The first thing you see when walking into our space is our oak platform bed against a cheerful yellow wall, which was the mood we wanted to set for ourselves and for our guests. Color not only feels good but inspires ideas that are instrumental to our lives as writers.

The space took us three months to design, and we’ve only been living in it for five, but we can see ourselves spending the next couple of years making this our home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: We gravitate to two things: color and Scandinavian design. Our home is the place where we look for relaxation and creative stimulation, which we hope comes through in our choice of plants and design accents.

Inspiration: When designing our apartment, we wanted to make the most out of a smaller space. We were more inspired by the furniture itself rather than any other outside sources. We needed items that were functional yet chic, like our room divider.

Favorite Element: We love our reading chair! It’s just one product but it adds an eye-catching element to our office that only that chair could achieve. Plus, Chicken, our cat, loves taking her naps there.

Biggest Challenge: The lack of space. Any additional box or item in the space just weighs it down instantly. We are constantly cleansing and removing unnecessary items from our space. We are on a lifelong journey to be minimalists.

What Friends Say: “This is your new apartment? It looks so nice!” Our last space where we lived together was a tiny studio in Chelsea that could practically only fit a bed and desk. Talk about minimalist! Needless to say, our friends are being reintroduced to our style and the things that reflect who we are in our home. I think that can be inspiring for other people to do the same.

Biggest Embarrassment: Our open closet isn’t the most embarrassing but it’s something that we constantly have to maintain because it’s in our entryway.

Proudest DIY: The shelving! It was super time consuming and each time we approached a different wall, a new challenge presented itself. Whether we were dealing with small curves in the wall, leveling the shelves, or lining up adjacent shelves. It was the most challenging DIY with the biggest payoff.

Biggest Indulgence: Color! Honestly, we can’t get enough of it.

Best Advice: Take it easy! Take deep breaths! It will get done! Home projects can be a bit stressful to complete. It’s important to keep a schedule and not overwhelm yourself. We also did a lot of online shopping and used Wayfair’s View in Room feature app to see everything in the space before we actually did the purchase, which was super helpful. Last but not least, the old classic: measure twice and screw in once.

Dream Sources: Honestly, the best dream sources for us are our favorite marketplaces like Hayneedle, Wayfair, Overstock, Saatchi Art, and The Urban Garden Center in East Harlem. You can tell because it’s where we went for almost everything in our space! We get inspired from seeing products and those sites always feature beautiful pieces. We can literally scroll those pages for hours!


Glidden– Spicy Banana Pepper
Glidden– Charcoal Coastal

Natural Suit and Jacket Hangers- Hayneedle
Natural Dress Hangers- Hayneedle
Honey Can Do Laundry Hamper- Hayneedle
Arrange-A-Space Closet System- Wayfair
Open Storage Bins- Overstock

Loloi Adler Rug- Hayneedle
Rug pad- Hayneedle
Spindle Accent Table- Hayneedle
Cat Scratch Post House- Hayneedle
Futon- Wayfair
Before Rug- Wayfair
Coffee Table- Wayfair
Cordless Vacuum- Overstock
Slim Tower Fan- Overstock
Spider Plant- Urban Garden Center
Black Stool- NJ Estate Sale
Dispersion Artwork- Saatchi Art
Colorful Pots and Bowls- Brooklyn Reclamation
Loloi Decorative Pillow- Hayneedle
Surya Throw Blanket- Hayneedle
Splattered Blue Fruit Bowl- Housing Works
Mini Hugging Sculptures- Asian Barn
Bella Palms- Urban Garden Center
Yellow Mugs- Mother of Junk

Linon New Flokati Black Area Rug – Hayneedle
White File Cabinet- Hayneedle
In-Place Floating Shelves- Hayneedle
Accent Chair- Wayfair
LED Globe Pendant- Wayfair
Writing Desk- Wayfair
Two-Tone Office Chair- Wayfair
Endless Summer Print- Saatchi Art
Clip-on Reading Lamp- NJ Estate Sale
This Is All I Remember From Friday Night Print- Saatchi Art
Bella Palms- Urban Garden Center

Cat Kitchen Mat- Wayfair
Square Trash Bin- Overstock

Room Divider- Hayneedle
Retro Wall Clock- Hayneedle
Suraya Decorative Pillows- Hayneedle
Cedar Wood Plant Caddy- Hayneedle
Woven Dot Comforter- Hayneedle
Silver Blackout Curtains- Hayneedle
Curtain lining- Wayfair
Curtain Rods- Wayfair
Curtain Tiebacks- Overstock
White microfiber sheets- Hayneedle
Dancing 1-Light Mini Pendant- Wayfair
Duvet Cover- Wayfair
Bookshelf- Wayfair
Oak Platform Bed- Overstock
Gel Mattress- Overstock
Fig Tree, Rubber plant, Snake Plant, Spider Plant, Neon Pothos- Urban Garden Center
Purple pot- NJ Estate Sale
Aroma Diffuser- Muji
Tweed Knitted Throw- Wayfair
Layers No. 6 Artwork- Sarah Golden

Cat Litter Box- Wayfair
Bathroom Cabinet- Wayfair
Belgian Linen Shower Curtain- Overstock
Bath Rugs- Hayneedle
Dear Larry Print- Saatchi Art
Anthrium Plant- Urban Garden Center

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