Small space living: my NYC studio apartment

My small 450 ft2 studio apartment in NYC has been a wonderful place to call home for the past 3 years - no only was it the inspiration for “Engineer Your Space”, it was also the source of many of the projects you’ve seen on the show. But it’s now time for a change, and before I make the move to my new home in sunny California, I want to take you on a tour of my rental apartment.

You’ll see how I made small space living work for me using DIY home décor projects to make my small studio apartment a beautiful and functional place to live and work. One of the main things I did was create distinct areas like an entryway and a bedroom that are visually separate from the rest of the apartment using bookcases and a hanging wall divider from IKEA. From removing closet doors to making my own custom lighting, there is no shortage of DIY projects in my studio apartment. All of these projects were easy to build in my apartment, easy to take apart, and left the apartment exactly the way it was when I moved in, ensuring I got my safety deposit back!

I hope you enjoy the tour of my apartment and that you can use some of these studio apartment ideas to decorate your rental like you own it!

Add your comments

15 Comments

  1. kayleigh

    hi!! I love your work! you are so inspiring!! :)

    I am abit stuck though at the moment, I am planning to decorate my living room with some of your ideas (YouTube) but I would like to divide my living because it is quite large but it is just one room and I don’t know how, what where ? to divide or arrange my furniture and I feel like pulling my hair out as it is quite a awkward room :( help!

    so looking forward to your new projects 😀 xxxxx
    kayleigh in England.

    • Isabelle

      Hi Kayleigh,

      Large rooms can be as challenging as small rooms! I think separating your room into zones might help. Maybe a have a seating arrangement around the fireplace (with the furniture floating in the room, not against the walls) and the sofa facing the fireplace (you’re so lucky to have a fireplace!). You could have a table or bookcases behind and/or all around the sofa to use as a way of separating that area from the rest of the room like in the picture that I attached.

      And you could have a reading nook in the back left corner where the windows are. Using area rugs also helps to define the zones. Hope this helps!

  2. kayleigh

    SORRY FORGOT TO ADD LAYOUT TO LAST POST XXXX

    misskayleigh95@live.com

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  5. Jill

    Isabelle–

    I love your work! What type of fabric or curtains did you use when separating your bedroom from the living room in your nyc apt?

    Thanks!

    -Jill

  6. AMAZING! I was really in awe while watching the video. I wish I discovered your channel earlier when I just started moving in my new apartment. This is truly amazing. Especially that hidden jewelry storage. More power!

  7. So wonderful! I love your balcony too. Perfect place to get an inspiration for my writing. When you’re cooking inside, how did you manage to eliminate the odor? Thanks a lot for sharing your wonderful ideas.

  8. Alicia

    Thank you for demonstrating inexpensive ways to make a rental space ‘temporarily’ beautiful and functional. What were the measurements of the wall panels you made to hold the sconces in the above photo?

    • Isabelle

      You’re welcome Alicia, thank you for watching! I don’t have the exact measurements of the panels were as I left them behind when I moved but they look like they were about 22″wide x 32-36″high. Hope that helps!

  9. Virginia

    I want to use a curtain scarf to trim a sliding glass exterior door on which there is a vertical blind. I am unable to find “hangers” with an extension deeper than 6 inches. Any ideas?

    • Isabelle

      I can’t think of anything at the moment, but if I come up with something I’ll let you know!

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