I lived in a living room for two years. I've lived in an attic overrun by ants for another two. I've lived in a space just big enough for a full-size bed and an IKEA dresser, and I've lived with three other girls in an apartment in a building that housed squatters just a few years prior. And, my boyfriend? Let's just say that in the four years he's been in NYC, he's inhabited six different apartments, and it's not because he likes to move.
Living in less-than-stellar spaces is as much a part of the NYC experience as learning how to negotiate your fare in a black cab. For this reason, you won't find anyone in the world who can be as cunning as New Yorkers when it comes to turning the squalid into something cozy, homey, and full of personality. When the real estate market gives us lemons, we figure out a way to at least make those lemons look like they came out of The Selby.
After saving and scheming for years, my boyfriend and I moved into what's basically a palace: a 750-square-foot one-bedroom in Brooklyn that we're not planning on leaving, ever. I can't even express how liberating it was to pick out furniture based on what we liked and not on what was spill-proof for the first time in our lives. But, merging our two different styles? Comic-book nerd into Explorers Club-style haberdashery versus a print-mix maven with a penchant for pop art? Oil, meet water.
However, if there's anyone who can mix Spider-Man posters with Moroccan-style rugs, it's interiors expert Gunnar Larson. With his guiding hand, Gunnar harmonized our things, gave our space a superficial facelift, and taught us how to think outside the box. Ahead, find 34 tips for making over a space, no matter if you're working with 300 square feet or 3,000.