I moved into a 256-square-foot apartment in downtown Detroit. Here’s how I make my small space work.


Bed with white and brown sheets, baby Yoda stuffed animal, and windowsill bench with view of Detroit and kitchen counter with microwave, wooden drawers, and multi-colored backsplash

I found ways to save space and make my microstudio look more homey after a year of living here.Anna Robb

  • I’ve lived in a 256-square-feet microstudio for a year and love my more affordable, small space.

  • I only brought items that I couldn’t live without on a daily basis when I moved into my apartment.

  • To make my space feel like a home, I added personal touches like my plants, crystals, and artwork.

When I fell in love with Detroit and accepted a job in the city, I was shocked by housing prices. However, when I saw the more budget-friendly, fully-furnished microstudios just a five-minute walk from my office, I was sold.

Since then, I’ve been living in a 256-square-feet microstudio apartment for about a year. Here’s how I make my space work:

I used the Marie Kondo method on everything I owned

Bed with brown and white sheets and windowsill with view of Detroit apartment buildings

I made sure to bring items I couldn’t live without when I moved into my microstudio.Anna Robb

The first thing I did after signing my lease was go full-on Marie Kondo by looking at everything I owned to decide if it really served a purpose in my life.

After doing that, I had multiple bags of clothes and items that I was ready to say goodbye to.

I left anything sentimental that I wanted to keep but didn’t need on a daily basis in a closet at my parents’ house.

I find that having a clean, clutter-free space makes my small apartment feel much larger than it actually is.

I make sure to utilize every possible storage space

Gray windowsill seating area in a room with a bed with white and brown sheets and a wall with wooden paneling

Gray windowsill seating area in a room with a bed with white and brown sheets and a wall with wooden paneling

My bed has three drawers underneath for extra storage space.Anna Robb

I was fortunate to move into a fully furnished space with a useful design and furniture.

I have a full-size bed with three large drawers under it — which eliminate my need for a dresser — and a bench that spans across my window with additional storage beneath it.

Windowsill with candle and faux-fur pillow and apartment buildings visible through window

My microstudio came with a bench that has storage space underneath.Anna Robb

I also use the bench as a “couch” to relax, and the storage under it for items like my yoga mat and camera equipment.

Once I moved in, I created a functional kitchen

Kitchen counter and TV screen in front of windowsill and window

Kitchen counter and TV screen in front of windowsill and window

I like to keep my countertops clear.Anna Robb

Having a home-cooked meal is something that I really enjoy but that can be hard to do with a two-top stove burner, no oven, and no dining-room table.

Though I don’t find myself needing to use it often, I bought a small toaster oven that fits in a cabinet that works perfectly.

I also looked into air fryers, but they were too large to store and I wanted to save space on my countertops.

Silver refrigerator and white cabinets in front of kitchen counter and wood floor

I decided to use the windowsill bench as a place to eat.Anna Robb

Though my unit came with a small table and chair, I found that they were constantly getting in the way, so I decided to store them at my parents’ house and use my windowsill bench and countertop as a place to sit and eat or work.

There are times when I wish I had an actual chair to sit and eat but for the most part, it doesn’t bother me.

I added decorations here and there to make my space my own

Corner of room with figurine, speaker, and portrait of Kanye West

Corner of room with figurine, speaker, and portrait of Kanye West

I added small decorations in the kitchen area.Anna Robb

Making my space feel homey was one of the most important things since I didn’t want it to be reminiscent of a hotel or dorm room like it’s commonly compared to.

Though there weren’t a lot of opportunities to add personal touches because my apartment came pre-furnished, I brightened up the space with a lot of plants and greenery.

Windowsill with plant and crystals and a gray apartment building through window

Plants and crystals make my microstudio feel more like a home.Anna Robb

I also focused on small touches like pictures, a full-length mirror, a couple of crystals, and an incense burner to sit on my windowsill.

It’s been just over a year since I’ve moved into this apartment and I can truthfully say that I have no regrets. I would recommend living in a space like this to anyone who is looking for affordable options, new to living alone, or just moved to a city and wants to give it a try.

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