Onielia's Cheerful & Sunny Studio

Onielia's Cheerful & Sunny Studio

Leela Cyd
Aug 2, 2011

Name: Onielia Douglas
Location: Downtown — Portland, Oregon
Size: 535 square feet
Years lived in: 1 — rented

Onielia lives in a studio smack dab in the middle of downtown Portland. After seeing her petite, divided studio in our Small, Cool Contest, I was curious about how the cute, girly pad actually flowed. She has creatively tackled a pretty small space with the use of strategically placed larger pieces as well as personal, joyful details. And she's done it all on a tight budget!

Onielia is passionate about design and home life, and really enjoys waking up to the natural sunlight that pours into her downtown studio. She's a Craiglist maven who scours the site for furniture daily, just for fun! Onielia has a lot of pieces from Ikea, purchased second hand from small shops and off Craigslist. What's interesting is not so much the furniture itself (fairly familiar items and basics), but what she's done with the pieces and how she's put her personal twist on everything. For example, she's using floating shelves to display favorite high heels in her dining area and the Billy bookcase as a divider between her cozy bed and the living room. Onielia just finished putting herself through school and is entering the workforce as a personal trainer; she keeps inspirational images and sayings throughout her space.

Onielia loves owls and they pepper her studio in fun ways. She's got an owl cookie jar, several owl objects on her shelves and a few in her bathroom. Moving to Portland three years ago from New York unleashed the owl–lover within and she enjoys searching for more owl paraphernalia any chance she's got. The bright colors of pink, purple and blue act as a happy backdrop to all of Onielia's personal items, picked up in Portland, New York and Mexico. This is a livable studio, with distinct areas for dining, cooking, sleeping and hanging out — a real feat within the constrains of the space. The giant windows pouring in natural light and second story breezes, also make the space feel big, airy and open. Onielia has found a great balance between working within a budget and expressing herself through her home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Recession-fiend, eclectic chic

Inspiration: Carrie Bradshaw's apartment

Favorite Element: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how much light my windows let in! My electricity bill is very low.

Biggest Challenge: Clearly defining each section or my space as if it were an individual room, and still making it feel cohesive.

Biggest Embarrassment: Nightstands. I can't seem to find one that is just right. I don't know what I'm looking for exactly, but I'll know when I see it. I'm also having a hard time decorating my bathroom.

Proudest DIY: Almost every piece of furniture was put together by me. The kitchen island, the bedroom/living room bookcase/ divider, the shelves in the dining room, and the light fixtures were all nailed, leveled, and hung with my bare hands.

Biggest Indulgence: I think of bedding like clothes for my bed. I have a growing duvet cover collection. I love bright colors, fun and festive patterns and textures. I buy new bedding as often as I buy shoes.

Best Advice: Love your space. The more you love your space, the best you want for it, and the more other people respect the space you love.

Dream Sources: West Elm, Anthropologie, 1960's Hollywood.

Resources of Note:
Craigslist, eBay, overstock, garage sales


    • Most furniture is from IKEA originally, but I paid a fraction of the cost by using Craigslist. Klippan loveseat, 2 Expedit bookcases, Expedit coffee table
    • Mid century modern chair was originally red, and purchased at a vintage store. I've since reupholstered it.
    • vintage credenza.


    • The only thing that I needed furniture wise for the kitchen was the island. I really needed to separate the space with this piece. That was also purchased brand new.
    • Favorite thing in my kitchen is my pink stand mixer. It was a long lost gift.


    • I love that my bedroom is enclosed, yet open to the rest of my apartment. It is a very small nook that I like to make as girlie as possible. While most of my duvet covers are from IKEA, the sheets themselves are from a hotel collection.


    • Shower curtain: Anthropologie
    • Other than that, there isn't much going on in my bathroom. The next step will be to add a shelf or two for toiletries and hooks to display my owl necklace collection.

Thanks, Onielia!

Images: Leela Cyd Ross

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