5 Designers Showed Us the Smallest, Coolest Decor in Their Homes

published May 15, 2020
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Credit: Mi Casa

The Small/Cool Experience at Home is bringing 20 trends to life by 20 designers—all in less than 120 square feet. Check out the whole virtual experience online and at @apartmenttherapy on Instagram from May 15-17. Thank you to our sponsors BEHR, Amazon Handmade and Tuft & Needle for making this experience possible.

Want to learn to master design elements? You don’t need to take a class to learn about balance, color, and scale: Just watch the pros. All weekend long, through Instagram and right here on the site, Apartment Therapy is hosting the Small/Cool Experience at Home to connect you directly to designers—and all of their best tips and secrets.

It turns out scale is really important. Living in a small space provides you one very big opportunity: Tiny apartments let you harness the power of tiny objects to make an outsized impact. So why not introduce something unique, handmade, luxe, and yeah—small.

On IGTV, we asked five of the Small/Cool designers to show us their favorite small objects inside their homes, and every single one turned up something crafty, handmade, or one-of-a-kind. We couldn’t say it any better than designer Orlando Soria: “Having beautiful handmade things around you just gives your house more character.”

Here are the small/cool objects these designers love:

Designer Orlando Soria: An eyeball sculpture by Michelle Quan

“I got to go visit her studio, which was a lot of fun, and I purchased this when I did that. And every time I look at it, it reminds me of walking around that really beautiful, creative space with her and seeing what her process was, and really reveling in watching an artist work.”

Buy: New Eye Indigo, $175 from Michelle Quan

Mallory Fletchall of Reserve Home: An alabaster fruit collection

“I have been looking for them for a long time. Growing up, I used to see them in different people’s homes, and I just thought they were the coolest thing ever. And so about a year ago, I decided I needed my own set. This was made with excess alabaster, and I just think it’s just a really ingenious way to use excess materials, not to mention they’re just beautiful and fun to have around.

Buy similar: Vintage White Italian Alabaster Fruit, $85 on Etsy

Designer Max Humphrey: A collection of vintage bandanas

“I buy these every time I go vintage shopping, or I pick ’em up online. Bandanas are small and cool, they’re an iconic fashion accessory that people have been wearing for a hundred years, you know cowboys and bikers and coal miners. I like to frame my favorites—it’s an easy DIY. You know, you can buy an inexpensive frame, and I hang ’em up around my house. I particularly look for the Elephant brand, which are considered sort of the quintessential Americana.”

Buy similar: Brooklyn Bandanas on Etsy

Dana Ferraro of Molly Patton Design: Brass candlesticks

“These brass candlesticks are super special to me. These were all displayed at my wedding on each table. Every season, I style them differently. Right now, I have them styled without [taper candles], with some fresh blooms from the yard. And in the wintertime or on the holidays, I add the tapers to them, I weave some holiday greenery back through them, add some bows to the candlesticks.”

Buy similar: Set of 6 mismatched brass candlesticks, $85 on Etsy

Designer Michelle Lisac: A vintage doll dress in a shadow box

“My great-grandmother was a hairdresser for many, many years, and she had some very high-end clientele that traveled a lot. Every time her clients traveled to another country, she requested that they bring back a doll from said country. So I inherited a large amount of these cool dolls that she received. Needless to say, it can be a little creepy to have a bunch of dolls displayed around your house, so instead of the dolls, I took one of the really sweet little dresses and I displayed it here in this shadow box. It’s a really cute dress—I think from the 30s, 40s, maybe 50s—has a cute little black and white checkered dress, with a little apron. And I wrapped the back of the frame in a cool vintage lace that I found and pinned the dress to the lace.”

Buy similar: Vintage Floral Linen Doll Dress, $18 on Etsy