New York Style

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New York  is one of the best known places for more than just its tourist attractions.  Small living space is the hot topic whenever I bring up this big city.  Conversations before my trip made me curious to see if renters really do live in apartments the size of closets and store their shoe collections on their unused oven racks.   So, I packed a VERY small carry-on and headed to visit two friends on opposite sides of Manhattan to put this California girl at ease about living in NYC and lend us their homes for inspiration in small spaces…

This shot of the bathroom wallpaper will forever be my snapshot of New York inspiration. It has everything that makes the big city so desirable: bustling urban streets, sprawling maps of hidden locations, dark shadows, and big buildings. This wallpaper is actually of Paris but I think it’s perfect for an upper east side New York town house and a great tip: Wallpaper.

That one word has the potential to take your small space to great heights with many design options.  If your landlord allows it, (most do if you agree to remove it before leaving) wallpaper can be a temporary way to personalize your space and add sophistication to any room or corner.  Do what the New Yorkers do and use a bold print in a bathroom or by the front door to really open up the small space.  I know you’re probably thinking a print will just make your space feel even smaller right?  But it actually does the opposite.  How to try this at home:

1.  Look for samples that use many of the colors you already have in use

2.  Tape up a couple samples for a week for an adjustment period to hone in on the right one.

3.  Watch how a tight space starts to reflect light and becomes deceptively larger now that it’s got the power of paper behind it!

Read more about wallpaper here. (inter blog link)

Moving on to the Lower East side, a professional photographer’s eye for fun shows us how to brighten up with color and whimsy in the middle of a palette of bustling grays.

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Tip#1: Put fun into function

This Buddha statue was first to greet me by the front door, sitting on a skinny entry table, being beautiful and serene in his double duty of decor and sunglasses holder.

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Not all of NYC style is black, modern, leather Barcelona chairs. I love the mix of travel and bright colors that made staying in this apartment fun. Personal accents like starburst tile and rubber ducks balance the concrete jungle that is the city and make a small space feel like a cheerful home.

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Tip #2: Sticking to a color palette will make a small space feel relaxed and more spacious.  Primary colors of red, yellow, and blue are pretty bold choices, but they work with the colors of the tile in this apartment using decor like rugs, curtains, and clocks to tie it all together.

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The city’s social atmosphere and night skyline are the best accessories to any decor in New York, whether you’re staying in Uptown or Downtown.  Whether you live in a big city or small town, I hope these tips from my visit to New York have inspired you to see that your small space can have endless potential.  ~Carrie

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