A 370-Square-Foot Studio Is Uncluttered Yet Cozy

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The plainest corner of my apartment and one of my most multiuse furniture pieces. My dresser serves as a nightstand/dresser/endtable and I’m thankful for it. I’m still trying to figure out art in this corner (Image credit: Naimah Jennings)

Name: Naimah Jennings, two cats: Teapot and Huey
Location: The West End — Alameda, California
Size: 370 square feet
Years lived in: 1 1/2 years, renting

This studio is the first place that I’ve ever lived at on my own without any roommates. I’ve been really happy to create a space for myself that 100 percent reflects my personality. Even though it’s tiny, it’s been fun to try to figure out ways to incorporate the things that I couldn’t imagine living without: a bookshelf, a vanity and a desk, without overwhelming the space and feeling smothered by furniture.

My favorite things to decorate with are with color and art. The hard part was trying to figure out how to balance it in my small studio and not overwhelm the space. The print is from Urban Outfitters and I got it custom framed at Framebridge. I love that the orange makes the various orange tones in the room pop (Image credit: Naimah Jennings)

I’m happy that my love of art (all that I’m able to put up without feeling cluttered), books, and color is totally apparent right when you walk in. I literally have art in every room (except for my closet) and it’s been so nice to know that I’ve been able to create this beautiful space for myself. It’s a real point of pride when people comment how my apartment makes them feel.

My gallery wall. I like to pick up postcards of art when I travel and I was happy to finally put them on display in here with the really cheap gold IKEA frames. Also my second favorite piece of furniture is the secretary that serves as both my desk and vanity. I love that it takes up such a small footprint and I can tuck everything away when I’m not using it. (Image credit: Naimah Jennings)

This is the first time that I’ve had plants and I’ve really enjoyed seeing the benefit of having them in my space and learning how to care for them. I’m grateful for the natural light that I have, even though it can be minimal at times, because I see how they thrive.

One of my favorite views in my apartment. The wall-mounted bookshelf is my favorite furniture item. I couldn’t imagine my space without a bookshelf but also (Image credit: Naimah Jennings)

I adopted Teapot about two months after I moved in and it’s also been fun to see what spaces she carves out for herself and how to make everything comfortable for her while not sacrificing aesthetics (sadly, all the cute cat towers don’t have the things that she loves about hers). When my cousin told me about the kittens in her backyard, I was concerned about having two cats in my studio but it’s actually worked out perfectly and they seem really happy in their home.

Since I’ve lived here (Image credit: Naimah Jennings)

What is your favorite room and why? My favorite room is my only room! I love that my uni-room feels calm but has a lot of visual interest. It seems like a lot of what is trending right now is so minimal and monotone and while I find it beautiful, I couldn’t imagine a life and space without color. I’m happy that I’ve been able to achieve a balance in my space. I also like that I’ve learned to embrace multi-functional furniture in the room that isn’t obvious that it’s serving three purposes at once. It makes me feel a little like I wasn’t forced to sacrifice functionality for style. I love the way that the sun comes into the windows in the afternoon and that Teapot and Huey can sunbathe. I love that I have everything that I need in this 178-square-foot room and that it feels like enough. I’ve been able to create a happy space for myself without wanting more.

I really lucked up with my kitchen. This was the first unit that was renovated in my building. Unlike my last unit ( across the hall) this kitchen has a full sized range (Image credit: Naimah Jennings)

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? The last thing that I bought are the wishbone chairs in my dining ” nook.” When I first moved in, I bought these really cute blush pink metal chairs. I quickly learned that metal chairs are uncomfortable and that it’s boring to always make sure that your bottoms are long enough that you aren’t slapped by the cold of the metal when you first sit down. These chairs maybe aren’t as fun, but they’re classic AND comfortable.

I wanted to avoid putting commonly used items like cups (Image credit: Naimah Jennings)

Any advice for creating a home you love? My advice would be to think about what makes you feel at home. What are your essentials? What makes you happy in a space? I think working from what you love instead of a trend can make all the difference. Also, taking your time in a space to find the perfect piece. Sometimes what you think will work initially, doesn’t when you actually spend time in the space. It was annoying having piles of books at the foot of my bed but it was important for me to find a shelving solution that didn’t eat up precious space.

Thanks, Naimah!

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