When Jonathan Adler’s creative services manager Nicholas Obeid moved from a lofty two-bedroom to a 450-square-foot studio in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, he brought with him more stuff than one might expect to fit in such a small space. Among his treasures: a pair of chrome Chippendale chairs, a nickel-plated credenza covered in geometric studs, tiered Lucite bedside tables, and a midcentury daybed that he reupholstered in a stunning emerald-green velvet. Somehow, the resourceful entertainer managed to find a place for each piece, creating three distinct living areas—plus a bar moment for good measure—without overwhelming the apartment. “The common approach to a studio is minimalism,” says Obeid, “but I opted for the opposite. I think the variety of visual elements makes the apartment feel bigger.” Here, eight ways Obeid maximized his small space with statement-making style—and how you can do the same.
1. Paint it white. Before moving in, Obeid recovered the apartment’s midnight-gray walls in Benjamin Moore’s Simply White to give the room a lighter, brighter base that allows furniture and accessories to stand out.
2. Think in vignettes. Create a floor plan that sections off the space according to your needs, then consider the intended purpose of each area. “There were two ‘musts’ that I needed the floor plan to accomplish: a place to sit and have dinner with a friend, and a pair of bedside tables flanking a bed that wasn’t squeezed into a corner,” says Obeid. “The light-filled seating area by the window is where I’ll have friends over for drinks.”
3. Opt for Lucite. Floating Lucite tables are light and airy and don’t weigh down the space.
4. Use color to differentiate each space. Obeid established monochromatic palettes for the three distinct areas: The entry features burled wood with orange, camel, and onyx; the bed is highlighted by pewter, brown, and gold; and the seating area is awash in tonal greens. “This does the math for your eyes and calms the visual chaos,” says Obeid.
5. Use full-size furniture. It seems counterintuitive, but small furnishings can actually make a room look smaller. Bonus: Larger pieces help hide unsightly elements—for Obeid, that includes wires and a cable box—that add clutter to a space.
6. Display artwork above eye level. Hang a gallery wall of paintings and other framed pieces as high as possible to give the illusion of a tall ceiling.
7. Choose furniture that serves multiple purposes. “A daybed with a slim profile tucks back in the window nook and doubles as a guest bed,” says Obeid of the emerald-green sofa in the living area.
8. Always edit. “Studio living has forced me to be neater than I thought I was,” says Obeid. “If one thing comes in, another has to go.”
Text by Jennifer Fernandez
Photography by Nicholas Obeid