• Melissa Sanabria

FURNISHING A SMALL APARTMENT (PART 2)

Last week, I posted Part 1 of “Furnishing a Small Apartment”. In case you missed it (it was a cliff-hanger!), the executive summary is this: our new tenant (Kelsey) asked for my input on layout and furniture for the small, somewhat awkward, space (if you want more info on our English basement apartment you can also check out this post). So I created a layout along with a round up of accent chairs and couches for small spaces and talked about how to create a “dining area” in the space, which lacks an eat-in kitchen. My objective was to find stylish pieces that (a) fit the space, (b) would be relatively easy to actually get into the apartment given the tight entrance and curved stairs, and (c) were reasonably priced since these are probably not going to be Kelsey’s longer-term investment pieces.


When I was putting the post together I realized there was information overload so I decided to break it up into two posts. For your reference, here’s the layout of the apartment that I included in Part 1 (yes, hand drawn on graph paper…I’m old school like that):



In Part 1, I did not get around to talking about the couch and TV placement, which is kind of tricky in the space. I also didn’t get to my thoughts on the coffee table / end table situation or how to create an entry way (what I like to call a “drop zone”) in our little space.


Let’s start with the TV and couch placement. I put the couch along the wall opposite the windows and put the TV on the wall adjacent to the couch. The TV would have to be on a slight angle, but I think that could work because there is a little nook on that wall so the TV could be set back a bit and angled toward the couch. I should note that the wall with the nook also has the electrical panel. Because the panel needs to be accessible, I’m not recommending any tall bookshelves in the nook although I think that shelves would be a great solution otherwise. If the TV does not work in the nook (some things look great on paper but not in practice) it could also go on the dining table (which just looks like a console table when not extended). It’s not ideal, but it’s an option.


Below are a couple of options for TV stands with storage. You don’t want to miss an opportunity for storage or pieces that serve multiple functions in these little spaces.


1|2|3


I’m really digging #2, which is vintage, because of the drawers for storage and it’s also very cute and I strive to have a little something vintage in every room.


Let’s move on to the coffee and end table options. In lieu of a traditional coffee table, I would think about opting for a couple of side tables that can be moved easily and maybe even used as extra seating to accommodate guests. Keeping furniture modular and flexible makes it easy to switch things up to make some room to entertain friends or make space to do yoga, stretch, and presumably other types of exercise that people (not me) might do in their homes. Poufs are also a nice alternative to a coffee table. Here you can find Moroccan poufs at great prices (I can’t speak to the quality as I haven’t actually purchased from here but they have great reviews and look good).


Here is a round up of some cute, affordable side tables that don’t take up a lot of physical or visual space and these should be easy to move around to give you flexibility when you need to tweak your layout on the fly.


1|2|3|4|5|6|7|8|9|10|11|12


A “drop zone” is critical in every home no matter how small. This is the place to put keys, mail, sunglasses. etc. and it’s crucial to keeping organized so that this stuff doesn’t end up all over the house. There’s a small space (29″) next to the front door that could accommodate a mini console table or shelf. I really like this floating shelf option because it looks great and has an extra box shelf underneath, which is great for mail. Also, it looks like it’s installed using a cleat, which is super helpful. It will make your life easier, people, trust me. I also really like the idea of a shelf for the entry way because it frees up floor space so that you can put a small stool or basket underneath for extra seating or storage. This mini-console table is also very good if you have a tiny entryway. It’s narrow and simple and will get the job done.


To bring these ideas to life, I pulled together a mood board using some of the items that I rounded up over the last two weeks so you could get a sense of how these individual pieces could work together. As I mentioned in last week’s post, I don’t actually know much about Kelsey’s style, but I do know that she’s from Texas so I went for a “Southwest Modern” design in this space. I know Texas isn’t TECHNICALLY “southwest” but just work with me here, people…


1.Round Mirror | 2.Loveseat | 3.Pillow | 4.Sconce | 5.Brass Side Table | 6.Rug | 7.Mini-console Table | 8.Moroccan Pouf | 9.Plant Stand | 10.Wishbone Chair | 11.Black Hexagon Tray | 12.Media Console | 13.Longhorn Print | 14. Basket


I have to say, I’m really loving the vibe in this cozy little living room. Let’s talk about what’s going on in here. Besides being pretty, the round brass mirror (#1) will bounce some light around the room to make sure that this basement apartment stays as light and bright as possible. The Nate Berkus side table (#5)  picks up the brass in the mirror and the scones, which have pretty little hints of brass, plus that c-shape is great because you can move the table close to the couch to place your glass of wine and The Economist or the bowl of cereal that you’re eating for dinner in front of the TV.


When it comes to lighting in this space, I like the option of sconces above the couch or even a pendant light suspended in the corner. The living room in this apartment already has recessed lighting and the sconces would provide task lighting without taking up surface area on the small side tables, which helps keeps things flexible if you need to switch things up. I have these sconces (#4) from Schoolhouse Electric in my house and they are awesome.


The media console (#12) provides enough room for the TV plus storage and it’s the right scale and style for the room; it’s not vintage but it does have that mid-century vibe. For the art, I went with this longhorn print (#13), which could be a little dark for the space because of the black background, but it’s what really makes those colors pop. I would frame this with a thin, modern matte brass frame to bring some of the metallic sparkle to the other side of the room. I have been virtually hoarding this print on my Pinterest page for quite some time waiting patiently for the right opportunity to use it, and I figured that if anyone can pull off this print in her living room, it’s a girl from Texas. I do want to find a place for this in my house somewhere but I don’t know if I will get the okay from the husband…


The black wishbone chairs (#10) pick up the black accents throughout the room and would look great with the white span gateleg table that I mentioned in last week’s post. And that black hexagon tray (#11) with the brass stripes would be great on the media console or on Moroccan pouf plus it picks up the hexagon shape from the side table. Finally, the console table (#7) creates a drop zone and the basket (#14) provides storage while adding texture to the space.


Kelsey, I hope this gets your creative juices flowing for the weekend and you’re ready to get shopping:)


Happy Friday, everyone. Enjoy your weekend!

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