How to Make the Most of a Studio Apartment

We caught up with designer Ellen O'Neill, who makes living in a studio look easy by purging her possessions, limiting her color palette, and arranging furniture into mini-rooms. Here are some of her tips.


Small-Scale Club Chairs
A pair of ebonized Parisian club chairs, a flea-market find, are perfectly scaled for a small room. The boldly striped Ikea pillows pick up on the geometry of the windows. The wire café parasol frame above the fireplace is from Bloom.

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Studio Living
A high ceiling and wall of windows gives O'Neill's small space a light, airy feel. The one-room apartment is in a 1920s landmark building by architect Emery Roth. Ingo Maurer's Zettel'z 5 chandelier is O'Neill's "bulletin board," displaying notes, lists, directions, sketches, even a hat. Her cat, Miss, stretches out on the mantel next to angel vine topiaries. The faux-giraffe rug is from ABC Carpet & Home. Walls and ceiling are Benjamin Moore's Linen White.

Related: Make the most out of your studio apartment


Picture Wall
Ellen O'Neill clustered black-and-white photos and sketches on one wall: "It makes the hallway feel like a 'place' and not just a thoroughfare."

Related: Apartment Therapy's small space solutions


Miniature Office
A huge mirror leaning against the wall opposite the windows reflects light and adds the illusion of more space to the room. O'Neill's farm table-desk does double duty as a dining table when she entertains. Mirror and table from Laurin Copen Antiques.

Related: Tips for organizing your home office



A Library to Tuck Into
A mini-library in the foyer has reference books, DVDs, CDs, "baskets of unidentifiable cables, and chargers for electronic necessities."

Related: Essential organizing tips for small homes

A Toile Tale
The daybed and screen were made by Martin Albert Interiors to fit the space across from the fireplace. Cowtan & Tout's chinoiserie toile, Siam, defines the area, and its sepia tone lends softness to the black-and-white palette. O'Neill's guests enjoy trying to figure out the toile's narrative. Her eight-year-old mixed-breed dog, Maude, only tries to figure out the most comfortable spot. The reading light is from a French hospital.


PLUS: See more photos and read an interview with Ellen O'Neill

What are your tricks for decorating small spaces?

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