Home Tour: An Interior Designer's Smart and Stylish Small Space

DOSSIER: NAME: Kyle Schuneman TRADE: Interior designer, author, art director, and prop stylist. VIBE: Edited midcentury modern masculinity. ABODE: One-bedroom, one-bath apartment in West Hollywood, Los Angeles.

If you want advice on small-space living, turn to designer Kyle Schuneman. He wrote the book on small-space living. No, really: he wrote The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces -- when he was 25. Now 28, the LA-based interior designer, author, art director, and prop stylist has made a living of styling beautiful spaces large and small -- including the set of Emmy Award-winning series Giada at Home, catalog locations for CB2 and Target, and private homes all over the country. So naturally, we speedily accepted an invitation into his 700-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bath West Hollywood apartment, eager to see how he'd transformed the place.


Renting often goes hand-in-hand with small spaces, and it's nothing Schuneman can't handle. Instead of lamenting the woes of renting, he's embraced the lifestyle and coined a new term to tackle the troubles of temporary living. "Since I'm a renter, I like to call them 'rent-ovations,'" he says. "For instance, I installed temporary wallpaper in my living room, a plaid design I custom made." In addition to a full paint job and new window treatments everywhere, Schuneman also panelled his dining room wall with Stikwood peel-and-stick salvaged wood planks, but put blue painter's tape over the drywall so he can take the wall planks with him when he leaves. He even hired a furniture maker to build him a backless midcentury-inspired cabinet that slides over his AC unit to conceal it.

Arteriors Lamp Serena and Lily Bed 7911-front
Gold Table Lamp, $810, Arteriors Home Nailhead Bed, $1,850, Serena and Lily Sequin Skull Head Chair, $1,550, Ankasa


The biggest challenge of decorating his home was, naturally, the size. "It's basically one big open space with a hallway leading to the bathroom, bedroom, and laundry, so I needed to define a lot of areas in one space," he says. Schuneman used different anchor walls, such as the aforementioned temporary wall treatments, to create a slightly different aesthetic in each area. "The living room has a plaid wallpaper, giving it a bit of a nod to Mad Men, while the wood wall in the dining room has a more industrial style," he says," but both still keep with my masculine aesthetic and color scheme."

img32c HD Buttercup Kitchen Stool Croft House bookcase
Rustic Kitchen Island, $399, West Elm   Iron Cast Bar Stool, $350, HD Buttercup Industrial Bookcase, $750, Croft House 


Schuneman prefers to dub his masculine aesthetic "handsome." "I define it as handsome because I try not to think of as only appealing to one sex," he says. "It's about rich materials, clean lines, and handsome colors that are based in warm neutrals." Schuneman looked to his gray plaid wallpaper for color inspiration, curating a restrained palette of neutral grays. Instead of layering his space with color, he looked to textures: "Woods, metals, fabrics, and hides to make the space feel cozy, masculine, and inviting."

His tip for every small space? "It's all about starting with problem-solving design. Function has to come before form in small-space living. Once you know what has to be in your space, you can work to make it look beautiful."
Apt2B Chevron Rug Crate & Barrel Sofa GV-9_90855_ni
Chevron Print Area Rug, $288, Apt2B Suede Sofa, $2,299, Crate & Barrel  Wooden Starburst Mirror, $822, Interior Homescapes
Want to learn more about small space living? Read these seven genius ideas for maximizing your small space. Photographs: Joe Schmelzer