Daily Archives: February 3, 2012

Hello, all! My name is Nikka, and I’m a performer, style blogger, and inhabitant of a 300-square-foot studio apartment in New York City (that’s REALLY tiny, trust me!). Having been in such small quarters for 3+ years, and now sharing it with my boyfriend as well, I’ve learned a few things about living stylishly while staying organized!

My Small-Space Philosophy

  • Have patience with your space. It’s going to take awhile before it truly feels at home, and that’s okay. Have forgiveness for yourself, and move as slowly as you need to.
  • Know your limitations/willingness. Really assess your levels of organization, cleanliness, and what you know you’re like at your busiest. That will help in the planning of your spaces. Are you a neat freak? Open storage might be an option, because you’ll take care of the visual clutter. Are you a bit on the messy side? Bins and cabinets will be your best friends.
  • Spatial awareness is key. Think above and beyond the basics of furniture. What else can you do to make sure you’re living in a space you can truly call home? Little things like photos on the wall can help make anything more comfortable while living in flux.

Here are a few ideas about organizing a small space.

Before Buying Furniture

  • LIST while living: it’s important to live in your space a bit to get inspired by it. As you figure out your way of life, think about these questions:
    • What do you want your space to accomplish?
    • What kind of a vibe are you after?
  • Find some online inspiration. Here are my favorite places –
    • Apartment Therapy has an amazing archive of small space ideas.
    • has an incredible archive of thousands of photos
    • decor8 is a fantastic blog run by Holly Becker
    • I love for inspiration across the board – for home ideas for anything of any size!
  • Delineate your spaces. Find the function in every corner. For example, my apartment, although it is a studio, is divided up into four distinct spaces: kitchen, living room, bedroom, and office. There is, of course, overlap within the spaces, but I try to keep them as separate as possible. I found this to be key while decorating, and it also enabled me to exercise my style in different ways!
  • Measure/tape everything. Before I buy a new piece of furniture, I look at its specifications online and tape them out on the floor with blue painter’s tape. Then, before I lay any money down, I live with it for about a week, practicing moving around my apartment and seeing if it would be an option. I also have an idea of measurements in mind when looking for new furniture, even if I’m not looking at anything specific. I write down measurements and keep them in my wallet. That way, if I see an amazing piece at a flea market, I know if it’ll fit in my apartment before I take it home.
  • Clean out your closets. Yep, now. Do it twice a year, at least. Keep cleaning things out. I’m sorry, it must be done.

Living in a small space has taught me a lot. Here are some actual furnishings and ideas that have  saved my life in my small space.

  • The Elfa Closet System at The Container Store. Worth. Every. Penny. I have it done in every single closet, and I will for the rest of my life.
  • Shelving. Wall-mounted furniture. Furniture with legs. All of these things have small footprints, enable storage, and keep things looking light.
  • Fabric Bins. I can’t live without fabric bins. I store everything in fabric bins – linens, sweaters, spare cables and cords, scarves and hats – anything I want to keep hidden but also need easy access to- fabric bin!
  • Clear plastic shoe boxes. Easy organization, easy storage, plus they make you look really cool, like you have the kind of shoe collection that needs to be in shoe boxes.
  • Lucite storage – a lot of my jewelry is in Lucite drawers from Muji. I can see what’s in there, so I don’t forget about it, but it’s contained so it doesn’t look messy.
  • Mirrors! It’s a tried and true design element for a reason. They make every space feel bigger, bounce light to make it brighter, and you can always find cool mirrors on the cheap at flea markets.
  • Storage Bed. Mine is from Gothic Cabinet Craft, and it has eliminated the need for a dresser, making space much easier to come by.
  • Drawer Organizers – these can be found at IKEAfor about $6, and help keep small things organized in small spaces. I use them both in and out of drawers.

Post authored by Nikka Graff Lanzarone 

Nikka is a dancer, singer, stylist, blogger, and constant redecorator. She would like to be better at cooking, but cannot find the patience. She lives in New York City with her boyfriend and a lot of shoes. You can see find out more about her at

Check out Nikka on Tumblr and follow her on Twitter @nikkalanz

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