A Small Atlanta Rental Apartment Has Vintage Coffee-Shop Vibes

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Bedrooms
Square feet
705
Sq ft
705
Cantilever dining chairs surround wooden square dining table in light filled dining room.
Credit: Kelsey Smoot

Kelsey Smoot has been renting this Atlanta apartment for five months, paying $1,400 a month: I moved into this space from a tiny duplex where I crash-landed after a bad breakup. When I decided to leave the duplex, I wanted a place where I felt that I could put down roots — I’m notoriously transient, and as a 30-year-old graduate student, I didn’t want my space to feel “collegiate.”

Credit: Kelsey Smoot

I also spend a lot of time in coffee shops when I’m writing, and I wanted my space to give homey coffee-shop vibes. As soon as I walked into this apartment, I knew it was perfect for me. With relatively tall ceilings and ample natural light, I felt confident that I could furnish this space to look like a real “home,” as opposed to a temporary dwelling. Most of my furnishings have been upcycled and thrifted from a combination of vintage shops and Facebook Marketplace.

Credit: Kelsey Smoot

I identify as Black, queer, and transmasculine. Despite having an affinity for darker, broodier color palettes, I challenged myself to lean into pops of color for this apartment in a way that I haven’t previously. For young Black artists, it can be a struggle to see our instinctive decor tastes reflected in design trends. Typically, in our dwellings, we will have some sort of commemorative or altar space, bright colors, and abstract portraiture, and lots of patterns and textures — styles that reflect Black aesthetics from our childhood. Most of my art was purchased directly from artists and features Black figures. I have multiple pieces that specifically highlight the beauty of trans bodies.

Credit: Kelsey Smoot

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or fewer: Black queer vintage coffee shop.

Credit: Kelsey Smoot

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is my bedroom. It is the brightest room in my place, and the things hanging on the wall feel particularly illustrative of me. I also struggle with depression, so having a space that is almost always flooded with light is integral in managing my mental health.

Credit: Kelsey Smoot

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing I purchased for my home was a frame for a photo of me and my best friend. I feel particularly proud of it because it started out as me looking for the “perfect frame” and ended as a DIY project (I thrifted and painted the frame to better embellish the photo!).

Credit: Kelsey Smoot

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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