Maximize Small Spaces

Home Design: 20 Creative Ways To Maximize Limited Living Space

When Jonathan Adler’s creative services manager Nicholas Obeid moved from a lofty two-bedroom to a 450-square-foot studio in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, he brought with him more stuff than one might expect to fit in such a small space. Among his treasures: a pair of chrome Chippendale chairs, a nickel-plated credenza covered in geometric studs, tiered Lucite bedside tables, and a midcentury daybed that he reupholstered in a stunning emerald-green velvet. Somehow, the resourceful entertainer managed to find a place for each piece, creating three distinct living areas—plus a bar moment for good measure—without overwhelming the apartment. “The common approach to a studio is minimalism, ” says Obeid, “but I opted for the opposite. I think the variety of visual elements makes the apartment feel bigger.” Here, eight ways Obeid maximized his small space with statement-making style—and how you can do the same.

1. Paint it white. Before moving in, Obeid recovered the apartment’s midnight-gray walls in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White to give the room a lighter, brighter base that allows furniture and accessories to stand out.

2. Think in vignettes. Create a floor plan that sections off the space according to your needs, then consider the intended purpose of each area. “There were two ‘musts’ that I needed the floor plan to accomplish: a place to sit and have dinner with a friend, and a pair of bedside tables flanking a bed that wasn’t squeezed into a corner, ” says Obeid. “The light-filled seating area by the window is where I’ll have friends over for drinks.”

While on vacation in Rio de Janeiro, Obeid found the onyx obelisks that sit on the console in the entry. A Guzzini brass-and-travertine table lamp adds a touch of glamour to the space.

6. Display artwork above eye level. Hang a gallery wall of paintings and other framed pieces as high as possible to give the illusion of a tall ceiling.

7. Choose furniture that serves multiple purposes. “A daybed with a slim profile tucks back in the window nook and doubles as a guest bed, ” says Obeid of the emerald-green sofa in the living area.

8. Always edit. “Studio living has forced me to be neater than I thought I was, ” says Obeid. “If one thing comes in, another has to go.”

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