I Asked a Small-Space Living Expert for Their No. 1 Rule of “Living Tiny” (It’s Brilliant!)

published Jul 10, 2024
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Writing deck in front of sunny, plant filled window.

If anyone has legitimate expertise in the arena of tiny living, it’s Suzi Siegel. Not only is she an author of a book about the tiniest things in NYC, Tiny New York, she also owns her own tiny piece of NYC — a 500-square-foot studio apartment she’s been living in for seven years. And you better believe she’s learned a thing or two about how to successfully live in a super small home.

For instance, she says that clutter is “bad news in a small space,” and advises minimizing decor that just sits on tops of your home’s flat surfaces but doesn’t serve an actual functional purpose, like cute accessories that might be hanging out on top of your coffee or dining tables. She also suggests maximizing what you hang on your wall (like shelves, for instance). The “walls are free underutilized space!” she exclaims. 

But her No. 1 piece of advice doesn’t have to do with tabletop or wall surfaces, but rather has everything to do with another important surface: the floor. 

Minimize objects that take up floor space.

“If it takes up floor space, it should have multiple uses,” she emphasizes. In her small home, she has credenzas that double as dressers full of storage, for instance. She also has lots of ottomans that pull double duty and have not only seating, but also more storage. “I do a party every year for Queens Pride, which kicks off Pride month and I got 20 people seated comfortably in here no problem,” she admits. 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t have anything on your floors, Suzi just encourages you to be thoughtful about what does take up floor space in your home, and see if there’s a way to make it serve more than one purpose. I think you can safely exclude your sofa or side chairs (but actually, there are great storage sofas available!). 

Check out more tiny-living advice in Suzi’s stylish and small home in Queens.