A Compact & Chic Classic Railroad Apartment in NYC

updated Feb 19, 2019

A Compact & Chic Classic Railroad Apartment in NYC

updated Feb 19, 2019
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Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Monica Dyer
Location: West Village, New York
Size: 600 square feet
Years lived in: 3 years, rented

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Monica and her husband have lived in this apartment in New York for about three years and have transformed it into a perfect compact and chic city home. It’s light-filled and lovely, designed with a fresh outlook and plenty of savvy. They’ve gone with a warm neutral color palette, a personal, updated take on traditional decor and have utilized really simple yet smart design solutions throughout to truly make the most of a challenging layout.

The fifth floor walkup is what is known as a railroad apartment; the rooms flow directly into each other, without a hallway. Monica describes it as “…a single shot, long and narrow with separate ‘compartments’.” Since you can see throughout the space from any room in the home, Monica and her husband have worked to reduce clutter (they even have their fridge hidden away!) and make the entire apartment visually cohesive. They also really made the most of the space available to them by focusing on which room would work best for different purposes, regardless of the “order” in which they flowed. By not being afraid to put the bedroom in the middle part of the “train”, they were able to utilize the sunny front room (with Monica’s favorite architectural element, the fantastic fireplace) as their main living room.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic

Inspiration: My husband and I have filled our apartment with treasures that we have collected from our global travels, vintage finds from all over and family heirlooms.

Favorite Element: I love the floor-to-ceiling fireplace in the front room. It adds architectural interest and gives character to a small space.

Biggest Challenge: The layout. It is a railroad apartment: long and narrow with different “compartments” that can be difficult to connect. I removed French doors between the middle and front room to open the space up and painted the entire apartment one color for continuity.

What Friends Say: “Your apartment is soooo you”. Whatever that means 😉

Biggest Embarrassment: The open luggage storage above our main closet! (not pictured!)

Proudest DIY: Turning an awkward framed empty wall space in the kitchen into a blackboard.

Biggest Indulgence: The large antique portraits in the front room. Worth every penny.

Best Advice: Don’t try to decorate your apartment all at once. Slowly collect pieces that you love and reflect you. Look for pieces with different textures and from different eras.

Dream Sources: Montauk Sofa and 1stDibs.

Explore this style:

Further resources:


White Campaign Nightstand: Land of Nod


Reclaimed Wood Shelves: West Elm
Remy Dining Chairs: Restoration Hardware
Breakwater Storage Bench: Wayfair

Thanks, Monica!

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