The Small-Space Styling Tips That Transformed a NYC Apartment

Updated 07/27/18
Zio & Sons
Zio & Sons

When Zio & Sons creative Anthony D'Argenzio first saw this one-bedroom East Village apartment in 2013, he knew it needed work but saw potential—lots of it. The apartment spans just 500 square feet, making it the perfect design challenge. "I love working in small spaces, and there are tons of space-saving solutions throughout the home," says D'Argenzio, who also renovated and styled Upstate New York studio This Old Hudson. "Every detail has been thought through to save on space and improve function without compromising the design."

This isn't just a gratuitous beautiful home tour, though—D'Argenzio has listed the home for sale, and it's already one of the most saved listings on StreetEasy. Ahead, he takes us inside the stunning one-bedroom apartment that's looking for a new owner. Who knows? It could be you.

Zio & Sons kitchen
Zio & Sons

When D'Argenzio purchased the East Village apartment five years ago, there was one room that needed a lot of work. "The kitchen was our biggest overhaul. We removed half of the wall to create an eat-in bar after removing the upper cabinets," he explains.

Most of the area was dominated by essential appliances, so D'Argenzio took a creative approach and questioned whether they could be downsized or better positioned to maximize the space.

"We replaced a full-size refrigerator with an under-counter but large one to open up the room. This allowed us an open-living floor plan, reclaimed bar, and even more counter space. I cannot stand big appliances!"

Josh Young Design House "Cara" $45
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Zio & Sons East Village apartment
Zio & Sons

Once the fridge and half the wall were removed, D'Argenzio had to think creatively about storage. One of his top space-saving solutions? Utilizing wall space. Open shelves were installed along with pot racks to ensure that every nook served a purpose. White subway tiles and a marble countertop created a visual illusion of more light and space.

Vestige Home Wood Cut + Serve Boards
West Elm Vestige Home Wood Cut + Serve Boards $65
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small-space styling tips
Zio & Sons

The living room is the largest area in the apartment, but D'Argenzio still had to employ some styling tricks to make it appear more spacious and luxurious.

"Our goal was to make it feel larger than it really was," he says of the choice to give the red brick wall a coat of white paint. "It originally had drywall over the brick, and after removing that we gained a lot more space. The brick was in rough shape, [so] we whitewashed it to add an element of texture and, of course, to make it feel brighter," he says. Updating the floorboards was also transformative. "We bleached the oak floors and stained them white for an airy, rustic vibe."

Beyond the walls and floorboards, D'Argenzio was also strategic about the furniture and décor in the living room. "The fold-down desk/wall unit by Resource Furniture is extremely small-space savvy, [and] oversize mirrors make it feel larger," he says.

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Zio & Sons bathroom
Zio & Sons

While the color palette in the rest of the apartment is bright and neutral, he chose to go bold in the bathroom. Wainscot wood paneling was added for texture, then given a coat of rich, navy paint for character.

Snowe Bath Towel $22
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Zio & Sons hallway
Zio & Sons

Hallways are notoriously difficult to style, so D'Argenzio gave the space a lot of thought. "In the past, we've had some pretty crazy gallery walls packed with art, but for the listing, we went with a clean and minimal look," he says. "The lighting is vintage, with oversize schoolhouse lights on the ceiling and four wall sconces to add warmth along the narrow hall."

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Zio & Sons bedroom
Zio & Sons

Furniture choices were somewhat limited given the bedroom's small proportions. "Finding the right bed was a challenge. We ended up going the custom route to pair the room and bed perfectly," he says. Naturally, it works double duty. "The bottom also acts as an oversize dresser with six full-size drawers for clothing and linen storage." Genius. No doubt, we'll be stealing some of D'Argenzio's styling secrets for our own homes.

Parachute Linen Venice Set $399
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Love this home? Take a peek inside This Old Hudson, which was designed by the same creative duo.

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