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Colorful Layers and Creative Tricks in A 250-Square-Foot NYC Studio

by Sofia Tuovinen

Colorful Layers and Creative Tricks in A 250-Square-Foot NYC Studio
For me, changing careers from fashion to interiors was a long and winding road with unforeseeable pitstops and bumps in the road. Nevertheless, it’s a journey that I’ve never regretted and one that’s taught me that there’s always time and room to change direction. also knows a thing or two about shifting focus from fashion to interiors. She started her career working in PR for fashion brands like Halston, Vivienne Tam, and Haute Hippie. Soon after making the move from in-house PR to agency PR, she realized that her interest in home decor had vastly exceeded her interest in fashion. “Activities like going to antique shops, creating a cozy home environment, and taking on DIY projects were things that made me happy. I found myself traveling home to New Jersey more often and I felt more at peace,” Meaghan shares. Not long after that, she joined the ranks of  where she’s now part of a collaborative team of five who offer their expertise to designers and decor brands in the areas of PR, business development, creative partnerships, events and social media. On the side, Meaghan also takes online classes with the New York Institute of Art and Design, becoming certified as an interior decorator as her goal.

The 250-square-foot studio apartment that Meaghan rents on New York’s Upper West Side reflects her passion for interiors and the organic development of her personal style. It’s also where she’s been able to try out clever tricks that have turned her small rental into a warm and utterly comfortable home that feels spacious, curated and thoughtfully layered. Being the first home she’s lived in without roommates, filling it with pleasing colors and meaningful pieces was a process that fueled Meaghan’s enthusiasm for interior design even further. Decorating her new home took six months and started with choosing paint colors and the ideal peel-and-stick wallpaper, after which Meaghan moved on to accent furniture and decorative details that truly make the space. Throughout the process, Meaghan made sure that she kept to her initial budget and was able to teach herself tons about budget constraints and space maximizing. Now, her small studio truly makes the case for small-space living.

To elevate her home from dorm room to adult sophistication, Meaghan focused on certain design decisions that made all the difference: investing in a headboard, adding curtains and thinking about the space as numerous layers of color, texture, and pattern. “I wanted to experience the value of designing a home with character. Whether that is through meaningful artwork, an heirloom piece of furniture, antique home accessories with history, etc. — all of it adds to that intangible factor of feeling at home,” Meaghan adds. Although she finally has a space that feels just like her, Meaghan still enjoys the growth that she experiences while decorating. “This process has also shown me how my style has transitioned over the years from bohemian and traditional to a little more of the lived-in classic English look, with colorful textiles and antique treasures. It is fun and energizing to me to know that I’m still finding my aesthetic.” —

Photography by Anna Mathias / 

Image above: “Because my apartment is a studio with high ceilings, I wanted to do something other than just paint so I spent a long time poring over peel-and-stick wallpaper options on . Not only was it budget conscious, but it stayed within the rules of the lease for renting,” Meaghan explains. After ordering several wallpaper samples, she landed on one with beautiful green eucalyptus leaves on a white background by .

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Meaghan chose neutral beige covers for her so that she could add layers of colors and texture with pillows and throws. She also added sense of space and accentuated the room height by installing her curtain rods closer to the ceiling. “Because the wooden floors creak often, I layered two rugs for extra support. The jute rug is from and the antique tabriz Persian rug is from ,” she adds. 

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The custom-made coffee table is one of Meaghan’s most cherished pieces of furniture. “I worked with Drew McClellan, a local woodworker in Belmar, New Jersey, to design a custom reclaimed wood coffee table from an old ceiling joist. Having something that was not only custom but made with love from back home felt special and it will always be a keepsake,” she shares. Meaghan is also a big fan of Motown, soul and blues music and keeps her collection of vinyl records under the coffee table.

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 and an antique brass wine rack from create a beautiful vignette in the corner of Meaghan’s living area. Fresh eucalyptus branches tie in beautifully with the wallpaper.

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The tufted chair from creates a cozy reading nook. “On the weekends or early mornings I like to sit here with coffee and read with the window open,” Meaghan says. The handwoven Dori accent pillow is from , the fringe blanket from and the floor lamp from in Manasquan, New Jersey.

 

 

The apartment drew me in for its tall ceilings, big windows, wood floors and ample storage space.

 

 

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The geometric and metallic accent side table is by , a go-to for great furniture pieces from top designers like Kelly Hoppen and Andrew Martin.”

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The tassels are from Meaghan’s mom’s collection that has grown over the years. The glass curtain tiebacks are from .

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I knew that I wanted to do something with greens and blues so that helped me stick to a general color scheme,” Meaghan describes her initial thoughts when planning the decor of her studio apartment. The beautiful contrast between green and blue is best portrayed in the TV nook, where Meaghan chose to paint her dresser in “” by Behr. The wall color is  by Behr.

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Meaghan updated the kitchen by covering the outdated backsplash with white peel-and-stick subway tile from Target. Lyrics from Otis Redding’s ‘Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay’ hang above the stove. “Listening to music, drinking wine and cooking is something I love to do during the week to relax so I wanted to create an area that made me happy,” Meaghan explains. 

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Meaghan kept the bed corner clean and light to complement the rest of the space. The bed is layered with blankets and pillows to create texture. The headboard is from . The embroidered and hand-dyed silk velvet pillows are by .

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Above my nightstand is a framed photo of rain falling down a window. I love the rain and this photo for its calming effect. This photo also reminds me of watching thunderstorms with my dad out of our garage growing up,” Meaghan shares. The nightstand is designed by and made from reclaimed beams from Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Refinery. 

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The vintage writing desk was a gift from Meaghan’s parents. She painted it the same green as her dresser, “” by Behr. The chair by Kelly Hoppen for adds a touch of glam to the space. To pin design inspiration, Meaghan leaned a burlap bulletin from  on top of the desk. 

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Meaghan in her 250-square-foot studio apartment.

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Leftover scraps of the eucalyptus wallpaper enhance the design of Meaghan’s closet doors and complement the fully wallpapered wall across the room.

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To continue the contrast between blue and green in the entryway, Meaghan painted one wall in  by Behr and the frame of the floor mirror in “” by Behr. 

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As the bathroom walls are covered in white tile, Meaghan added color by painting the ceiling in “” semi-gloss by Behr. “I worked with the same local woodworker in New Jersey who designed my custom coffee table to help me design this custom ladder shelf to go above my toilet for added storage,” she adds.

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