living Archives – A Little Leopard
living Archives – A Little Leopard

living Archives – A Little Leopard

Image: Gravity Home

It seems like no one ever thinks their living space is big enough. If you’re hustling on an entry-level salary, sharing with roommates or sacrificing square footage for the luxury of living alone, there’s a good chance you’re faced with what most would consider a “small space.” Shoebox living doesn’t have to be totally uncomfortable or crazy, though — just take these four things into consideration:

Maximize your light

Hopefully, your tiny abode is blessed with good natural light, but even if it’s not, there are ways to fake it. Don’t just rely on whatever overhead situation your space comes with — make sure you have enough ambient and task lighting throughout your apartment or room. Try not to interrupt the light’s “flow” too much, and use mirrors to reflect and create the illusion of more space. (Seriously, mirrors have got to be one of the oldest small space tricks in the book, but there’s a reason. They work!)

Form + Function

Look out for double-duty furniture (ottomans as coffee table! Chairs as nightstands!) and dual-purpose decorative objects. When you’re working with minimal space, it’s important to make the most of what you do have!


If you’re living in a tiny apartment, it’s quite unlikely you will have room for a full dining room, office and dressing area. Really consider what is important to you, and work the layout to fit that in. If you love entertaining, maybe you focus on a dining nook that can double as a workspace. If you work from home quite a bit, maybe a “home office” is more important. It’s all about what works for you!

You Do You

Lots of articles about small space living will tell you to keep things light and bright or de-clutter as much as possible in order to maximize the space you have. If you’re into minimalism with a Scandinavian vibe, great! Do that! But the thing is…it’s your space. And at the end of the day, if you prefer dark walls and drama, there are totally ways to make that work, no matter how much square footage you’ve got. It’s all about what’s going to make you happy to come home to at the end of the day.

Apartment Therapy’s annual Small Cool Contest is a treasure trove of interior design inspiration and clever ideas, no matter how small (or large) your living space actually is. Each year, Apartment Therapy readers are invited to submit their small, cool homes (no bigger than 1,000 square feet) to find the smallest, coolest spaces in the world. Yep…the world. There are four contest divisions: small, little, tiny, teeny-tiny and international.

I love love love the Small Cool Contest (my most popular post of all time features a Small Cool apartment), so this year I’d like to showcase my favorite spaces in each category — starting globally with the international division!

Image: Apartment Therapy

First up is Helene Louise’s studio in Denmark, which masterfully uses every square inch of available space, including a bed lofted on dressers. I’m loving the muted Scandinavian color palette of white and shades of grey.

Image: Apartment Therapy

This may be my favorite International entry. Chelsea’s small Toronto space proves that dark walls can totally work in any size room or apartment. She also makes use of bold patterns and a dramatic black and white and gold color scheme with pops of deep pink. It’s like a perfectly glam little bachelorette pad.

Image: Apartment Therapy

Finally, we have Yasmine’s Paris apartment, which automatically gets cool points by virture of being in Paris. She has created a cozy little breakfast nook in the corner, but the real star here is the gallery wall. Don’t be afraid to try something that might seem a little crazy, like painting your gallery wall and frames to match your actual wall. Here, the mirrors and continuous wall color work together to create the illusion of more space, drawing the eye upward — always a good thing in a small space!

To see more Small Cool entries and vote for your favorites, pop on over to the official contest page — and stay tuned for more of my division favorites!

Today features a special double-header interior crush/life goals in the form of Sara Ruffin Costello, editor and interior designer extraordinare whose repoirtorie includes such valuted names as VogueThe New York Times and oh, you know, founding creative director of Domino. I guess you could say this also makes her my #womancrushwednesday, to put it very, very mildly.

I stumbled on Costello’s home while reading another of my favorite interior design blogs, Lark & Linen, yesterday. Yep, literally yesterday — that’s how excited I am about this space! When I saw Domino in the post title, I knew I was in for a treat, but I didn’t know just how good it would be until I clicked through…

Costello moved with her family from New York City to New Orleans, Louisiana, into what her husband Paul called “a chic disaster.” With the help of architect Michael Carbine and the home’s original decorator Gerrie Bremermann, the couple turned it from chic disaster to chic, livable family home. And I want to move in, please. It helps that, according to this article in The New York Times’ T Magazine, they hang out with the likes of Solange Knowles and Reese Witherspoon and throw really cool parites (see: below video). #casual

But enough about my total girlcrush on Sara. Let’s take a peek at her New York City meets Southern Charm dream house, shall we? For starters, the exterior looks straight out of Gone With the Wind, and I am not at all mad about it:

Ugh, I could just live in that living room forever! My personal interior style definitely tends more toward “scandi-minimalist with a touch of glam,” but there is something really timeless and lovely about Sara’s eclectic style. It’s a gorgeous space that clearly belongs to New York high-society folks, but it also has a story, and it looks like people actually live here. I love that.

And, for the rest of us peasants who aren’t New York high-society folks, One Kings Lane did a shoppable profile on Sara’s home so you can bring a little bit of that eclectic, urban-meets-Southern look to your own space. Shop some of my favorite pieces inspired by Sara’s home below (some of which are admittedly more budget-friendly than others):

What do you think? Are you a fan of this New Orleans home? (And for those of you in shoeboxes like me…don’t worry. Apartment Therapy’s Small Cool 2016 is here, which means more small space inspiration is right around the corner!)

All images via One Kings Lane.

Hi there! Posting on Tuesday instead of Monday this week due to the MLK holiday — and being a bit tired after a fab Blackhawks game with my dad on Sunday. 🙂

I actually had a different post planned for today, but knew it could wait after I stumbled across Jae and Devin’s Brooklyn brownstone on Apartment Therapy. Oh my gosh, you guys, this space is literally my definition of dream home. It’s just photo after photo of interior eye candy. And at first thought it was a totally aspirational, “maybe one day” kind of interior crush, but there are ideas here that can be applied to smaller spaces and budgets. Like that rug. Which I want.

That would be the rug in question. I’m pretty sure it’s this one – which tops out at $773.50 for a 9×12′, aka a downright steal for a Moroccan-style rug. That hanging ladder with throw blankets is just begging to be DIY-ed, too.

I am also loving the banana leaf palm in the living room. I’m into fiddle leaf figs as much as the next girl, but it’s nice to see a change of (plant) pace every once in awhile! As we’ve seen in other interior crushes, a mix of greenery and textures really do make all the difference in the world.

The house has an abundance of charm and character thanks to dramatic ceiling heights, doorways and moldings, but if you’re feeling ambitious, many of those elements can be replicated – to an extent – with a good old DIY project.

I am absolutely dying over the Fornasetti plates, fireplace and disco-chic chandelier. But again, there are totally attainable elements in the kitchen, like the dark accent wall and Urban Outfitters stools.

The master bedroom is the stuff of “All White Everything” dreams – I’m super into the Moroccan Wedding blanket/sheepskin combination happening on the stool at the end of the bed. I’ve got a chair with a sheepskin on it in my own apartment at the moment, maybe all it needs is a Moroccan Wedding style pillow to complete the look (also love this Anthro option).

Also very much a fan of the simple coffee table styling. Apparently the box is from a shop in Chicago, but Jae did not say which one unfortunately! In the meantime, CB2 just released a similar, larger suitcase style piece.

Jae’s dressing closet might be my favorite spot in the entire apartment – girl could give Jenna Lyons a run for her money. (One of these days I’ll have to do an “interior crush” of Jenna Lyons’ space…)

Okay, yes, we can’t all have Celine and Lanvin boxes decking out the top of our closets. But arranging by color and creating a system out of what looks like IKEA Billy bookshelves? Much more doable.

The brownstone is actually divided into three apartments – a garden apartment, Jae and Devin’s apartment on the first and second floors, and a third-floor space available for rent via Airbnb.

Again – the power of plants! Love the simple, neutral styling in the third-floor space.

Jae is an interior designer, and I absolutely love her biggest advice for those decorating their own spaces. It’s something I myself often need reminding of:

Be super patient, especially if you’re not working with a designer! Decorate and rearrange continuously, but do it little by little. I’m the most impatient person in the world, but that really is my best advice…Took numerous trials and errors to get here, and I AM an interior designer! It definitely is such an exciting and fun process but take your time with it…I swear, it works better that way, and the space will feel so much more special to you.

Shop pieces from and inspired by Jae and Devin’s dreamy Brooklyn brownstone below:

All images: Apartment Therapy

Exploring Lo Bosworth’s Apartment and Bohemian-Modern Style

Confession: I have never seen a single episode of either Laguna Beach or The Hills. Sure, I know who Lauren Conrad is, but the rest of the cast? I pretty much know them as that person who is famous for being on Laguna Beach and/or The Hills.

Oh – and that Lo Bosworth has a pretty great lifestyle website/blog and killer apartment to match. She enlisted interior design service Homepolish to decorate the place, and it turned out, well, crush-worthy.

Sure, her apartment has amazing bones (exposed brick walls, anyone?), but there are still plenty of tips and tricks to steal here. Even though she’s a celebrity living in New York City, it’s a fairly small space and layout. First of all, that makes me absolutely terrified of the New York real estate market. But it also means that Lo’s apartment is full of inspiration for small space dwellers. For example, lucite furniture like the coffee table helps open up the space. Plus, she stashed super-chic furry stools underneath, adding interest with texture and extra seating.

The apartment squeezes in plenty of storage and uses almost every available space, like the top of the armoire – and somehow does so without seeming overly cluttered.

Another trick Lo’s apartment uses is removing the dust jackets of books for a more unified look. It’s sort of similar to the shelving books backwards trick, but with the benefit of still being able to see the titles. This is actually something I’ve done in my own space when book jackets are either too busy or too beat up for display!

(Can we also talk about the trio of Diptyque candles she has on display here? That’s like $180 worth of candles and I would like to have the same thing in my apartment, please.)

I think, however, my favorite space in the apartment might be the bedroom, which masterfully mixes bohemian and glam elements to create a cozy retreat. It’s not a big room, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in style.

Though the bedding sticks to a neutral black-and-white color palette, the mix of textures helps make it warm and inviting. The bedroom also uses plenty of mirrors and lucite furniture (again!) to help the space seem larger.

For the full tour (including kitchen, dining room and before + after videos), head to Lo’s blog, The Lo Down. Some Lo-inspired items are still available on Joss & Main, as well, if you’d like to get the look. You can sign up for Joss & Main here if you haven’t already, and the Lo Bosworth event is here! (The first link is my affiliate link, so I will get credit if you sign up using it. 🙂 )

What do you think of Lo’s apartment?

Images: The Lo Down, Joss & Main