My One-Bedroom Apartment Costs $2,800 — & Here's What It Looks Like

In Refinery29's Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial city dwellers. Today, 30-year-old Jessica Tarantino shows us around her meticulously decorated Cobble Hill home.
Even if you absolutely love where you live, an hour commute each way can wear you down. That's what happened with Jessica Tarantino, who lived on Long Island but worked at an IT company in Manhattan. "I grew up out there," Tarantino says, "but after doing the breakdown of what I was spending on commuter costs, rent, a car, and car insurance, it was only $100 less than my rent right now."
Those raw numbers, plus the hour commute each way, was enough to sway her to move to the city.
Luckily, Tarantino happened upon an apartment in her price range, some 20-minutes away from her job. "There are not many amenities in my building, no laundry or doorman or elevator, but the bigger space to me was worth the trade-off." Read ahead to shop her picks and hear more about her apartment journey.
Photographed by Melenie McGregor.
How did you find this space?
"I saw maybe 15 to 20 apartments and this one I tagged as the happy apartment. It got so much natural light, and you can see the bridge and the Freedom Tower, so it has the nice little view which is a highlight of being in southern Brooklyn."
What were some of the upfront costs of moving?
"Since I moved from far away, I did have to pay a decent amount in moving fees. I also had to pay one month in a broker's fee, which actually isn’t that bad. Some people I know pay more than that. So that was an extra $2800, and then first and last months' rent. Then I had the security deposit, and my landlord actually wanted two months and I think we compromised and I gave him $4,000 in security."
What are your decorating rules/tips?
"Don’t make holes in the wall yourself unless you’re absolutely sure that’s where you want something. I’m really, really bad at hanging things so what I’ve done in the past is I’ll take those peel and stick hooks and hang something there for a couple of days to see if I like it. And then if I want to commit to it, I have someone else hang it for me, like my dad."
How do you stay so organized in such a small space?
"I’m pretty type A and I've found the best way to contribute to self organization is to do regular clean outs. So it's really easy to pile a lot of stuff in your apartment when you're in a small space and that leads to a lot of clutter. So regular clean outs really help me stay organized. Sunday is my cleaning day, and then every couple months I'll do a big overhaul where I actually purge my apartment."
What's the most important thing you wanted when laying out your space?
"Making sure there was enough space for me to move around. I do have a lot of furniture for the size of my apartment but it seems to fit pretty well, and seating was really important for me. I wanted to make sure I had a lot of options for seating. But I like to be able to walk around all the furniture in my apartment. "
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