100+ Plants Fill a Beautiful, Brick-Walled 600-Square-Foot NYC Rental Apartment

published Jun 1, 2021

100+ Plants Fill a Beautiful, Brick-Walled 600-Square-Foot NYC Rental Apartment

published Jun 1, 2021
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Name: Paul and a roommate
Location: Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan
Size: 600 square feet
Type of Home: Two-Bedroom Apartment
Years lived in: 2 years, renting

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Paul is a high school chemistry teacher, but you may know him best from his popular Instagram account, @plantmepaul, where he shares tons of plant care tips as well as photos of his leafy green plant collection. When Paul met his current roommate and they were both looking to move to Hell’s Kitchen, he told him there was only one real requirement: That it get a lot of natural light.

Credit: Erin Derby

“What I like about my apartment is that it’s in a wonderfully convenient location in Manhattan. I’m close to any and everything and I have four large east-facing windows where I get direct sun in the morning and bright, indirect throughout the day. I also like the exposed brick throughout much of the apartment as well,” says Paul.

Credit: Erin Derby

“I find this neighborhood to be very vibrant and full of young professionals. I live near a gay bar so it’s never a dull moment, but thankfully I can’t hear the noise from the bar. Since the pandemic, I’ve worked remotely and have passed the time by adding more plants to my collection and also learning how to better take care of the ones I have. When I’m not teaching from my table, I’m usually watering, cleaning, or checking the plants for pests or dead leaves. I’m constantly thinking of ways to rearrange furniture or do some redesigning in the small space I have.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I would say my style is a mix of contemporary and modern with lots of blues because it’s my favorite color.

Inspiration: I draw a lot of inspiration from my close friends’ apartments and what I see from other people’s places on Instagram.

Credit: Erin Derby

Favorite Element: I would say the favorite thing about my home are the plants that I’ve accrued over the years and being able to watch them grow and thrive. My next favorite thing would be the view and light my apartment gets.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge is being able to comfortably and cleanly fit over 100 plants in a small apartment.

Credit: Erin Derby

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY was putting together my mini terrarium for my plants. I found the same setup on my friend @peteysplanthouse and I thought it was the perfect size for my apartment. For plants that love that extra humidity, it’s a must.

Biggest Indulgence: I would say the biggest indulgence is my terrarium and the hard-to-find plants I’ve put in them. It’s a bit of an investment, but definitely worthwhile.

Credit: Erin Derby

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? I’ve used dark, empty spaces in my kitchen as an area for plants by placing a grow light underneath the cabinet. And basically any area that is unoccupied I’ve been able to put a plant there.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? One of my favorite products are some of the pots I’ve bought from @cleancutmosaics to accentuate my decor and plants. I also really liked the pendants that I was able to install for my grow lights in my living room. And lastly, my dining table that fits perfectly in my apartment.

Credit: Erin Derby

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: When you have a love for plants, but space is limited, don’t be afraid to go vertical! Use wall space for shelves or planters, curtain rods to hang plants, or attach a grow light. The closer the plants are to the sky, they happier they’ll be.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Find a color palette and mood that fits your style and let it go wild! And don’t forget to add some plants along the way.


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Falmouth Reversible Sectional — AllModern
  • Burstad Abstract Navy/Aqua/Light Gray/White Area Rug — WayFair
  • Bronte End Table (White) — AllModern
  • Wall Mirror — West Elm
  • WallyGro wall planters — WallyGro
  • Bar cart — West Elm
  •  Cube C-Side Table — West  Elm
  • Frida 3 Piece Dining Table Set — AllModern
  • Metal Garment Rack with Shelves — IRIS USA PI-B3
  • Terrarium — Amazon
Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Chien 1 Drawer Nightstand  — ​Wayfair

Thanks Paul!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.