This Extremely Organized 350-Square-Foot NYC Apartment Will Make You Re-Think Your Storage Situation

updated Mar 24, 2020

This Extremely Organized 350-Square-Foot NYC Apartment Will Make You Re-Think Your Storage Situation

updated Mar 24, 2020
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Bedrooms
Square feet
350
Sq ft
350
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Name: Zach Hilty and Libby Duke
Location: Soho, New York
Size: 350 square feet
Years Lived In: 1 year, renting

Since moving in to this apartment last year, Zach and Libby have discovered they love decorating and creating a home together. “Even though our apartment is super tiny, we’ve found that it’s been a blast to decorate, entertain, and even have family and friends stay with us,” explains Libby. “We’ve managed to turn a really small space into something that actually feels like a home, which can be challenging when renting in NYC!”

Along with space limitations, the couple also tackled budgetary constraints when outfitting their small home, as well. “We decorated mostly from very inexpensive retailers like Amazon, IKEA, Etsy, and Target and found it was easy to create a calming oasis without spending a lot of money,” Libby says. Though, there are a few places they did indulge themselves. “We splurged on our lighting and have 11 Phillips Hue light bulbs that we control from our phones and our Google Home,” she says. “We are really intentional about unplugging when we’re at home, so we have a projector instead of a TV and loads of books and magazines.” 

Credit: Erin Derby

Zach is director of talent development and a senior staff photographer at BFA, and Libby is director of communications at Thrive Global. And along with having to fit two humans and their things in just 350 square feet, they’ve recently added another small space challenge. The couple are both living a vegan lifestyle now, and have had to make some “unconventional” shifts to storing grocery items in surprising spots (like the living room media cabinets, for instance). But even with the difficulties of living in a small NYC apartment, the couple is here to stay for awhile. “After Zach’s 10 years in San Francisco and my six years in Los Angeles, we’ve now both been in New York City long enough to know we’re never leaving,” says Libby. “We met on Tinder in April 2018 and have been inseparable ever since, and recently got married in Las Vegas at the Graceland Chapel.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Our style is cozy pink pistachio desert oasis

Inspiration: What we think our grandparents’ houses would have been like if they lived in Palm Springs.

Favorite Element: Our Moroccan rug! We looked at probably 10,000 rugs and finally found this one.

Credit: Erin Derby

Biggest Challenge: Storage! We have six IKEA shoe racks and have filled them with way more than just shoes.

Proudest DIY: Our kitchen originally had these awful cabinets, and the breakfast bar was a gross dark plywood, so Zach took all the kitchen cabinets down and threw them away and we stuck on faux subway tile and hung some shelves with some L brackets. The whole kitchen makeover was probably less than $150 and was a total gamechanger for how the space looks now. 

Credit: Zach Hilty and Libby Duke | Erin Derby

Biggest Indulgence: Buying art and custom framing! We have purchased three prints from one of our favorite artists, Sarah Bahbah (our very first date was to her gallery showing in NYC) and also we commissioned an oil painting of ourselves, LOL. 

Best Advice: Paint, even if you’re renting! Painting makes such a difference. Also, learn how to use basic mounting hardware like toggle bolts and drywall anchors (watch the YouTube videos!). Buy mirrors. Invest in lighting.

Credit: Erin Derby

What’s your best home secret? Everyone always says, “Paint in light colors! It will make your rooms look bigger!” Maybe that’s true, but some rooms are just SMALL and it doesn’t matter what color you paint them, they’ll still be small! So paint them any color you want!

Resources

Credit: Erin Derby

PAINT & COLORS

Credit: Erin Derby

LIVING ROOM

Credit: Erin Derby

KITCHEN

Credit: Erin Derby

BEDROOM

  • Bed Frame — Amazon
  • STÄLL Shoe Cabinet (2) — IKEA
  • Bedding is from West Elm and Target but no longer available!
Credit: Erin Derby

BATHROOM