Inside My First (280 Sq. Ft.) New York Apartment

Gabrielle Savoie's New York Apartment

I never thought I would downsize once again. When I moved into my last place in Montreal, I thought 515 sq. ft. was as small as it was going to get. I was wrong. Everyone knows that moving to New York is expensive—but one can never really fathom how much you’re faced with signing a lease on an apartment that’s less than half the size and more than three times the price of your old rent. But as cheesy as it sounds, I wouldn’t have traded this tiny space for the world.

On moving day, I sat in my empty 280 sq. ft. apartment wondering if I had lost my mind to move into a space so insanely small—but there was one thing I knew for sure—I wanted to be here. And as things kept trickling in as the movers unloaded the truck, one thing became immediately apparent: I owned way too much stuff.

It took a while to make this place my own. Between long hours at the office and a complete feeling of hopelessness in front of the accumulating clutter in my tiny space (not to mention the overwhelming amount of better things to do in the city that never sleeps), I put off decorating my New York apartment for much too long.

I read Marie Kondo’s Spark Joy (and subsequently threw out/donated a ton of stuff I didn’t need), I spent countless hours looking for the perfect sofa (which I eventually found in the Commune collection for West Elm), and put off installing blinds for way too long—especially considering The Shade Store made it the easiest process ever and, in turn, the best decision I made in the space. Around Thanksgiving, my apartment was finally in a place where I was 100% comfortable to come home without feeling like I needed to decorate, hang art, or declutter.

And then, one morning in December, I got an email from my broker—your building has decided to sell your apartment, and you’ll have to move out at the end of your lease—no! I was barely done decorating, had only lived in my space for a few months, and had finally fallen in love with the place. Reluctantly, I started looking for a new place (and saw a lot of underwhelming apartments before finding my new one).

I’ll still miss my first New York apartment—some parts more than others. I’ll miss the beams of sunlight streaming in from every angle on weekend mornings and coming home to my own glorified hotel room. I will not miss the tiny bathroom where I bumped into things more times that I care to admit, the insanely loud banging of steam radiators in the middle of the night, or the absurdly slow 1920s elevator that smelled of peppermint and moth balls. But if New York has taught me anything (and by anything I mean a lot), it’s how to live in a small space and love it (and you can read all about it on MyDomaine).




best small space dresser

small space living ideas

small space dining ideas

bedside table decor

best bedroom sconces

bedside table decor

small bathroom ideas

Photos: Sean Litchfield for Savvy Home

  • Natalie Catalina

    Loved reading about your old apt. and can’t wait to see more of your new one! I’m moving at end of month and not sure what my new apartment will have in store for me (moving home first while I look). So I’ve purged and let go of SO much. Feels so good!

  • lacee swan

    What an amazing decor job, it looks so spacious! putting that book on my reading list, spark joy!

    lacee swan

  • Kayde

    Great space! I lived in a tiny place like that in Portland’s Pearl District (right out of college before it was what it is now). My place was nowhere near that well decorated though. Really cool to see all your space saving ideas too.

    Good luck in your new place! P.s. is that sink as tiny as it looks?

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Thanks, Kayde! It was, yes! My new bathroom sink is regular sized—thankfully!

  • Monica Lavin

    So much style for such a tiny space!

  • Annie Carroll

    Your poster bed is stunning! May I ask where you found it?

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Hi Annie, It’s a West Elm bed frame. Unfortunately, it’s no longer available 🙁

  • Courtney Ruscin

    My last nyc studio was this same exact size! I wish I would have seen your space while I lived there! I especially love the lights above your bed, what a space saver. Where are they from?

    Congratulations, it’s beautiful! And p.s. no one needs a big apt in NYC, there is too much out there to see, taste and explore. Have fun!

  • Steven Okrasa

    Wonderful room and wonderful space. Everything fits in the smallest detail. I would love to have such a room once. For now, I’m just getting inspired by blogs and:

  • wendykroy

    Beautiful bedroom, it’s perfect place where you can rest 🙂

  • Ana Fritsch

    I love it! So cute!

  • Hardman

    History pleased about your past apartment, you are an excellent decorator, rather even artist!

  • Gregory Gimbel

    An amazing use of a small place. It looks much larger than it really is. Great job!!

  • Autumn

    Love your space!! It is beautiful. I especially love your duvet. Source?

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      It’s the Venice Duvet from Parachute Home!

  • Aaron – Home Buying Checklist

    Great use of the small space, I love it. Getting a couch with no arms was a great hack. Saved you just enough space to sneak in that side table!

  • Sarah Forman

    when’s the next post? I check everyday because I love your material so much!

  • Wendy Bell Duffy

    Glorified hotel room is right! OMG, you did a great job with limited space. I am very impressed. And I thought I had a hard time when I moved last summer going from a full unfinished basement to a storage room! LOL, my kids were 18 and 15, why did I still have baby toys?!?! Thanks for sharing what an amazing home!

  • Sarah Love

    What a beautiful apartment – you’ve decorated it so well and made such a great use of the space. I love all the bursts of colour like the flowers, cushions and books. All these little touches really help to set the tone of the room.

  • ILoveBeautifulThings

    What an amazing space!!! i love it!!! Well done 🙂

  • Sarah Forman

    are you still posting on this blog? If not, I’d love to know where I can follow you other than on MyDomaine

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Sarah, thanks so much for checking in! The short answer is (in theory) yes! I have taken a little summer hiatus but definitely be on the lookout for more regular posting in the coming weeks/months. xx

  • Eliza Collins

    Gorgeous apartment! Can I ask where this rug is from, it’s perfect! Thank you! 🙂

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Hi Eliza, It’s the hand-loomed shine rug in ivory from West Elm!

  • Interior Design Toronto

    “Normal” people assume that decorating a small space would be easier than renovating a sprawling mansion….but they would be wrong.

    Your work on such a teeny-tiny space is magnefique

  • Alexander Valerievich

    Very cool!

  • Shannon Gulbul

    WOW simply breathtaking! I like to talk to you about being an interior decorator since I inspire to become one! I’d really like to exchange ideas with you. I, for my part rely on to get ideas, but yours!!!!

  • FloorRegistersandGrills

    beautiful decorated home and the bedroom is looking gorgeous. Thanks for sharing this article with us. Check out the best decoration stuffs here Floor Registers

  • Elimar Perez

    Love it!! so cute …

  • C’s Collection

    You’ve made the very most of your space and I love that small solution sofa!

    C’s Collection |

  • Jari Becker

    Very well designed, Love it

  • Bed Sheets

    A stunner really. I love how each element is individualistic yet forms a holistic part of the house. Where are the bed sheets from? Love how they look. Found some great, artistic ones on

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      The bedding is from Parachute!

  • Erik Hasten

    Hey, looks like a cozy nice apartment. I was wondering where you can get curtains like that for small windows? I need one for my bathroom. I particularly want one like that because it still lets the room be bright and clear but doesn’t let anyone look in!

    • Gabrielle | Savvy Home

      Hi Erik, The window shades are custom from The Shade Store. Hope this helps!

  • Kajsza

    I can see why u miss it. Really nice place, i am a little bit jealous to be honest 🙂

  • Didgius

    Jesus. I need such decor too! I’ve bought a new bed and curtains in color on and now I’m thinking what to add, to make my bedroom more stylish

  • Voice Beanie

    Nice but I think, interior decoration can be much better. I have seen lots of houses of my
    friends whose decorations are awesome especially the furniture which they
    bought from

  • KMP Furniture Blog

    You though you 515 sq feet were little, but you actually showed that there’s no space too little or too big for your imagination. You’ve effectively and wisely used every inch. I love the brightness your rooms have.

  • Nigel Swanson

    It would be a lovely place for a single in NY! Getting the most out of little floor space is always a problem, and it look like problem solved. The only thing I might do differently is the sofa. It costs more, but having a good, comfy sofa custom built to fit a space can make a big difference, if only in that sense of self-indulgence. It won’t help anyone in NY, but in the UK (for those in tiny spaces in London!) a good maker of bespoke sofas is at They’re lovely people, too.

  • Home Decor and Ideas

    What an amazing job you did with such a small area to work with! You made the space quite cozy looking! It looks like it was a perfect little getaway from the rest of the world.

  • Poshdesign

    Really Amazing Interior decor job,perfect use of space and a small solution to sofa.
    Curtains and bed sheet are perfectly combination for the room.

    Thank you.

  • Nikhil Dembla

    Nice apartment design ….. thank for sharing regards Decoratespace

  • Nicole Block

    I absolutely love what you did with this space! We live in NYC (Brooklyn), but are lucky enough to have some real sq footage in our apartment — a very rare find. Still, our master bedroom is about this size, and I am always looking for the right way to arrange it as a multi-use space — especially since we figure that the rest of our apartment is going to be taken over by our kids in the not-so-distant future. =D

  • hallmark

    Very nice place, Looks like luxurious apartment !!!!!

  • Perch Plans

    Love your style! We have that exact same table lamp in our office!

  • anna

    do you mind telling us the brand of the shower curtain??

  • Julia

    Love it when so small apartments turn out to be so cosy!

  • Vicasso Interior

    You’ve made the very most of your space and I love that small solution sofa,

  • marieta “Marieta S.” sivakova

    oh wow , everything looks so soft comfortable and clean ! Compliment

    xo xo

  • Aaliyah

    Your apartment is really looking spacious and bright.. Thanks for inspiring. I saw this dinning set online you just take a look it is

  • Aaliyah

    Gorgeous Apartment loved it. Thanks for inspiring. I just came across to this product online, it is a designer coffee table from India, you would love this product, take a look,

  • Tiana Moore

    Great use of the small space, I love it. Really its nice, recently I saw this product wooden living room furniture from Chandigarh, you will love it have a look.

  • Makayla Carter

    Gorgeous Apartment loved it. Thanks for inspiring. I just came across to this product online, it is a designer coffee table from India, you would love this product, take a look, Gorgeous Apartment loved it. Thanks for inspiring. I just came across to this product online, it is a designer coffee table from India, you would love this product, take a look,

  • Kevin Twitty Interiors

    What a smart use of a small space. There is nothing better about having a small place than the very short time it takes to clean. Of all the places I have lived in, the smallest was the best 🙂

    Kevin Twitty Interiors
    Portland, OR

  • Thảo Nguyễn

    Wow!! That home looks so nice!
    I like your design.
    I have a website:

  • Thảo Nguyễn

    I will design my room look like it.
    Thank you very much

  • Hariprasad

    That apartment looks splendorous . The white background adds a neat and aesthetic appeal . Please keep on sharing such blogs .

  • News cutzy

    WOW, This is a very informative post. Thank you for sharing this knowledge.

  • Fx Farhan

    such awesome aprtment i really like it.

  • Sushmita Shrestha

    Thank you for sharing those amazing Interior Design

  • Stephen Hoops

    I no longer live in NYC, but this brings back memories for me! I had a fantastic 3rd floor walk-up in Queens with a similar color palette. If there’s one thing a smaller apartment taught me, it’s how much I love cute little things that can save space or hide clutter like this stool I picked up recently. Something about hidden utility is always needed for smaller spaces. *Sigh* I miss city life.

  • Alba

    I love the white sideboard! Minimal, chic and with a timeless elegance. It is a Treku product? I think the design is really similar…

  • Kate Lauren

    Love the theme of this apartment. Spacious and used every corner so perfectly. Check out some wall decor from an online store in the U.S . I hope you would like some.

  • Anjali Verma

    Wow,that was a very beautiful job of interior decorators.I really found it to be very interesting and also you have maintained a very clean home.I just want to know that do you hire cleaning service providers for your home.I live in Sweden and I usually prefer

  • suresh

    I ikes these designs. Thank you for sharing.. You may also like this.. Home Design

  • Megha | Crafts N Chisel

    Such an amazing use of space, loved it. Its looks way bigger than 280 sq. ft.

  • Raj Singh

    Thank you for sharing beautiful information with us. Your article is very interesting and informative. Electrical switches

  • Ajie Nugroho

    I love the white ambience, also I surely love how you take all the photos. I am from Indonesia surely your blog is an inspiration for my interior contractor business

  • Ankur Raj

    I see your article and I am read all your article. All the information you are mention in the article is very useful thanks for sharing. INTERIOR DESIGNER IN NOIDA

  • karthick s

    Thank you very much for sharing interesting thoughts. You’re right, we don’t realize that the way we design our home space can do much for the environment and for our wellbeing, it’s only necessary to use a reasonable approach. The tips you have mentioned in the article are very useful for designing for our own lifestyles.
    Interior Decorators in Chennai

  • Marysia Marysia

    It looks beautiful! I really like your bathroom! there is something in it that attracts attention 🙂 I really like it, seriously 🙂 I just plan to renovate mine with the company I hope something very cool comes out of it. Seriously, I’m looking forward to the effects of it 🙂

  • Anuhar Homes

    What an Decor its looking awesome thanks for sharing with us – Anuhar Homes


    Its look great, I can just feel high vibe, in my dream house I can see also a lot of bright colors, when I look at the pictutes, I can feel how fresh it is <3 I also love to create because Im an artist so I really appreciate your job <3

  • Mandy Striner

    Wow. Its very good looking. Thank you for this post. It helps me a lot to think what appropriate design to my room because I’m planning to renovate it. and I also get some idea from other Commercial Joinery . I think this is really good combination of ideas.

  • jithin jose

    Awesome blog, very lovely interior designs and every corner of the home used so perfectly. Thanks for sharing.

  • Shanvi Shanu

    Hey, It’s really nice.
    All the decors are really delightful. Thanks for sharing with Us – Aditya Beaumont

  • Rak Interiors

    Very cool apartment! i love it…
    You may also like

  • Suriya Prashanth

    Amazing Interiors

  • Val Interiordesign

    Nice article i really like this

  • Dinesh Kumar

    It’s a really amazing design which using white all over the room, and the placement of each material is very beautiful.

  • Joshna Ravada

    Nice post and good interior design. I liked the products to decorate home. Thanks for sharing.

  • Jessica West

    So cute! We are thinking of moving to New York.

    Textured Homes

  • Neha

    Thanks for this amazing post! You can also check our blog INTERIOR DESIGN WRITE FOR US.

  • Shivani Parashar

    Thanks for the amazing post! Visit our blog INTERIOR DESIGN WRITE FOR US

  • Shameer Gafoor

    This is nice article and it is very helpful..

  • Leo Trade

    So nice!I also like for rooms!

  • daqing

    lets do it, link it emdfurniturecenter and you can learn more furniture.

  • daqing

    Leather sofa is my favorite style among all 2 seat sofa, you can learn more about furniture by Emd furniture on it.

  • daqing

    Barcelona chair replica is my favorite style among all Leather sofa, you can learn more about furniture by emdfurniturecenter on it.

  • daqing

    Leather sofa is my favorite style among all 2 seat sofa, you can learn more about furniture by Emd furniture on it.

  • peterzhang

    Great place. Thank you so much for sharing

  • Anuja

    You are used the interiors and furnitures on a perfect level…Thanks for the blog. You can also visit here: interior designers in Kerala