DIY Decor: Inside My Micro-Studio

Square footage doesn’t come cheap in NYC, so you have to make the best with what you’ve got – that’s a given. When I first moved into the city a few years ago, two other girls and I rented out a large, corner-unit 1-BR in a luxury high-rise and had fake walls installed to partition off extra living space, thereby creating two extra bedrooms.

In most cities, this is considered ridiculous. In New York, it’s business as usual.

After two years in Midtown with various roommates, though, I decided I needed a change of scenery. I set out, searching and Craigs-listing (Yes, I used craigslist. Get over it.) and then something magical happened: a studio apartment in a walk-up on the Upper West Side for only $1550 a month appeared! honestly, it seemed too good to be true. There has to be a catch, I thought, imagining a missing kitchen or a shared bathroom scenario. My boyfriend, however, encouraged me to give the number a call and set up a viewing.

And what do you know? The listing was legitimate. In 24 hours, I viewed the apartment, provided the proper paperwork and security deposit necessary and the apartment was mine!

Of course, no piece of real-estate, rented or owned, makes for a perfect, fairy-tale ending in NYC. In this case, I moved from a luxury high-rise in Midtown to an 1800s walk-up studio on the neighborhood-friendly Upper West. While the walk-up is charming and the studio appeals to my inner romantic, it also comes with its own set of issues. At $1550 a month, I had to tighten up my budget in a few other places and make trade-offs to ensure I could live comfortably while still saving. That was first and foremost.

Additionally, I’ve dealt with a leaky shower, no A.C. and, yes, my very first encounter with a roach (Yeah, fuckin YIKES. Nothing can really prepare you for your first 1-on-1 with a live city roach. Those things have balls.) Anyway. The final “minor” detail is that the studio comes in just under 200 square feet which is pretty small. But, hey, I’m pretty small too, so this factor didn’t faze me so much as it made me excited to design the space in an appropriate and affordable manner – which I am not ashamed to say I successfully achieved ;-).

So come on in and check it out...

I was definitely aiming for a clean, organized feel for the apartment, but I know myself, and I need to get my clutter on here n' there. Hence, my make-shift "Entry Way" starring my best friend's art, a collection of purses, hand-made hair pieces and my favorite shoes. 

As you walk two steps further into the apartment, the entry way leads to a cozy little corner that sports my Grandfather clock, wine rack and mirror.

Since the bay window serves as a beautiful focal point upon entrance into the apartment, I wanted to frame it with billowy curtains - this also does a great job at drawing one's eyes up to the high ceilings ( a rarity in Manhattan).  Though I generally prefer to keep the curtains down as it feels more dramatic and draws a soft divide between spaces, separating them makes the apartment feel more open and highlights the lovely "treehouse" view outside.

I wanted to create a tranquil atmosphere that I felt both relaxed and inspired by. My bay-window nook serves this purpose wonderfully. I can get my writing done from here, serve dinner for 4, or just hang out with a glass of wine and a good book.

Between my "dining room/writing nook" and my "bedroom" is my "Living room" space. It serves as a great place to veg out and watch TV. I wanted a pop of color to keep the room bright, so I got a yellow couch and pulled the space together by featuring another dear friend's artwork center-stage. I am a big fan of maps, so I catty-cornered the TV with these two antiqued ones of Paris and Manhattan that were gifts from my best friend. (If you haven't got the vibe just yet, I like surrounding myself with pieces from friends and family).

And finally, in a micro-studio, a made bed can be the difference between a messy looking room and a clean one. So, I keep my sleeping space uncluttered with crisp, all-white bedding. Additionally, the wall behind my bed is the one space that I keep completely free of anything. This way, my mind is free to wander and feel at ease without distractions while I sleep ;-).