How to live in 90 square feet. 4 easy steps.
DIY & Apartment Hacks

4 Ways Mary Helen Rowell Lives Comfortably In 90 Square Feet

4 Ways Mary Helen Rowell Lives Comfortably In 90 Square Feet Expand options

Living in 90 square feet sounds like a nightmare. Where do you put your bed? Can you even fit a bed? How do you accommodate guests? Or refrain from pulling your hair out?

So many questions, so many answers. Luckily, Mary Helen Rowell revealed her secrets to Curbed NY on how she lives comfortably in 90 square feet (one of which we’re thrilled to see is MakeSpace).

We love her ingenuity, so we’re sharing some of her tips from Curbed NY’s article with you below. You know, in case you too could use some extra breathing room.

1. Get rid of items that don’t spark joy

Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, which recommends you only keep the items that spark joy, could be considered Mary Helen’s bible. “I try to do one in, one out,” says Mary Helen. Every time she buys something, she donates or gives away some other item that could spark joy for someone else.

the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

2. Get creative with furniture

Mary Helen’s room is only 78 inches wide, which is smaller than a standard bed frame. So she enlisted the help of a friend who helped her build a custom bed frame with storage underneath.

Exposed Brickwalls add texture to this microapartment
The Bed in a 90 square foot Manhattan Apartment

3. Go vertical

Walls are your buddy. Rely on them to help you squeeze the most comfort out of a tiny apartment. Mary Helen and her friend built shelves around her window and on one of her walls to house only her favorite books, flower vase, and other small items. The walls also serve as a rest stop for her TV, photo frames, and mirrors (which are a neat trick for opening up a tiny space).

South-facing windows supply ample daylight
Micro-apartment Pro Tip: Cover your radiator with a bookshelf
Use the elevation of your walls to make your micro-apartment feel bigger.
Mirrors are your small room’s friend

When Mary Helen’s not preparing meals or entertaining guests inside her apartment, her cooking tools, bistro chairs, and other lightweight items hang out on the wall to save precious counter and floor space.

Store your kitchen on your wall
Hanging pots and pants

4. Extend your closet

Mary Helen hasn’t had a closet in four years. “Rowell also uses MakeSpace storage to rotate clothes. It’s just $25 per month, and they bring your boxes to and from your door. Bins above the kitchenette’s cabinets provide additional storage,” wrote Curbed NY Senior Editor, Jessica Daily.

And instead of the usual sideways bar you see in closets, outward facing pipes host Mary Helen’s clothes to save a few inches of space.

Extend your closet to infinity.
When hanging racks aren’t enough, there’s always MakeSpace

To learn more tips from Mary Helen on living comfortably, but most importantly, staying sane, in a tiny apartment, hop over to Curbed NY for the full article.

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