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the tiny apartment house tour: living room

Wellllll…I’ve lived here for 6 months now, so I think it’s probably time to do a home tour before it’s time for me to pack up and move again. To recap: my apartment is one bedroom, one bath, and 500 square feet. It is tiny, but where there is Ikea and Craigslist and a will, there’s a way. It’s just big enough for Finn and I, the neighborhood is bang-a-rang, and it’s super close to work which makes me feel old that I am now counting that as a perk.

This is the floor plan, which I nabbed off the apartment community’s website. It is not at all accurate (my closet is NOT that big, neither is the kitchen), but it at least gives you an idea of where things are. The living room is 12′ x 14′, which is roughly the size of a small bedroom.

ABA tiny apartment floor plan living room

Here is the poorly shot Before picture, taken on the day I got my keys. I definitely had several moments of the “But…where is everything going to GO??” panic that can easily set in when you are standing in an empty room. I had measured previously to ensure that everything would fit, so in my brain I knew it would be fine, but my eyes couldn’t comprehend it.

tiny apartment living room 1

Pros: good light, the paint color doesn’t offend me, the laminate flooring is decent as far as laminate flooring goes. (And way better than carpet.) Probably the biggest pro of all that should be talked about is that it is an apartment I can afford in a neighborhood I love. In the end, it’s all about your priorities. If I placed a higher priority on super nice finishes, a new build, etc., then I’d need to move significantly farther away to be able to afford that. If I placed a lower priority on being able to pay my bills each month, then I could have it all! But, I kind of like being able to pay my bills. It’s not the most comfortable topic, but I think it’s important to say that if you are on a budget- that’s okay. And you can still make a comfortable, cute place to come home to AND be able to pay your rent each month. But that’s a whole other post in itself. 🙂

Cons: Popcorn. Ceiling. And the aforementioned room size. Have I mentioned that it’s small? Other con: that damn HVAC door, stealing my precious wall space and just being an eyesore in general. General con: older building, older finishes.

tiny apartment living room 2

Here she is all filled up with stuff! Way less depressing. Using a rug has helped define this space, which is nice because it is open to the dining and kitchen areas. I had a few large-scale art pieces and couldn’t narrow down which ones to hang, so I displayed all of them. I’m very happy with this choice! (Ugh, I’m never going to be a cool minimalist.)

ABA living room 1

If you read my previous house tour posts, you might recognize my Ikea Expedits that I use as my TV stand, bookshelf, and tchotchke resting place. Also, yes, that is Mrs. Landingham from The West Wing. I feel she enhances the living room shots.

ABA living room 2

The print below was a Christmas gift from my incredible siblings, who saw that I mentioned it in a blog post a few months back. They found it, but it was sold out- which is where your average siblings would stop, but as I mentioned- my siblings are of the incredible variety. They tracked down the artist, found out that she had one more in her home and she agreed to sell it. Now it lives in my tiny apartment, and makes the living room a happier place.

ABA living room 4

The blue chair has moved from the dining room of my old place into the living room here and is the perfect little size. The couch is a Craigslist find you might remember from this post, and the coffee table is also a Craigslist purchase that I blogged about here. My side table is from the West Elm outlet (aka HEAVEN), the standing lamp is a Target purchase, and the basket is actually a hamper from Ikea that I use to store blankets.

ABA living room 3

Since taking the pictures above, I moved the tray to become a bar tray in the dining room. Now my dining room books and candle sit tray-less and I don’t hate it!

ABA living room 5

That’s about it! Nothing too big or fancy, but it is filled with my favorite things (mainly that puppy on the couch), and it serves us well. Up next: dining room!

p.s. If you enjoy the house tour posts, you can read more of my house related posts here or see house tour images here! If you have any source questions, feel free to ask in the comments or email me here.

Edited to add: This before and after was featured on Apartment Therapy! To view the feature, click here. Thanks!



  1. Do you remember when Marfa was just that random small town me and Angela would go to with the twins? It’s funny how things change! Love the place!


      yes!! you guys had it all figured out, cause that place is the COOLEST. and now i’m dying to go.

  2. Oh, it was such a weird impression seeing your house with and without the decoration! It did really change! And it looks gorgeous!! I hope you feel comfortable and great in it! Have fun! With love,


      thanks vera! it is a happy place to come home too. the dog helps with that, of course. 🙂

  3. Small spaces just need to be planned out a little more! And double duty furniture like your TV stand/shelf makes a HUGE difference. Measure twice, buy once and don’t be afraid to rearrange as much as you can.


      rearranging is my favorite game! unfortunately not many layout options here, so i rearrange my tchotchkes instead. 🙂

  4. Oh my god I LOVE how you decorated this. I am currently slowly but surely looking at apartments and thinking about a budget I rather want a small, yet clean and cosy space than a bigger space, not so clean & cosy. This gave me tons of living room inspiration! thank you for sharing 🙂


      thank you naomi! yes- small spaces are less intimidating to me. love your blog- pretty pictures!

  5. Great use of space and color with LOTS if style.


      thank you, judy!

  6. Where did you get your rug and striped blanket? Your living area looks lovely!

  7. WOW! Impressive! The room looks much large now that it’s decorated. Agree, love the black and white stripped blanket Good job!


      Thanks so much, Carolyn! I love a good black and white stripe. Timeless!

  8. Where did you get the gold pillows from?

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