Every year, millions flock to New York City to experience its pulse—the vibrant energy that transpires through the streets, the people, and the places. Dig a little deeper, and you may find that that pulse comes from the footsteps of so many young ambitious minds scurrying about in one of the world's most crowdest cities and hoping to carve their space and leave their mark. Yes, New York is a unique place filled with forward-thinking creatives who will bend over backward (literally) in their tiny studio apartments for a chance to make it big. When it comes to small spaces, no one is better equipped to offer sage advice than New Yorkers. Those confined to tiny studios with sky-high rents have mastered the art of making the most out of a small space.
Just as apartments are notoriously small in New York, hotel rooms are naturally even tinier—but that doesn't mean they're any less creative than the people who build them. As a new crop of full-service hotel-style micro-residences pops up around the city, we're turning to the city's best-designed hotels to find out their most clever small-space tricks. Yes, it's possible to have high style in a hotel room–size dwelling—here's how.
Pick Petite Seating
Opened this spring, 11 Howard has quickly positioned itself as the hotel of choice for bloggers and in-the-know travelers. Its restaurant, Le Coucou, is nearly impossible to get into. The hotel's style, which it describes as Danish minimalism meets New York realism, is everything we would want in a small studio apartment: pared back and utilitarian but still warm and inviting—with lounge areas in each room, no matter how small.
The takeaway: Choose sofas and chairs with slim backs and legs to tuck them into the smallest of corners.
Yes, it's possible to find a well-designed hotel in the heart of Times Square. This Theater District gem—which was completely revamped in 2016—embodies a sleek, sophisticated style to rival the coolest downtown hotels. The Time's rooms are moody, edgy, and dark—creating a cocoon-like feeling that's best suited to small spaces. With the right mood lighting, you'll feel like you're in your very own jewel box.
The takeaway: Stick to a minimal color palette of darker neutral tones to feel particularly cozy in your tiny space—and accent with plenty of mood lighting.
Mix Pretty and Practical
The Beekman—New York's latest hotel offering—is already making waves in the city's "new downtown." From its highly Instagrammable nine-story central atrium to its time-capsule rooms, the hotel has revived the golden era of the Financial District. In its petite rooms, jewel tones and antiques create an old-world feel. Every small vignette in the space is reminiscent of another era while still being highly practical.
The takeaway: Create design moments in your home that also serve a purpose. You may not have space for a large console to display your favorite décor accents, but you probably have a small corner to tuck in a fully stocked bar.
Tuck it Away
The Viceroy near Central Park has more than just killer views and an unbeatable rooftop situation. Though tiny in size, the Roman + Williams–designed guest rooms are packed with thoughtful details that make them highly efficient. Each room's design is inspired by yacht cabins—where space is restricted and storage is nearly tucked away behind rich wood-paneled doors.
The takeaway: Take a cue from The Viceroy's nautical-inspired décor and create hidden nooks of your own.
A former Seminary Campus from the late 1800s, Chelsea's The High Line Hotel is packed with history and designed with the history and charm of vintage eclectic Americana. In the guest rooms, fireplaces and brick walls make visitors feel as though they've landed in their own perfectly classic prewar apartment—but even if the rooms are filled with antiques and vintage accents, that doesn't mean the interiors are any less practical.
The takeaway: Use existing furniture to serve multiple purposes. A desk can double as a TV console while a side table can host a small bar offering.
Commit to a Statement
Located in Williamsburg, Wythe Hotel is iconic for three things: its picture-perfect rooftop views of the Manhattan skyline, its restaurant's mouthwatering offerings, and its guest rooms' iconic Brooklyn toile wallpaper. Though small, the guest rooms pack a punch with a vibrant wallpaper and mint green side tables to match.
The takeaway: Don't be afraid to use a bold wallpaper in your small space. Whether it's in a powder room or a studio apartment, your space will go from bland box to vibrant vibes in an instant.
Break Floor-Plan Rules
Who says that you can't put a sofa or a lounge chair next to your bed? When it comes to small spaces, no design rules apply. William Vale, Brooklyn's latest It hotel, is quickly positioning itself as one of the best designed of 2016. Its petite rooms spare no inches for practicality and comfort: Cabinets are mounted to the wall, and lounge chairs or sofas sit directly next to guest beds.
The takeaway: Take a note from Wiliam Vale and bend the rules of your own layout. If your sofa can only fit directly next to your bed, embrace it, and accent the style with an attractive lamp or sconce.
Cherish Little Luxuries
One of the most important aspects of a small space is making sure that every visible inch is pleasant to look at—something that Ludlow Hotel owner Sean MacPherson understood very well when he created his ultra-curated hotel in the Lower East Side. The small bathrooms pack a punch with luxe materials, showstopping features, and little luxuries to indulge in.
The takeaway: If your bathroom is seriously small, distract your attention to little luxuries to make your bath experience more pleasant: lavish bath products, a designer bathrobe, and extra-plush towels.
Divide and Conquer
Sometimes, all you need is a little extra privacy, something that one Flatiron hotel has mastered well. At The Nomad Hotel, housed in a beautiful Beaux-Arts building, room dividers have been cleverly placed to separate clawfoot tubs from writing desks. While New York has come a long way since the days of bathtubs found in kitchens, it's never unwise to occasionally resort to good old-fashioned privacy screens.
The takeaway: If parts of your studio apartment feel a little too exposed, use room dividers to hide away areas like the bed or dressing space.
Focus on the View
If there's one thing New York does well, it's city views—and if you are lucky enough to have one, make it a prominent feature of your décor. At the Bowery Hotel, the floor-to-ceiling windows act as a painting—a work of art better than a canvas. To highlight this, furniture is prominently placed to take in the views, and colors and shapes from outside are replicated in the room, creating a seamless transition.
The takeaway: Use your outside vistas to your advantage. Make your room feel larger by bringing outdoor elements inside for visual continuity.