Designing a Post Grad Pad

My little brother graduated from college a few weeks ago and in a few more weeks he will head off to Houston, Texas to start a new job and join the rest of us in the real world (dun, dun, dun, dunnn…).  He is moving into a studio apartment and has a very, very tight decorative budget (by the way, he would probably be horrified if I insinuated that he used the term “decorative budget,” this is my design speak).  So, having a big sis who is a designer and also someone who has grown accustomed to living in teeny, tiny spaces in NYC, he called me to help!

There’s an emerging trend called “E-Design” in which designers work with clients virtually, designing rooms and houses entirely via email, phone, video chat, and digital documents.  This mini-project for my little brother has sort of allowed me to dip my toe in the e-design water.  I’d love to do more of this pending clients who want to hire me!

Below you’ll find one of a few furniture plans I laid out for my brother’s space.  His apartment is somewhere around 550 square feet total (by New York standards this is a huge studio) and is a loft with 14 foot high ceilings.  In terms of the layout, his only request was to add a little privacy to his sleeping space.  I wanted to ensure he also had designated spaces for entertaining and dining, but at the same time, it was important that the whole apartment be cohesive with an open feel.

Furniture Plan

In terms of furniture and decorative items, my brother is bringing with him an existing bed, dresser, and desk.  He really didn’t have any special requests for the new items needed to furnish his apartment.  Because one space will be used for sleeping, eating, entertaining, etc., my design intentions were to keep things simple, clean, and neutral.  Appropriately scaled furniture was key, but I was also conscious of making sure furniture didn’t look too bite-size (too small furniture is a big mistake in small space design).  I selected an open bookshelf to maximize storage and serve the dual purpose of room divider.  I chose crisp white pieces to blend in and not take up too much visual space.  Pieces with mixed metals, wood, and leather will give the apartment a masculine punch.  Floor to ceiling windows, along with books and personal items to fill the bookshelves will add another layer of color, texture, and personality.  As part of the “e-design” package, he was sent a source list with multiple options for every item needed.  Below are my favorites.

Steven's Apartment Decor

1. Floor Lamp:  Target, $299.99
2. Sectional:  West Elm, $2,747
3. Room Divider/Shelves:  Ikea, $199
4. Coffee Table:  Wayfair, $83.99
5. Area Rug:  Joss & Main, $323.95 *no longer available
6. Side Table:  West Elm, $119.99
7. TV Console:  Ikea, $119
8. Dining Chair:  Ikea, $79
9. Dining Table:  Ikea, $199
10. Table/Desk Lamp:  Target, $90.00
11. Storage Bin for Room Divider/Shelves:  Amazon, $12.97
12. Hamper and Storage Basket:  Land of Nod, $89 & $49
13. Barstool:  Target, $99.99 (for a set of 2)
14. Pen Holder, Desk Accessory:  Wayfair, $17.99
15. Desk Chair:  Wayfair, $105.99
16.  Doormat: Domino, $50

What do you think of my ideas for my brother’s post grad pad?  I’d love your feedback in the comments section below!  Interested in “E-Design” for your space?  Contact me at to discuss!

xo, emily


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