March 2015 – A Little Leopard
March 2015 – A Little Leopard

March 2015 – A Little Leopard

About three months ago, I moved into my first big-girl apartment in Chicago. It’s a super-charming studio on a great, tree-lined street in Lincoln Park with details like moldings and hardwood floors and approximately two-and-a-half closets…and the whole thing clocks in at under 300 square feet.

In college, I had a running Pinterest board of “future apartment ideas,” but I don’t think my college self fully understood what small space really means. I honestly think I believed I could afford a one-bedroom in Chicago on a starting salary – which may be true for some career paths but not necessarily mine.

Still, I love my studio, and figuring out the optimal use of square footage is like a fun challenge. Luckily, there’s no shortage of tips, tricks and small space inspiration out there. Apartment Therapy’s “teeny tiny” category in their annual Small Cool Contest is basically my bible.

Lauryn’s apartment is actually a one-bedroom. I love the way she has curated decor elements that speak to her personal style and really give you a sense of her personality – proving that you can still go bold in a smaller, neutral space. Plus that peacock chair is just amazing.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we have Dria Murphy’s dreamy, whitewashed West Village retreat. The neutral color palette helps to open up the room, making it seem bigger and more open.

Interior designer Abigail Ahern recommends incorporating touches of glass, metallics and other reflective surfaces. They’ll open up the room and help add some personality. Plus, I’m never one to turn down a little sparkle!

Studios’ typical open floorplans can be both a pro and a con. Given the lack of actual, well, rooms, it’s important to create distinct zones for eating, sleeping, etc. – no matter how small those zones may be!

Studio and small-space dwelling often requires creativity, especially when it comes to storage solutions. Here, for example, an IKEA bookshelf is used as shoe storage. It looks pretty in the main living area and can help make up for a less-than-desirable closet situation.

Images via: Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, Refinery29, Domaine and Domino.