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.

Try these furniture ideas

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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