Without sacrificing an inch of style—or overstretching her
wallet—a San Francisco designer makes living small timeless.
Designer Kelly Keiser is the first to admit that living—and working—in 564 square feet of space doesn't leave a lot of room for frivolous fluff. So she got right down to business when she decorated her San Francisco home, bringing in furnishings that know how to multitask. With a combination of functional furniture and glam surface updates, she created a space that works as hard as she does.
Kelly needed lots of function from her furniture, but she wanted it to have style, too. Her first task? Changing out the hardware to make pieces look high-end. She outfitted this white cabinet with Home Depot pulls that she painted gold. This piece looks chic on the outside but works hard on the inside with roll-out shelves and deep drawers.
Kelly wanted to refresh her chenille sofa without spending a lot of money to reupholster it. She chose a swatch of wool plaid fabric and wrapped the two worn-out seat cushions to create a bench seat. A tray on the ottoman provides a surface for flowers and drinks, but can be moved aside for space to put feet up.
Kelly layered curtains over blinds to enhance her light and privacy options. Her DIY panels are made from $5-a-yard duck cloth. Nine lamps throughout the apartment, including this bulbous gray table lamp, give additional control over lighting. Shades of warm gray unite the spaces.
A small but shapely table with a shelf serves as a drop zone inside the front door. The low shelf is a perfect place to collect mail, while the top of the table hosts keys and sunglasses so Kelly can grab and go. Low-hung artwork and a lamp finish the entry vignette.
Kelly gave an inexpensive white IKEA dresser an instant facelift by gluing overlays on the drawers. She also added brass corner brackets she found on Etsy. Glass-cloth wallpaper is taped to the insides of the lower glass cabinet doors for hidden storage.
There's no getting around the fact that things are tight in Kelly's bedroom, so rather than fight the dimensions, she embraced a sense of coziness by saturating the walls in charcoal gray paint. Brass sconces, a metallic gold side table, and shimmery golden accent pillows provide bright contrast. A simple abstract piece of art adds style and interest to the walls without overwhelming the animal-print elements of the bedding.
Because she sacrificed her only closet to gain a bedroom, Kelly needed a place to keep her hanging clothes and shoes. She gave up a few square feet in her breakfast nook for a pair of IKEA wardrobes, an inexpensive alternative to a custom closet, that she upgraded with new hardware and decorative overlays.
Kelly opted for wardrobes with drawers because she relies on them for easy access. Organization is key in a small space where clutter can gather quickly, so drawer dividers and trays give smaller items a place to land. The same drawer pulls Kelly used in the living room make an appearance in the bedroom to tie together the apartment decor.
Small spaces need furniture that can do double duty, so Kelly found a narrow drop-leaf table that can open wide for sit-down meals or buffets, move into her living room as a work surface, or tuck into the corner of her breakfast nook to serve as a bar. Metallic accessories and drinkware add a streamlined touch. The navy shade on the lamp echoes the trim around the window's Roman shade.