I can be a bit of a perfectionist which is why it’s tempting for me to only show you the “after” photos from any given project, particularly my first apartment. But it took me months to get it looking like that and I thought it would be fun and different to share more of the decorating process with you this time around. So here it is: my new apartment as it looked when I moved in a week ago!

Here’s what I’m loving:
1. When it came time to choose between a studio in my favorite neighborhood and a one-bedroom in a neighborhood I didn’t love quite as much, I opted for living in a studio again. This one is a tiny bit bigger than my last place and I’m already so happy with my new neighborhood. It will be even better come spring and summer!

2. The hardwood floors. 

3. The kitchen is way nicer than the one in my last place. Incentive to cook!

4. The window trim. My last apartment was pretty much devoid of any architectural detail (so I added my own with pieces like this mirror and the pelmet boxes!).

5. The little alcove for the fridge. The fridge in my last place was kind of in the middle of the living room (to the right of the sofa) so I like that it’s a little less in the way here.

6. The light. This is so, so important when you work from home!

A few challenges:

1. A few of the less expensive pieces (think Ikea) from my first apartment got pretty banged up during my first year in New York and the move. Think chips on the tabletop, dings on the bookshelves, etc. It’s not realistic for me to try to replace everything at once so I’m referring to my own advice and keeping an eye out for replacement pieces from Craigslist, family members, etc. And I think I’m going to find a table skirt for my round dining table — a way to totally update the look (and hide the chipping paint) without spending a fortune. I’ll keep you posted!

2. The layout is almost exactly the same as my last apartment. I tried to avoid this when I was looking at apartments but this layout really does have very little “dead space” and accommodates all my furniture well. That said, I really want to move things around so it feels different to me (since I spend so much time here!) and so it photographs differently when I am eventually ready to share the finished product. 

So that’s where you come in: what would you do with this space? Color palettes, furniture layouts, pieces to add or subtract from my last place? I’m all ears!!!


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  1. Emily — I’m not totally sure how many square feet it is but my guess based on it being slightly bigger than my last place is around 400. Good luck with your move! 🙂

  2. Hi Mackenzie,

    Wondering – how many square feet is your studio? I’m looking into getting a studio soon (right now I live in a 2BR with a roommate), and my furniture is similar to yours, so it would be great to know what size I should be looking for! It’s so hard to tell when you look at listings online!

    Thanks 🙂

  3. I love your new place! I live in NYC and am planning on getting my own studio in the fall. Any tips on finding apartments? Your studio is exactly what I’m looking for. I would love to hear your advice.


  4. Congrats on the new place! When I had a studio, I found that a great area rug (or two) did wonders to make the place bright and cheery and pull everything together. I also installed some decorative shelving which helped give me a nice place to put things that could easily become “clutter.” Good luck! Can’t wait to see the After pics!

  5. I love pieces you can easily use and use to hide things when you want, like having your TV in an armoire. Cute piece of furniture and it makes everything look neat in under 5 seconds by closing the doors!


  6. The photos from your old apartment are too beautiful! I’ve definitely pinned some of those. I’m so excited to see how you work with this space and what the finished product will be!

    Constance || Prep Northwest

  7. Two easy and cheap updates my boyfriend and I made to our apartment: replaced kitchen knobs with cuter ones from anthro (*save the current ones though so you can replace when you move out*) and we wallpapered one wall in our bathroom with liberty of london fabric (yes, fabric!) was SO easy, and apparently it’s even easier to remove with just water when you leave!

  8. i love love love it!! such a good space! and the lighting is so good! i am so happy you found a great place, you deserve it!

    i have seen some great paint DIYs so that your white table looks like marble (plus it hides the chips).

    have you thought of doing a headboard for your bed? it will make it cozier and doesn’t cost a lot of money if you DIY it.

  9. I LOVE this place, look at all that light coming in and the light flooring is perfect. I can totally imagine this space with cream/white furniture and lots of bright pops of colour. Or because it already is bright you could go with light greys and sliver for details 🙂 Also a rug would probably be perfect to separate your kitchen area from your living area 🙂
    can’t wait to see what you do with the space!

  10. Beautiful new space!!! A couple ideas:
    -Get some baskets or boxes for above the kitchen cabinets for storage (I do find that these get sticky or greasy from cooking over time, so careful about storing anything fabric up there for a long time and don’t pay a ton for the boxes/baskets).
    -I have had such good luck on Craigslist over the years and often type in specific items (esp. had a lot of luck with Ikea and other big box stores).
    -Some peel and stick wallpaper in the bathroom could be a fun pop!

  11. Looks like a great blank canvas, especially love the wood floors. I think I would have the desk as close to the windows as possible, if that’s where you’ll be spending most of your day.

    Can’t wait to see the finished product!


  12. I’m noticing now that we have identical kitchen appliances.

    Also, I like how that coffee pot is just casually hanging out on top of the cabinets.