It's Official: This Is How A Studio Apartment Should Look

Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
The votes are in. NYC Homepolish designer Julia Montanez has the cutest studio apartment we've ever seen. "The space was completely empty when I moved in," she says of her ongoing personal design project, "So my inspiration was the bones of the apartment: white brick walls, high ceilings and lots of light."

Minimal with a subtle hint of feminine elegance, Julia's apartment makes the very most of its small square footage with living, dining, and sleeping areas that magically don't feel the least bit crowded. Browse the slideshow for details and Julia's tips.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
"My initial idea was to go fully minimalist with a natural, wabi-sabi-inspired space," Julia says of her home design. "My theory on minimalism, however, is that it tends to get expensive because if you only have three pieces of furniture in your home, they better be top of the line. So instead of going that route, I ended up working around two existing pieces that I loved and that I knew I would hold on to, which were my hand-me-down Danish midcentury nesting tables and CH88 dining chairs by Carl Hansen & Son. Pieces that would never be trendy or passé."

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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
The studio is small (400 square feet), but Julia's layout makes the most of the space without compromising any of the requisite areas.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Julia further explains her approach: "Still keeping with the minimalist vibe, I wanted the small floor space to remain open and airy with an elegant, soft, feminine vibe and a touch of midcentury to offset anything too girly. I also didn’t want to apologize for having my bed take up 50% of my floor space by doing the typical studio thing like hiding it behind an Ikea bookshelf. I was inspired by the Ace Hotel (both the Palm Springs by Commune and NYC by Roman & Williams) to have a symmetrical, all-encompassing space."
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Julia admits that she's attracted to symmetry because it keeps things looking uniform and calm. In spite of the well-known space saver of pushing your bed against a wall lengthwise to give you more space, Julia says, "having it centered makes the space feel more sophisticated and chic."
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
This "bedside table" doubles as a chair when Julia needs more seating.

Related: A Charming Brooklyn Apartment Goes Green
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Having the bed in the center of the room doesn't seem to take away from the apartment's spacious feel.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Of course, everyone adheres to the high/low school of thought, whether in fashion or interior design, but there’s so much truth to it.

Granted, if her budget allowed for all high-end furniture, Julia confesses, "I would have certainly done it, and it would certainly look like a 1970s discotheque." But as it stands now, having one-of-a-kind custom pieces next to Ikea gives the room balance and approachability.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
We're obsessed with these chairs from Coming Soon!
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Reclining Julia.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
There's no need to skimp on statement art in a studio. Just one amazing piece can do wonders for the space.

Related: Modern Meets Luxe In This Spanish Revival Home
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
The neat and orderly arrangement of things can really help in avoiding that crowded feel that often affects small spaces.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
A bowl of matches may not be the most innovative design idea, but that's okay; it's one that works just about anywhere.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Julia was able to tuck a desk and chair into a small corner. This means that neither the living room nor the bedroom become busy work spaces.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Fresh flowers never fail to dress up a table, and these purple tulips prove that you don't need to get fancy with your arrangements.

Related: We're Getting Serious Apartment Envy With This Couple's East Village Pad
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
For a studio apartment, Julia's kitchen is actually quite decent. We're loving the cutting-board countertop.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
This reading nook is so cozy.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
Even from this angle, where you can see the corner of the bed, the studio looks both inviting and spacious.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
When in doubt, put a mirror up. It's an immediate room enhancer and always makes spaces appear bigger than they actually are.
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Photo: Courtesy of Claire Esparros/Home Polish.
We love the feminine hint that this pink-wrapped cord lends to the space.

Next: An Austin Home Full Of Southern Comfort
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