1 Girl, 4 Looks: A Small-Space Guru's Big-Time Style

UPDATE: This story was originally published on October 15.
Small-space design is an obstacle in and of itself. Add to that communal showers, bad lighting, and a rando roommate, and you've got yourself a bona fide disaster. Unless, of course, you call in the pros. Enter: Stephanie Hayman. We recently met the buyer for chic interiors site Dormify and while we couldn't get over her great (and affordable!) taste in decor, we were even more hung up on her effortlessly glam style.
Being the sartorial stalkers that we are, we went with our ol' set-up-an-interview, get-all-the-scoop, photograph-her-favorite-outfits routine, and the result was just what we expected: a quartet of cool-girl looks that complement her design-on-a-dime (and made for your dorm-room sized apartment!) tips. Seriously, this article might just be the most resourceful set of eye candy we've shown you yet. And, yes, if you still live in a dorm room, this one's for you, too!
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1 of 16
How would you describe your personal style? How does this style ethos find its way into your home design aesthetic?
"In both my personal style and home décor aesthetic, I tend to ignore popular notions of what matches or is expected, and combine disparate styles, patterns, and colors that result in an unexpected yet sophisticated look.

I tend to gravitate towards 'emotional' pieces. Whether it's something I acquired from a family member or it is a vintage or flea market purchase, about 50 percent of my wardrobe, jewelry collection, and objects in my home have a story."

H&M skirt, John Varvatos T-shirt, Sam Edelman loafers, Helmut Lang leather jacket, Chloé purse, Marni necklace, Erickson Beamon earrings.
2 of 16
How does buying/merchandising for college-age differ from how you decorate your own space?
"For the most part, I buy products for the site that I would use to decorate my own space. I think of the 'dormify girl' as sophisticated and stylish.

However, the only differences between styling a dorm or a New York City apartment is that in dorms you may want to decorate in a way that takes the focus off of the barren walls and mundane finishes by covering them up with wall art, decals, or a large area rug. While in a city like New York you may actually want to accentuate the charm and finishes by decorating with pieces that highlight the arches, moldings or a unique black and white tiled bathroom floor for example."

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3 of 16
What's the easiest way to spruce up a small space on a budget?
"Swap out the throw pillows on your bed or your couch to help create an entirely new look, especially since in a small space these may be the focal points of the room. Also, flowers are an easy and inexpensive way to spruce up your space. A short, stacked arrangement is modern and fresh."

4 of 16
What is your favorite item for fall or most worn garment in your closet?
"My favorite item for fall will become my most-worn item in my closet. This pair of Chloé boots I just bought; black suede and leather, a pointed cap-toe, hardware accents, and a not-too-tall stacked heel –– mmmm."
5 of 16
How does NYC effect your style/home decor?
"The city is so eclectic that it allows me to take risks and not feel like I'll be the center of attention. People and places in New York are so inspiring, too — a hotel lobby may inspire my next outfit, and one of Tommy Ton’s street style photos actually fueled my vision for Dormify’s 2013 Back To School bedding collection."

Vintage pants, Topshop booties, American Apparel shirt, The Row blazer, Khirma Eliazov wallet.
6 of 16
What are some of the most recent buys for Dormify that you want to snag for yourself?
"The 'Do Epic Shit' large wall decal; it's motivation to have up on the wall at the office! I just bought my boyfriend the Rock & Roll pillowcase set. And, I love love love our oversized houndstooth printed bedding."
7 of 16
How can start ups like Dormify best relate to their target audiences? Any advice for building a brand with focus?
"You need to understand your audience and learn how to think like them. For us, having a young staff helps, but things like our Style Advisor and Internship programs lets us work directly with our audience.

I would advise other brands to really stick to their niche while they start out. Don't try to be everything to everyone. There's always room for expansion later, but you need to establish your brand, your voice, and your position in the space first."

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8 of 16
What is the biggest mistake someone can make while decorating a small space?
"Ignoring your walls! You have four of them, and they aren’t just there to hold up the ceiling. You may not have very much surface space, so get creative and make use of your walls to display art, house books, and found objects, and even create a work space on your walls with a whiteboard or cork board. Go vertical!"

Kaelen top, Kelly Wearstler pants, Ray Ban sunglasses, Mono and Me bracelets, Marti skull bangle, Converse sneakers, Loeffler Randall bag.
9 of 16
How do you make small spaces look bigger, easily?
"Cover your ceiling with temporary wallpaper, maybe in a dark color, to add height and make your space look grander. To get the same effect in another way, you should drape an entire wall, not just the window on that wall."

The Woods bracelets, Nina Runsdorf ring, Daniella Kallmeyer cuff and necklace.
10 of 16
How do you organize your closet, especially with cold weather clothes?
"With a fairly small apartment, I free up space in my closet by taking out my favorite pieces and having them out in my room. I have a lamp draped with scarves — think Steven Tyler’s microphone. I also mixed some of my favorite shoes and bags within my bookshelves to save room inside my closet for bulky sweaters."
11 of 16
What are your favorite stores in NYC for shopping? What about for home goods?
"Sucre is a hidden gem in the West Village for great jewelry finds. Five Story is a favorite of mine — a Madison Avenue brownstone-turned boutique with a fabulously curated collection of cutting edge high fashion, art, and decadent home décor. Though with the demands of working at a start-up and little time to shop, I (very) often find myself raiding my mom’s and my roommate’s closets — no complaints!"
12 of 16
Whose style do you admire?
"Erin Wasson — her androgynous, effortless style is raw and relaxed and so chic. And, Kelly Wearstler — she is original and brave. She's a true tastemaker and trendsetter. Her style, both in design of interiors and clothing, encompasses modern glamour, edginess, and sophistication. She's just so freakin' cool. And Alexander Wang. I always love the way he dresses. He could be in black from head to toe but uses textures and layers to add interest."
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13 of 16
Do you have any tips for combining styles when living with a roommate?
"Pick a unifying color."

Selima sunglasses, Lover pants, Jean Michel Cazabat shoes, Hermés belt, Torn by Ronny Kobo jacket, American Apparel top, Céline bag, Cartier watch, Daniella Kallmeyer necklace.
14 of 16
What is your funniest dorm room anecdotes?
"On move-in day at GW, someone made fun of me for bringing an interior designer, but it was just my mom and she is not a decorator — she just has impeccable taste!"
15 of 16
What is your best cheap art suggestion?
"DIY projects! They are unique and add a personal touch. I search our blog and pinterest to find super creative, inexpensive ideas that end up looking very high end."

Daniella Kallmeyer necklace.
16 of 16
Where do you see dormify going/growing in the coming months/ years?
"Dormify will eventually become the first thing a girl thinks of when she gets her college acceptance letter."
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