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Designer Tips for Small Urban Living

By: Susan Kleinman

These urban dwellers have learned to live comfortably and stylishly in 400 square feet or less.

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Create a Wow Moment

At just 300 square feet, interior designer Ron Marvin's studio apartment is short on space, but not on style. To make the apartment chic and memorable, Marvin used full-scale furniture and plenty of decorative objects. "If you create a major focus or an aha moment," he says, "you forget that you are in a small space. You just realize it feels good, and you are relaxed and comfortable." Design and photography by Ron Marvin

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Mix Shapes and Sizes

"Objects and furnishings with varying textures, origins and shapes give interest to the space and keep the eye stimulated," says Callie Jenschke of Scout Designs, who decorated this 350-square-foot studio. Smart design strategy: The more interested the eye is, the more likely it is to ignore the room’s small dimensions. Photography by Patrick Cline for Lonny magazine

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Tuck It Away

To create a home office in a 365-square-foot studio, Killy Scheer of Frisson Design hung a curtain from the main room’s ceiling. When the curtain was open, the office felt spacious enough for both work-at-home spouses. When it was closed, Scheer and her husband could forget work and enjoy their living room. Photography by Killy Scheer

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Go for Slim and Portable

To meet the challenges of small-space living in a 397-square-foot one-bedroom, photographer Michael Mohr and his wife chose narrow pieces, such as the bench used as a coffee table. Instead of a big entertainment center, Mohr mounted a 27" TV in the closet, hidden most of the time but able to pivot out when they were interested in watching a show. Design and photography by Michael Mohr

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