The Decorating Mistake That Almost Ruined My Living Room


Janne Olander for Stadshem

When I first opened the door to my one-bedroom apartment in the East Village of Manhattan, I had one thought: How on earth am I going to fit in this space? My boyfriend and I had been searching for the perfect first apartment together, and this tenement walk-up on a quiet leafy street seemed like our dream home—except that the living room was tiny.

So when I sent a few raw photographs to Jeremiah Brent, who'd teamed up with Decorist as one of their celebrity interior designers, and asked for his advice, I wasn't sure what to expect. Are there really multiple ways to lay out a small, boxed-in space? Turns out where I saw limitations, he saw an opportunity.

"Just because you're dealing with a smaller space doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style," he says. "When designing a space, I always picture the moments you want to have in that room. Each piece you select for a space should contribute to the story or feeling you want the space to convey. You've got to take risks!"

Now, midway through our design project, Brent has mocked up two potential layouts for my living room—one with a drapery wall and nesting tables, the second with two leaning mirrors and wall sconces. Each is layered with genius small-space tips that only an interior design pro would know.

Take a peek at the two designs, and help me choose one! Which is your favorite?