Theo’s Small, Streamlined Two-Bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen

Theo’s Small, Streamlined Two-Bedroom in Hell’s Kitchen

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Name: Theodore Venable
Location: Hell’s Kitchen — New York, NY
Size: 380 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Rented

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Theo recently relocated to New York City from Chicago with all of his belongings, and like any transplant coming to NYC, he was faced with the difficult task of downsizing. Theo had to make the adjustment from a 680-square-foot one-bedroom apartment to a 380-square-foot two-bedroom apartment! If he was going to make this new place work, he had to be brutal in his choices of what to keep versus what to toss. After he successfully sold most of his things, what remains in his home is everything he absolutely needs or loves.

To help maintain a sense of spaciousness, Theo kept the decor in the combined living/dining/kitchen areas chic and minimal. It is hard to believe the whole place was once completely covered from top to bottom in boxes of stuff! For his bedroom, he painted an accent wall to help draw the eye up and installed industrial pipes for extra closet space. When Theo’s roommate moved out, he turned the second bedroom into a stylish and cozy Airbnb rental.

The apartment boasts south-facing windows, which means it is flooded with natural light during the day. But since Theo also understands the value of good lighting when the sun goes down, he swapped out all the light fixtures and installed dimmers in every room for cozy evenings.

Despite the lack of square footage, Theo was able to create a space that maintains a sense of openness and embodies the qualities of a chic boutique hotel: visually appealing, stylish, and functional.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Modern yet warm—streamlined with neutral colors and different textures.

Inspiration: I love to pull inspiration from magazines, boutique hotels that I’ve visited, retail spaces, etc.

Favorite Element: I’m obsessed with lighting so I love both how much natural light the apartment gets during the day and the lighting scheme that I’ve created for nighttime (with everything on dimmers, of course!).

Biggest Challenge: Figuring out a floor plan that would be conducive for two living people living in such a small space and creating a storage solution for my many, many clothes…

What Friends Say: My friends are always surprised when I let them know the actual square footage once they’ve visited the space. They always comment that it feels much airier than that.

Biggest Embarrassment: I love being savvy with my furniture finds and after finding the perfect floor-length mirror on Craigslist over in Brooklyn, I decided to save money and bring it home with me on the subway… in the rain. The 45lb mirror and slippery, wet hands didn’t go well together and I ended up dropping it while waiting for my subway transfer. The commuters around me weren’t too pleased with the shattered mess and I’m still hoping that I won’t get 7 years bad luck…

Proudest DIY: The butcher block countertop/dining table is one of my proudest DIY accomplishments for the apartment. So many options I was looking at for the apartment were too big for the tiny space so I decided to make something myself by purchasing a bar table underframe, butcher block countertop, getting it trimmed down to the proper size, and then sanding it for hours in the tiny hallway of my apartment before it looked just right. It’s a really sharp look with the pendants that I mounted above it and also acts as additional countertop prep space for a kitchen that barely has any area designated for this.

Biggest Indulgence: I believe in indulging on smaller touches that help make the space. One of my favorites for this particular apartment is the Jonathan Adler mohair throw blanket by the sofa. It was pricey but well worth the investment!

Best Advice: When living in a small space, only hang onto what you absolutely need to. My roommate and I did several rounds of purges over the first few months and it turned out to be quite liberating to not be tied down to so much stuff and stressing yourself out over where to store it.

Also, lighting makes any space and should always be a part of your design plan!

Dream Sources: Hopefully someday soon I’ll be able to splurge and fill my home with great antique MCM furniture finds and all my favorites things from ABC Home—but until then I’ll make do with what I have and keep collecting little treasures along the way.



  • Frames: West Elm
  • Runner: Safavieh
  • Mirror: Ikea


  • Sofa: Ikea
  • Rug: Ikea
  • Marble coffee table: CB2
  • Glass lamp: CB2
  • Side table: West Elm
  • Throw: Jonathan Adler
  • Pillows: West Elm
  • Metal liquor tray: Crate & Barrel
  • Credenza/console: Ikea
  • Abstract painting: by Theo


  • Butcher block countertop/dining table: custom/DIY
  • Grey stools: Tabouret


  • Sconces: West Elm, with the wood stained darker than the original bamboo
  • Chandelier: West Elm
  • Wardrobe: custom
  • Dresser: Target, with updated drawer pulls from Home Depot
  • Curtains: Pottery Barn


  • Bookcase/desk: CB2
  • Office chair: CB2
  • Shelves over bed: Ikea
  • Headboard: Ikea
  • Sconces: Ikea
  • Pendant light: CB2


  • Shower Curtain: West Elm
  • Frames: Ikea

Thanks, Theo!

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