The way New Yorkers live is unlike most, and it only follows that they need a special set of things in their home. Homepolish put together the top 10 design needs for every city dweller.
From the reliance on the subway system to city dwellers’ double-booked social calendars or their small space living style, the way New Yorkers live is unlike most. But do they live well? In a city that is always go, go, go, how do you craft a space that enhances your quality of city living? Even if that space is a tiny studio apartment.
Luckily, at Homepolish, we’ve designed thousands of New York apartments. (After all, the Big Apple is the homebase of our headquarters.) Below, we have the 10 things New Yorkers need to live well, taken from our years of designing in this busy city.
1. Multi-Functional Spaces
Ask any New Yorker what their job is, and you’ll get an answer more similar to a list than a simple one-word response. It’s all about the side hustle. Well, just as New Yorkers aren’t one-trick ponies, their spaces need to be multi-faceted as well. Since space comes at a premium, a room often has to serve multiple functions. That may be the dining area that doubles as a workspace or the living room that transforms into a guestroom. Furniture also needs to meet multiple purposes. The ottoman that gives you some extra seating (just check out the living room above) or the coffee table that serves as extra storage. It’s about being practical and inventive.
2. Creative Storage
And mentioning storage, this is another city must-have. No matter how much you Marie Kondo your life, you still need storage. Rarely do New Yorkers have the luxury of multiple closets, and walk-ins are nearly unheardof. Instead, alternative options need to be used. Furnishings such as coffee tables, media consoles, and platform beds can have built-in storage parts. Additionally, decorative boxes and baskets can offer creative ways to hide away clutter.
3. Optimal Floor Plans
Speaking of getting creative, sometimes New Yorkers have to deal with unusual floor plans. Pre-war buildings may be beautiful, but architecturally, they can feel like jigsaw puzzles. Instead of fretting about a less-than-ideal nook, embrace it. Turn a strange corner into a cozy reading nook or that weird-shaped area of your kitchen into canned goods storage. Or hey, hang that indoor hammock you’ve always wanted! (You’re totally an adult, right? And adults make their own decisions!) Don’t be afraid to play around with the layout of your home until you find the right arrangement that works with the architecture of the space as well as your day-to-day needs. Every square foot counts.
4. Area Rugs
When most people think of rugs, it’s simply a matter of color, pattern, and how it feels on your toes. But area rugs can help with that floor plan situation. Having a rug to act as the foundation of a space can help to visually set it apart. For example, in a multi-function living room meets dining area meets kitchen, rugs can set areas apart by function. Added bonus: your downstairs neighbors will love you for quieting your footsteps.
5. A Good Coat of Paint
Paint, like area rugs, is more than just additional color or pattern. Adding a fresh coat of paint into your New York space is a step towards making it more “you.” After all, that standard apartment yellow or clinical white isn’t doing anyone any favors. Just be sure you check in with your landlord before taking up those rollers. Most landlords are pretty chill, as long as you paint it back at the end of your lease.
As much as we love the standard “boob lights,” the right lighting makes a world of difference in an apartment. Like paint, lights can brighten up your space (quite literally, actually). And for those places in the city that don’t get enough natural light (from basement units to ones that face directly into the neighboring building), lights can give the much-needed comfort of simulated sunshine.
7. A Kitchen to Suit Your Needs
We fully recognize that New Yorkers are the kings and queens of Seamless. The trope of the city dweller who uses their oven for sweater storage is still alive and well. That said, everyone needs a place to get sustenance. In New York, we like the idea of the “minimalist kitchen.” Due to the limited space and cook surfaces, decide on which appliances are most important for your day-to-day cooking. Are you a baker? Go for that KitchenAid mixer. More of a order-in person? Maybe all you need is that microwave.
8. A Well-Stocked Bar Cart
And hey. Maybe your kitchen only needs an ice box and a mini-fridge for olives and cherries. No judgment here! It’s always good to have a well-stocked bar cart. We’re not saying to drown out your city stress, but a little libation here and there can take off the edge. Afterall, what’s more New Yorker than drinking a well-balanced Manhattan? Every classy New Yorker should have their favorite cocktail ingredients on hand, just in case company stops by.
9. Ways to Block Out the City
As much as you might love the city you live in, there are times when you need to escape. Your home should be the respite you need it to be, so splurge on that white noise machine, go for some custom blackout shades (to block those bright lights). You can also bring in new pieces of art that remind you of places that make your heart flutter.
In addition to bringing in art, bring in some real live plant life too. Make your concrete jungle a little more jungle and a little less concrete. New Yorkers don’t get enough nature in their lives. When it comes to home spaces, living things are essential for brightening the mood and making them, well, livable.
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