Our Tiny Chicago Apartment: Before and after

Finally! Here it is – our Chicago apartment before and after. I know it’s several months late and I know we don’t live there anymore… but we adored this tiny space and I really wanted to document our first home together.

The 10 foot tall ceilings and expansive front room windows really stole my heart. They made the 600 square foot space feel open and airy.  But don’t be fooled, the space definitely appears larger on Instagram than in real life (as do most Instagram things I’d say) – as Dave’s brother Mike famously said when he first walked in “this place looks bigger in the pictures”.  That it does, but I think we maximized the space pretty well.


Above are photos of the space from when we first looked at the apartment. The previous tenant had already moved out and a temporary friend of the landlord was living there for a couple weeks only. The dark walls definitely made the space feel smaller. I knew I wanted to paint the space white, elongate the walls even more by replacing the blinds with curtains, and use shelves to again, take advantage of our plentiful wall space and scarce floor space. White also was going to be useful for photographing my artwork and studio progress. 



My favorite thing about our updates was how simple and attainable they were. The big (or rather small) changes we made:

1. Scrubbed – I mean elbow grease SCRUBBED the floors and windows. You couldn’t even see out of our kitchen window when we moved in it was so filthy.

2. Painted the walls and the ceiling white. (Intense White by Benjamin Moore to be precise). 

3. Replaced the blinds with curtains.

4. Replaced the closet doors with curtains. 

5. Swapped out my studio light.

6. Added a pendant light in the bedroom and the kitchen to add some warmth and interest.


Overall, we ended up really loving this space (though are pretty happy we have more room here in Wisconsin now)! It reminded me of the lyrics from that country song “love grows best in little houses, with fewer walls to separate, where we eat and sleep so close together we can’t help but communicate, and if we had more walls between us think of all we’d miss. Love grows best in houses just like this.” – Doug Stone




Leather Couch

Velvet Couch in Narwahl 

Coffee Table

Living Room Rug

White Linen Curtains

Hooks in Entryway

Shelving Units, Studio Light, Side Table, Pendant Lights all Betsie Bay Furniture in Frankfort, Michigan. 

Picture Ledges & Entryway Shelf - DIY Projects, tutorial hopefully coming soon!

Other items are mostly sourced from boutiques & antique stores, but feel free to ask any other questions below!

If you want to read more about this space, it was featured on both The Everygirl and Apartment Therapy! Enjoy!



All "After" photos taken by Mae Stier.