« Back

Jess' Greener Life in a Small Space




Silver Spring, Maryland



Square Feet:


What I Love About My Home

When we first moved down to DC after college two years ago, we realized we had the interesting situation of having too much stuff, yet no furnishings. In such a small space, it was a constant battle between: keep the trunk of bar memorabilia? Or buy a desk? We quickly learned to be selective. This path of purging the unnecessary eventually led to us adopting a greener lifestyle, asking before every purchase, "Do I love it? Do I need it? Will I use it?". We still have a long ways to go before we would consider our apartment "eco-friendly", but the small space has definitely given us the motivation to take on that challenge.

Biggest Challenge in Furnishing My Home

We started from scratch, as I was living with my parents and he was living in a, for lack of a better descriptor, "dirty fraternity-esque house". So when we moved in together it was a challenge to avoid just turning the apartment into an IKEA catalog. We're still trying to incorporate more classic pieces and less big-box-store pieces, but it's a slow process. Another challenge has been the bathroom-through-the-bedroom, as this further limits our guest accommodations (as if the small space didn't limit visitors enough...). But we've adapted and so have our infrequent guests.

Favoriting and voting have ended.

Comments (57)

I love the corgi!

posted by Jaimie1 on April 5, 2011 at 7:00pm
view Jaimie1's profile

I really like it--it looks like such a perfect place to come home to every day!

posted by MeredithK02 on April 6, 2011 at 3:11pm
view MeredithK02's profile

Very nice space. Well put togeter.
A definite thumbs up.

posted by Anet500 on April 4, 2011 at 1:03pm
view Anet500's profile

You did a fantastic job. I love the layout of the place. It's very well thought out.

posted by AnaH on April 4, 2011 at 12:19pm
view AnaH's profile

Very nice, clean & bright...and anyone with a Corgi gets my--& my Corgi's--vote:)

posted by SQ on April 4, 2011 at 11:53am
view SQ's profile

Love your space! But that's why we elevated our bed. Our corgi can't get up there, only slobber on us from the sides, which is funny.

posted by xand83 on April 4, 2011 at 11:58am
view xand83's profile

It is very cute! I also love the layout and the distinct living areas.

I really like the entertainment unit in the living room... but that could very easily be because I have the same one. :D

posted by HandmadeKatie on April 4, 2011 at 12:48pm
view HandmadeKatie's profile

This reminds me of a Crate and Barrel store, but in a good way ... lovely colors and clean, comfortable organization.

posted by cremedela on April 4, 2011 at 12:55pm
view cremedela's profile

Excellent, also, BEAUTIFUL DOG!

posted by applebomb on April 4, 2011 at 12:57pm
view applebomb's profile

I love how it just feels so clean and radiant.

posted by andrea_xtina on April 4, 2011 at 1:02pm
view andrea_xtina's profile

Very calm and clean. I love the dog. There is a space near the entrance that looks like a home office (at the diagram), I wish it was in the photos.

posted by hotpaprika on April 4, 2011 at 1:13pm
view hotpaprika's profile

oh my god... I love your bedroom! It's so beautiful, calm and serene. You've got what I like to call the "luxurious zen spa look" right down ;) so inspirational. I want to redo my bedroom now!

I'd love to see more of your place. House tour please! :)

posted by waterlily on April 4, 2011 at 1:52pm
view waterlily's profile

Love the dog. We have a red and white Corgi, too; when its thundering outside and she really needs to be on the bed with us, we push the ottoman that normally lives under a table in the bed, up against the bed, and up she jumps.

The bedroom is definitely my favorite room here; the color combinations are so pleasing.

posted by NickGood on April 4, 2011 at 2:22pm
view NickGood's profile

Nice space but wouldn't cheap solid vintage furniture be more in tune with your willingness to lead a greener life than big-box-store pieces?

posted by Allegra M on April 4, 2011 at 4:44pm
view Allegra M's profile

To all of you, thank you! I can't believe some of the wonderful things said.

To all the corgi lovers: His name is Dexter, and he's a two-year old red-headed tri. He's really small for a corgi (15 lbs) but I don't think our apartment can handle much more :-).

ElectricKatie - Actually, that's one of my least favorite parts. I call it the "wall of black"; it sucks the light out of the room. Great for storage, not so great for sunlight.

cremedela - funny, b/c I don't anything we own is from Crate & Barrel. But I do wish I could live in one of their stores, so it could be subconscious.

hotpaprika - sorry we didn't include the office area. It's a typical Apartment Therapy office: Eames knockoff chair, white Parsons desk, antique camera collection, etc...

waterlily - I'll pretend that the "luxurious zen spa look" you speak of is intentionally what I was going for... lol

posted by divellent on April 4, 2011 at 3:06pm
view divellent's profile

Very nice!

posted by ModHomekeeper on April 4, 2011 at 3:45pm
view ModHomekeeper's profile

Very neat, very clean. Seems to have a lot of personality

posted by ellepebe on April 4, 2011 at 7:20pm
view ellepebe's profile

I have the same furniture in my bedroom. It may be IKEA, but I do really love that Hemnes!

posted by Mary K. on April 4, 2011 at 10:14pm
view Mary K.'s profile

Beautiful color combination in the bedroom! Overall, your place looks so cozy! Would you mind sharing the paint color you used in your bedroom? Thank you

posted by Xenia1 on April 5, 2011 at 1:52am
view Xenia1's profile

Allegra M - I completely agree, and we're slowly trying to find used vintage pieces to replace the big-box-store pieces. When we moved it, our only goal was "Get furniture" and the Reuse-Recycle mentality didn't hit us until later on. But in my defense, most of the furniture, even the IKEA pieces, were bought used on craigslist. So you gotta give me some credit :-)

Xenia - the bedroom paint is Cafe Latte by Glidden.

posted by divellent on April 5, 2011 at 8:48am
view divellent's profile

Your apartment is beautiful & so is your darling corgi Dexter. Love your kitchen. Very cozy, clean & well organized. Also, I have the same IKEA bedroom dresser & love it!

posted by Chathamgirl on April 5, 2011 at 11:11am
view Chathamgirl's profile

Lovely home! And my very favorite part - your pup's reflection in the full length mirror. So adorable! Good Luck to you!

posted by KristieO21 on April 5, 2011 at 11:13am
view KristieO21's profile

I love it! My most favourite favourite so far! :)
I love your puppy too :)

posted by pheebs79 on April 5, 2011 at 11:47am
view pheebs79's profile

not sure why my comment was deleted. i do like this space but it really does look like a page from the ikea catalog.

posted by rlmesq on April 5, 2011 at 2:35pm
view rlmesq's profile

rlmesq - Not sure why your comment was deleted; I was going to say that I agree with you, that almost all of our big items are from IKEA and as I mentioned in the blurb at the top, we've been trying to slowly replace these pieces.

posted by divellent on April 5, 2011 at 3:20pm
view divellent's profile

divellent: I know exactly what you mean by lots of stuff but no furnishings. I really felt like with all the big ticket items I needed in the 1 week i had between school and work (bed, desk/table+chairs, sofa, dresser), my budget only stretched to IKEA. It's not like I even had hand-me downs as my parents lived on the other side of the country. It does look Ikea-ish but you did a much better job than me of making it look good.

"typical Apartment Therapy office" --> hilarious

posted by niche on April 5, 2011 at 5:28pm
view niche's profile

Love your bedroom!! Great job with the decor.

posted by smoothsailing on April 5, 2011 at 10:38pm
view smoothsailing's profile

I think this is a lovely use of space created with easy-to-find furnishings.

posted by k2yhe on April 6, 2011 at 9:57am
view k2yhe's profile

jettsam - I couldn't agree more. I only commented on the design-related actions we've taken due to lack of typing space. But during this time we've also set up a large-scale compost bin, taken a no-new-plastic pledge, reduced our landfill waste to less than one bag per week (we're aiming for one per month), tried to keep more than 90% of our food in the unprocessed/organic/local/pasture-raised spectrum, eliminated all toxic chemicals in the house (cleaning, makeup, etc...), and have begun the search for a single-family home that we can renovate to be completely "green". And the list goes on from there... but like I said above, we still have a long ways to go!

posted by divellent on April 6, 2011 at 8:05am
view divellent's profile

I love how calmly inviting it is - well done creating such a lovely atmosphere with the light and the colors! P.S. I have your same Hemnes bedroom set - love it!

posted by Allikh on April 6, 2011 at 1:18pm
view Allikh's profile

I especially like your kitchen - so clean and bright! And I'm impressed by your commitment to living as green as you can. Do you have an outdoor space for your compost bin - and some place to use the dirt?

posted by videofromscratch on April 6, 2011 at 5:19pm
view videofromscratch's profile

Love it! To solve the bathroom through the bedroom conundrum, have you considered closing off bedroom door and making new entrance through walk in closet wall just inside front entry door? Then, as you walk through that new door, bedroom door would be to your right and 'new' bathroom door would be directly ahead. Close off 'old' bathroom door and make entire wall of closets from next to window to 'new' bedroom door. Would give you more wall space in living room, more privacy in your bedroom, enable others to use bathroom without traipsing through your bedroom AND reduce 'bathroom' noise in your bedroom. Seems like it could be done easily with just drywall and studs....just a thought......

posted by michpam on April 6, 2011 at 6:44pm
view michpam's profile

Your apartment is cute, but it can't compare to the dog.

posted by Village on April 6, 2011 at 7:09pm
view Village's profile

Very nice ,and gorgeous dog!

posted by kimscollectables on April 6, 2011 at 9:26pm
view kimscollectables's profile

videofromscrach - we put it out back by our apartment's dumpsters. It's hidden so the tennants that don't want to participate don't have to see it, but large enough that anyone who wants to contribute in our building is able to.

michpam - nice plan in theory, but I doubt our landlord would be cool with us rearranging the layout. Your plan though is exactly what I would do if we were allowed to do a little demolition.

posted by divellent on April 7, 2011 at 9:01am
view divellent's profile

I like what you have done, I don't mind the ikea things... right out of college you need functional things at a nice price. Maybe you should paint the expedit? Maybe a fun bright color...then it wouldn't be a sea of black. But I think you did a great job... you should break down the price of the pieces and then total it for everyone:) I would love that!!

posted by khrome on April 7, 2011 at 11:23am
view khrome's profile

Your place is absolutely my favorite. Hands down. I love it.

I'm in a similar situation--a few years out of college and trying to incorporate IKEA with more traditional pieces. I think you've done a great job.

Where did you get the shelf/storage unit in the fourth picture? The one under the window?

Also--the storage/microwave/counter top thing in the kitchen. Where did you get that?

Beautiful home.

posted by Jessica Jeanne on April 7, 2011 at 12:29pm
view Jessica Jeanne's profile

I think that if Ikea items make a space work the way the homeowner needs it to, esp on a budget then there's nothing wrong with Ikea, we all learn to use them differently and that's the fun. I really like your space, very homey and comfortable looking.

posted by kcr on April 7, 2011 at 12:45pm
view kcr's profile

Fantastic color combination...Clean space and amazing space management.

posted by Nicole ZoeKP on April 7, 2011 at 1:06pm
view Nicole ZoeKP's profile

I especially like your kitchen: clean white with fun pops of color.

posted by homestilo on April 8, 2011 at 11:10am
view homestilo's profile

love the place! love the colors! where did you find the fantastic red leaning shelves?? thanks so much for sharing!

posted by laura sponaugle on April 9, 2011 at 2:49pm
view laura sponaugle's profile

The bedroom is the scene stealer of this entry.

posted by aexley on April 9, 2011 at 8:24pm
view aexley's profile

Jessica Jeanne: the storage/counter top in the kitchen is hand-made by us using an IKEA desk top ($5.99) and an IKEA metal shelf ($39.99), screwed together with some brackets. It's the best $46 we ever spent!

laura sponaugle: the leaning shelves are from JC Penney. I don't think they have the exact kind anymore, but these are similar.

posted by divellent on April 12, 2011 at 9:53am
view divellent's profile

I love that you don't have a giant television dominating your bedroom. It adds to the serenity and I hope you keep it that way. :)

posted by PattyD on April 15, 2011 at 1:13am
view PattyD's profile

@laura sponaugle. The leaning shelves are so cool! You can find them at Crate and Barrel, too.

posted by owlmug on April 15, 2011 at 9:17am
view owlmug's profile


posted by Ms Melly on April 17, 2011 at 2:28am
view Ms Melly's profile

Or if you didn't want to paint the tv stand it may look cool to wallpaper the inside to add some brightness. Love your kitchen and your home!

posted by rachaelk on April 19, 2011 at 9:55am
view rachaelk's profile

I think you should be penalized for the unfair advantage: an excrutiatingly cute Corgi!!! :)

posted by cvgmiami on April 20, 2011 at 9:40am
view cvgmiami's profile

LOVE the Corgi!

posted by Miriah15 on April 20, 2011 at 6:20pm
view Miriah15's profile

I LOVE this apartment and everything about it. Wouldn't change a thing!I've 'favorite'd it and bookmarking it for inspiration :) Also, love your Corgi, we have 2 and thinking about getting a third :)

posted by ach on April 21, 2011 at 11:21pm
view ach's profile

Beautiful space...especially the bedroom...I have the same dresser and I love it! ;)

posted by elbaramos on April 23, 2011 at 11:50pm
view elbaramos's profile

I love your layout and, man, am I jealous of your true 1 bedroom layout.

I too have loved the greener aspect to living in a small space; it really makes you prioritize your life and belongings. You've done it in a beautifully chic, yet casual, way. Kudos!

posted by Abbie G on April 28, 2011 at 1:33pm
view Abbie G's profile

I love this. My favorite is this

"So when we moved in together it was a challenge to avoid just turning the apartment into an IKEA catalog. We're still trying to incorporate more classic pieces and less big-box-store pieces, but it's a slow process."

I can so so so relate.

posted by liz_lemon on April 29, 2011 at 11:43am
view liz_lemon's profile

Love Dexter! Can you let me know the source for the green bedding?

posted by mminsf on April 29, 2011 at 1:25pm
view mminsf's profile

mminsf - The green quilt and shams are from Target - Chrysanthemum

posted by divellent on April 29, 2011 at 6:43pm
view divellent's profile

-Sorry, I had to!

posted by bkk on April 30, 2011 at 11:57pm
view bkk's profile

I love your place. Very cheerful and bright, like the use of colors. We have a Corgi too, he's red and white and he can jump on the bed anytime although we keep the door shut to keep the "dreaded" cats out! Does your Corgi have any cats? Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed seeing your space.

posted by Pam in Oregon on May 3, 2011 at 12:47pm
view Pam in Oregon's profile