This Simple Styling Trick Made My NYC Apartment Feel 10 Times Bigger

I never understood what a small space was until I moved to Manhattan. When my boyfriend and I were looking for our first apartment together, we quickly learned how to translate realtor-speak. "Cozy" is code for tiny, "prewar" means unrenovated, and "converted" implies that the owners installed a fake wall to charge for an extra room. So when we came across a bright 350-square-foot one-bedroom on a tree-lined street in Manhattan's East Village, we thought we'd struck gold—until it came time to decorate.

The options, I thought, were limited. The living room is a short, boxed-in space connected to an open-plan kitchen. If I'd been in charge of decorating, we would have had a sofa and coffee table—and that's it. Luckily Jeremiah Brent had other plans. Brent serves as a celebrity designer for Decorist, an online interior design service that provides personalized help to make over any room. After a moment of mild heart failure when the TLC star agreed to design my new home with West Elm (which happened to make up 90% of the products on my Pinterest board), we got down to the nitty-gritty: Finalizing the layout, choosing paint swatches, and decorating.

What I didn't realize at the time was that the design project wasn't just a chance to create my dream "grown-up" home; it was an opportunity to test out every small space decorating hack we've discussed on MyDomaine to find out which ones work. Spoiler alert: I never expected the results. Take a peek inside my newly redecorated NYC living room to find out how we made it look and feel 10 times bigger.