Salut à tous! It’s been drizzling here in Paris for the past couple of hours; the air is chilly and the streets are sparkling with the reflections of passing headlights. I’ve been sipping tea and editing photos in my cozy little studio, listening to the Decemberists and other rainy-day music. Tonight promises hot chocolate and a good movie.
In the meantime, welcome to the Savannah-fied apartment! I managed to accomplish most of the goals I established when I was embarking upon my decorating adventure, and I’m very happy with how the space turned out. I hope you like it as much as I do!
There’s a reason I always refer to my apartment as “my cozy little studio.” It is 11 meters squared, and my bed takes up about 75 percent of my floor space. Super tiny! Especially by American standards! But it is just the right amount of space for me, and I never feel cramped or trapped. Even so, learning to get the most out of my limited space took some thought, which brings me to…
Tip # 1:
Shelves. Boxes. Hooks. Fill every shelf and use boxes or baskets to keep things organized. You can install hooks to give purpose to otherwise useless surfaces, as I did with the shelf that hangs over my bed. By drilling hooks into the bottom of the shelf, I turned the overhang into a cute lighting arrangement. Hooks and shelves also serve to keep your floor space open and free of clutter.
When I was packing for my move to Paris, I spent a lot of time thinking about which objects, pictures and books make me feel at home. One of the things I chose to bring is my copy of Goodnight Moon, which my mom used to read to me when I was a little girl. The book is older than I am, and its edges are yellow and torn. The spine is broken, so it has actually split in two. I can’t imagine a bookshelf without this childhood treasure! But part of moving somewhere is embracing the cultural treasures your new home has to offer, so I bought two French children’s stories, Le Petit Prince and Le Petit Nicholas, to sit next to Goodnight Moon. I’m in the middle of Le Petit Prince at the moment– it’s darling.
Tip # 2:
Save room for new things! When you’re decorating, make sure to leave some space for the trinkets, pictures and keep-sakes you’ll acquire in the future. I know I said to fill every shelf, but make sure to leave a few inches for new memories, too.
Despite the fact that I don’t have an oven, I’ve become very comfortable in my kitchenette. I cook dinner at home almost every night! My favorite part of the kitchen is the refrigerator door. As you can see, I’ve plastered it with photos! Every time I open the fridge I get to see my favorite faces!
Tip # 3:
Magnets. And suction cups too. Using refrigerator magnets has got to be the easiest way to display photos. But why suction cups? Suction cups are great for making use of your shower door/walls. I bought hooks and plastic boxes that stick to my shower so that I can hang up my towels and toiletries.
Welcome to my favorite part of the studio: my balcony. From my perch I can see all the way to Sacré Coeur on the north side of Paris. I sit out here in the morning, eating my cereal and watching the people walk by on the street below. This is where my cactus Luz lives, and where I keep my flowers. The window that opens up to the balcony floods my studio with light all day long, keeping it warm and bright.
Tip # 4:
Decorate with your…clothes? I know it sounds crazy, but things like scarves can make excellent home decor! I use four of my many scarves as curtains, and they look beautiful when the sun shines through them. I also organized my clothing in a quasi-aesthetic manner so my three-shelf wardrobe would look more like a collage than a laundry pile.
Now that I have made my studio my own, I absolutely love living here. Of course I didn’t get to make it my dream studio (that would’ve required a bulldozer), but I was able to douse it in my personality, making it feel truly like my space, my home. And that brings me to my final piece of advice:
Tip # 5:
Make do with what you have, when you have it. If you’re living in a tiny place like this, chances are you’re on a budget, and you probably don’t intend to stay here forever. So don’t sweat the small stuff. Do what you can to make your space feel like home; don’t bother trying to turn it into something off of HGTV.
And love it for what it is, because for the moment, it’s all you have.
Smiles and all the best,
PS– What do you think of my decorating job?! What would you have done differently?