This Tiny 225-Square-Foot Studio Apartment Is Full of the Most Genius Storage Solutions

updated Jun 27, 2019

This Tiny 225-Square-Foot Studio Apartment Is Full of the Most Genius Storage Solutions

updated Jun 27, 2019
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Whitney Thayne and Rorschach (Rory) the cat
Location: Brooklyn Heights — Brooklyn, NY
Size: 225 square feet
Years lived in: 3.5 years, renting

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

Whitney Thayne and her teeny 225-square-foot were featured on Apartment Therapy as a house call earlier this year, but it simply wasn’t a long enough look. Though it’s a small studio, it doesn’t feel cramped at all, thanks to the clean, all-white color scheme. But her rental apartment is also a successful living space because of all of her smart organizing ideas.

“I’ve always been a fan of creatively using organization to make the impossible happen,” Whitney wrote. “At 225 square feet, this apartment has been one of my ‘biggest’ challenges, and has more or less felt like life-size Tetris. Truly, the smaller the space, the more you have to dream up space-specific techniques to function. But my tortoiseshell cat Rorschach (“Rory”) and I have made this space our nest, a retreat from whatever New York throws at you from one day to the next.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Curated vintage balanced with modern minimalism.

Inspiration: Anything created by my favorite photographer Jamie Beck, great art direction in films, traveling the world, nature, Apartment Therapy, and the omniscient Pinterest home design algorithm.

Favorite Element: My ‘dresser’ wall I built in with IKEA Trones. It had to be a cohesive, intentional unit, so the eye would move as it should for being the featured wall.

Biggest Challenge: Space and light. If you haven’t noticed, it’s a pretty minuscule space. As far as classic ‘my tiny New York apartment’ lines go, I’m able to buzz someone into my building and open my front door for them without leaving my bed. And as a person who truly adores my possessions (try as I might to be a minimalist), it has been a real challenge to make the space functional and not feel like a storage unit. I’ve always called it my ‘life-sized Tetris’ experiment. The lack of light can also be difficult, due to this being a garden level apartment. This is why I’ve kept everything as bright as possible, to have something for natural light to reflect off of instead of absorb.

What Friends Say: “Where is the rest of it?” and, “It’s so cute and cozy!”

Biggest Embarrassment: If only a couple of items are out of place, the space can look messy very easily.

Proudest DIY: Organization! The only way to function in a space like this is to get really creative with how and where things are placed. Built-ins are your friend. Learning how to maximize and find the exact thing that will work is ultimately worth it. For instance:

  • I have the tall clear Container Store bins under my bed because they perfectly fit under the frame, and they are all designated to different categories (files, cat supplies, spare bedding, sewing supplies, etc.).
  • I own an accordion drying rack that hangs on hooks in the shower. It was the only place for it, but it works beautifully.
  • My workout gear and recycling go in wine crates under the couch, and my computer is in a mounted acrylic magazine rack to the side, so it’s virtually invisible.
  • The fire extinguisher and oven mitts are mounted under the folding IKEA counter, where they’re only visible if standing in front of the stove.
  • The tissue box is gaffe taped to the wall next to the bed, an old theater trick.
  • Headboard DIY: I bought oversized pillows from Marshall’s, stitched ribbon onto two corners of each, and tied them to little hooks I had screwed into the wall. Voila—soft,
    washable headboard.
  • Rory’s food and toy boxes are actually IKEA litter boxes. They’re low profile, affordable, and more or less blend in.
  • DVDs / Blu-Ray discs are in plastic sleeves and sorted into sewing pattern boxes.
  • Every door is used for organization in some capacity. The clothes closet has a mirror on one side, hooks and an IKEA Trone mounted on the other for scarves. The linen closet has a Container Store hanging organizer mounted for vacuum parts, cat supplies, reusable bags, and laundry supplies. The bathroom door has a hook and bar for towels, as well as a basket for a scale, books, etc. This even applies to cabinets–spice racks, pan lids, measuring spoons, cutting board are all on the inside of kitchen cabinet doors. My ‘garbage can’ in the kitchen is a hanging cabinet door basket that I line with grocery bags; the spares are stored in a Lululemon bag I attached underneath the basket.

It’s a process; not everything comes to you at once. But you discover spaces as you go that can be used for more than they’re given credit.

Biggest Indulgence: Allowing myself to have as many clothes as I do. It’s a passion and my profession, so trying to narrow down a wardrobe can be difficult for me.

Best Advice: “Buy once, cry once” is a an important saying for me. I really don’t have the space to buy something that doesn’t function perfectly and shove it in the back of a closet to be forgotten. So if I buy something, it should be an item of quality as well as aesthetic. It has also encouraged me to look at gift giving and receiving differently. We have such a wasteful economy; doing what you can to have that exchange be focused on time together, experiences, or what is genuinely needed / loved helps build stronger bonds with loved ones as well.

Dream Sources: CB2, West Elm, Anthropologie, Design Within Reach, Etsy, Crate & Barrel, Domino, Food 52, Everygirl, The Container Store, The Citizenry, and any great antique shop.



  • Sutton Sofette — West Elm
  • Throw Pillows — CB2, Anthropologie
  • Kiba Throw Blanket — Anthropologie
  • Knitted Graphite Pouf — CB2
  • Acrylic Nesting Side Tables (Vintage) — Craigslist
  • Hoop Mirror — Anthropologie
  • Ekby Lerberg Shelf Bracket — IKEA
  • Vintage Folding Chair — Antique Market
  • Antique Brass Small Mobile Chandelier — West Elm
  • Trones Storage Cabinet — IKEA
  • Drawer Organizers (In Trones) — IKEA
  • Acrylic Stacking Jewelry Organizer — The Container Store
  • Gold Faux Antler Wall Rack — White Faux Taxidermy
  • Emily Isabella Boudoir Nude Print — Anthropologie
  • Chéret L’Arc En Ciel Antique Print — Antique Market in Crown Heights
  • Matilda Curtains — IKEA
  • Ceramic Wall Planter — CB2
  • Black and White Resin Skeletal Painting — Original by Uta Brauser
  • SmartCat Cat Climber — Amazon
  • SmartCat Cat Scratcher — Amazon
  • White Cat Tray — IKEA
  • Portrait Mirror — Antique Family Piece
  • Skold Sheepskin Rug — IKEA
  • Plug-In Pendant Light Cord in Silicone — Color Cord Company
  • Bamboo Stacking Shelf — The Container Store
  • Elfa Wire Utility Door Rack — The Container Store
  • DVD Sleeves — Amazon
  • Sewing Pattern Organizer (For DVDs) — Annie’s Craft Store


  • Bjursta Wall-Mouted Drop-Leaf Table — IKEA
  • Botkyrka Wall Shelf — IKEA
  • Iridescent Coupé Glasses (Vintage 1940s) — Stoop Sale in Park Slope
  • Altuzarra x Neiman Marcus for Target Tumblers & Shaker — Amazon
  • Glass Bedside Carafe & Glass — Anthropologie
  • Summer White Mug — Caskata
  • Stemless Wine Glass — Crate & Barrel
  • Tour Highball Glass — Crate & Barrel
  • Ginger Vase — Antique Family Piece
  • Wine Rack — CB2
  • Wooden Utensil Organizer — Anthropologie
  • Serving Platter — Anthropologie
  • Farmhouse Pottery Utensil Pitcher — West Elm
  • Schmidt Brothers Acacia Magnetic Wall Bar — Crate & Barrel
  • Citronsyra Plant Pot — IKEA
  • Gold Dish Rack — CB2
  • Drying Mat — OXO
  • Vinyl Cabinet Covers — Amazon
  • Gold Dot Decals — Amazon
  • Dial Kitchen Timer — Muji
  • Juniper the Fox Paw Press Painting — Etsy
  • Cabinet Door Basket (‘Trash Bin’) — Amazon


  • ‘Goodnight’ Wire Script Sculpture — Anthropologie
  • Various Art Above Bed — Antique Markets
  • Ribbed Blanket — West Elm
  • Shams — West Elm
  • Pillow ‘Headboard’ — Marshall’s
  • 280-Thread-Count Pima Cotton Percale Sheet Set — L.L.Bean
  • Geometric Gold Lamp — Crate and Kids
  • Honeycomb Bowl — Anthropologie
  • Flip-In Laundry Hamper — OXO
  • Drop-Front Shoe Box — The Container Store
  • Jumbo Box (For Underbed Storage) — The Container Store


  • The Spherical Bear Print by Marc Johns — Society6
  • Friendly Bear Print by Sarajea — Society6
  • Brass Wall Clock — Target
  • Acrylic Wall Shelves — The Container Store
  • Toilet Brush and Plunger Combo — OXO
  • Wire Lady Wall Sculpture — Finders Keepers Market in Melbourne, AU
  • Romantic Floral Scarf Shower Curtain — Urban Outfitters
  • Scrap Teak Mat — VivaTerra
  • Macy’s Hotel Collection Towels — Macy’s
  • 3-Tier Shower Caddy — OXO
  • 2-Drawer Mesh Organizer — The Container Store
  • 3M Command Clear Caddies — The Container Store

Thanks, Whitney!

Share Your Style: