My One-Bedroom Costs $2,000 A Month — & Here's What It Looks Like

Photographed by Jessica Chou.
In Refinery29's Sweet Digs, we take a look inside the sometimes small, sometimes spacious homes of millennial city dwellers. Today, 24-year-old Alyssa Coscarelli shows off her $2,000 a month East Village "junior one-bedroom."
Moving out of your parents' house might be the first big step towards adulthood — but a close second is moving into your own apartment, by yourself. This is an even bigger deal in New York City, where rent prices often make roommates a financial necessity.
Naturally, when fashion market editor Alyssa Coscarelli decided to get her own apartment, people had some concerns. "My mom, kept being like, 'Are you sure?'" Alyssa says. "Like, 'You should just stay in Brooklyn, just stay with your roommate. This is going to be so expensive. I don't know why you're doing this.'"
But to Alyssa, the upgrade was worth it. The fashion editor's previous apartment in Brooklyn happened to be a railroad apartment, and she ended up with the less-private bedroom. "Essentially my roommate had to walk through my room to get to her room," Alyssa says. "We were best friends so we thought it would be fine, but it just ended up being kind of close quarters."
After a year in the railroad apartment, Alyssa took the plunge and moved into a junior one-bedroom apartment in the East Village — essentially a studio with a bedroom behind French glass doors. She's since decked out some 350 square feet with her mix of vintage and mid-century modern sensibilities, reveling in the ability to do whatever she wants in her own space. "I feel like getting this first New York apartment by myself was a little bit of a milestone," she says. "I don’t regret it. It's one of the best decisions I've ever made as far as convenience, comfort, and mental health."
Click ahead to check out her apartment and shop some of her favorite finds.
Have a home you'd like to share? Email us here.
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appearance by Alyssa Coscarelli.
Watch Alyssa show off her sweet digs in this video, then click ahead to hear more about her decorating style and inspiration.
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How did you find this apartment?

"I found this apartment through a broker. I was actually interested in a unit in the same building a few floors down. It was street-facing, and it was newly renovated. It was basically the better version of my unit. I applied for it, but then another tenant in the building wanted to move in, so they had to honor that. But they came back with this one on the fourth floor for $300 off."

Why did you decide to go with a broker?

"I find it tough to avoid brokers. I always start out thinking, 'I'm not going to use a broker, it's so expensive. I'm just going to find it myself and look at online listings.' But I find there are more options when you use a broker. This is the first time I didn’t use a guarantor, which was kind of exciting."

Can you talk about some of the costs of moving?

"In total I had to pay first month's rent, a security deposit, and a broker's fee. That was probably $6,000 plus right there — it was a lot of money. I had to save up for it. And then I used a mover, too, since it was a walk-up, but luckily I didn't have that much stuff. I started from scratch with this place, so I just had to move my boxes of clothes and my mattress; moving was under $400. It was definitely an expensive time. I had to get back on my feet after that, but it was something I really wanted to do."
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What were some of your priorities when finding your space?

"With my place, I'm really just paying for the location over everything. I don’t have laundry in the building, I don’t have a rooftop, I don’t have a doorman, I don’t even have a real lobby. I just really like the location. I'm in the heart of the East Village, but I can also easily walk over to Greenwich Village. I can walk down to Bowery and go to Soho, Chinatown, and the Lower East Side in ten minutes. Plus it's a nice quiet street, while still being close to so many hotels and bars and restaurants. But the building itself has zero amenities."

What's your favorite part of your apartment?

"My bedroom is my favorite part. I got a headboard that I love, and I found a vintage dresser that I think is perfect; I just really made it my little oasis. This is my first time living alone, and I wasn't sure how it would be, but I've found it to be very satisfying. It's just relaxing. I can just go there and hang out and play the music I want to play, decorate how I want to decorate.

"The bed frame was a core piece to me, since the space is so small. I just thought, 'Alright, this is going to be the piece I splurge on because I love it, and it's so cool for the space, and it's really unique.' To be honest, I think some people don’t like it because it's kind of weird, but it's just very me. I like it a lot."
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Where do you pile things in your apartment?

"Most people have a chair, but I have a whole couch. My best friends have seen it at its worst, when the whole couch is covered in clothes and random shit. I try to keep it under control."

Do you have any decorating tips?

"I was recently hanging some bookshelves and I was debating if I should hang up one more; I had already put up four of them. So I asked my Instagram, Should I hang one more at the top? Everyone responded, 'Yes, always decorate odd numbers.' I actually hadn't heard that rule before, but there is something more pleasing to the eye about having odd numbers, whether that's a bookshelf or a number of pillows on your couch or whatever."

Where do you go shopping for home decor?

"I have to say I'm definitely a victim of CB2 and West Elm being the go-to's. But I really like the vintage pieces I've found so far, because they're one-of-a-kind. For vintage pieces, I go to Adaptations in Brooklyn, Dobbin Street Co-op, and Home Union. My rug is by a brand called Cold Picnic, and they make the coolest unique rugs. You don't really see them anywhere else."
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How do you find inspiration for home ideas?

"Definitely Instagram. I have a whole list saved for apartment inspiration. These vintage stores post regularly about what they're getting in the store, and you can actually buy it through Instagram. They'll send you an invoice and you just go pick it up. It's kind of dangerous because it's a constant stream of furniture and home decor that you want to buy.

"One of my favorite things is also seeing my friends' and acquaintances' apartments in the city. I'm definitely voyeuristic and I like to see how they decorate to get ideas. I also get opinions from my family. I'm always sending pictures to my best friends and my mom, asking, 'Should I get this? What'd you think? Do you think this would look good?' They're always really honest with me, which is incredibly helpful."

How did you approach shopping for furniture for your own space?

"I've had one too many moves where I just settled for furniture I didn't really like that much, and I'd end up selling it or throwing it away. So with this place, it's definitely quality over quantity. There is a less is more situation because it's so small, and I really try to choose things that I feel are very me."
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produced by Brianna Donnelly; edited by Sam Russell.
Want more? Watch another episode of Sweet Digs here.

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