Apartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYC

NEW YORK—If there’s anything New York City is quintessential for, it’s the particularly small apartments that may be expensive but, to most New Yorkers, are oh, so worth it thanks to all the Big Apple has to offer. While most New Yorkers understand living small, Apartment Therapy’s Small/Cool NYC pop-up activation proves how anyone can maximize a space by thinking outside of cramped walls.

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from now through Oct. 29, home decor aficionados are welcome to explore 18 small spaces curated by 18 expert interior designers at Brooklyn’s Industry City. Each designer was tasked with decking out a 120-square-foot (or less) space with a 2024 home decor trend in mind, such as “Hipstoric Nowstalgia,” which plays on old-meets-new designs; “The Dorm Transformed” that draws on touches made popular by TikTok; and “All About Artistry,” which is all about bringing in personalized touches that make a space uniquely yours.Apartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCThe “Wild Instincts” space is notable for its maximalist design and combination of bold patterns.Photo: Alex Lede

Lauren Murphy, senior vice president of marketing and brand strategy at Apartment Therapy, told BizBash that each theme “translates inspiration from the runway to interior design.”

When guests walk into the space, which is free to do, ”they can wander through fully built-out rooms as well as free-standing installations representing smaller areas of the home—’micro moments,’ as we call them internally—like a fireplace and a home office setup,” Murphy explained.

She noted that the Apartment Therapy team even kept inflation and volatile supply-and-demand relationships in mind when designing the experience, which offered six more spaces to explore than in years past. “We knew that given the current economy, some of our readers might not be looking to make over an entire room right now. That was the thinking behind the ‘micro moments.’ This year, we wanted to show our guests that you can make a big impact even if you’re just refreshing a small area within your home. It doesn’t have to be a massive space or a big investment,” Murphy said.Apartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCThis 120-square-foot space dubbed “Sunny Style” was evocative of a studio apartment and designed by none other than Drew Barrymore, the actress behind home and kitchenware brand Beautiful by Drew.Photo: Alex Lepe

Also new this year is a focus on “more small space solutions,” Murphy said—a decision that was driven by feedback from 2022’s iteration of Small/Cool. And because there are 18 spaces (including these “micro moments”) to explore rather than 12, there were tons of additional products to shop.

There are 500 shoppable items, to be exact, Murphy said, which posed “a host of logistical challenges, from products selling out to shipping delays.” As a result, Apartment Therapy’s “special projects team coordinated over 100 product substitutions for items on our designers’ lists that became unavailable in the short time between finalizing room designs and placing orders.”

“We had tons of clever hacks and solutions hidden throughout the rooms [last year],” Murphy said, “but we recognized that we hadn’t highlighted them as effectively as we could have. So this year, we featured signage with our designers’ best small-spaces tips in every space. These tips are also featured within a virtual tour online.” Apartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCThis “DIY Buy Paradise” space combines off-the-shelf items with select upgrades, such as this luxe office chair that’s customizable and retails at Room & Board for $999.Photo: Alex Lepe

For example, the designer behind the “Wild Instincts”-themed space advised renters or homeowners to use leftover peel-and-stick wallpaper to line the inside of a drawer for a sustainable yet stylish way to add a pop of pattern to their space.

Actress Drew Barrymore—who’s also behind home and kitchenware brand Beautiful by Drew—even participated in Small/Cool as a designer this year. She decked out the “Sunny Style” space and offered this tip: To save space, maximize furniture’s potential by investing in double-duty pieces, like air fryer-toaster oven combos or a coffee table that offers storage.

Everything in the space from couches and side tables to wallpapers and wall clocks is shoppable. “Guests can browse each of the spaces and scan QR codes to pull up product lists and shop everything they see,” Murphy said. Apartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCThe “Parisian Pastiche” room features a fun nod to the Mona Lisa with a parody-type print that pictures the famed Leonardo da Vinci painting sucking on a red lollipop.Photo: Alex Lepe

Apartment Therapy is expecting 15,000 guests at Small/Cool ahead of its closing later this month. If you can’t make it, head to the home design site’s Instagram or TikTok page for a “Teeny Tour” of each of the 18 spaces, “as well as tons of insights from designers and behind-the-scenes peeks,” Murphy teased.

The brand also preserved hybrid elements it initially implemented for 2021’s Small/Cool event, namely the virtual tour of the event space that’s available on smallcool.com.

With that, feast your eyes on the small spaces featured at Small/Cool NYC 2023, which boasted steal-worthy inspiration that will surely have spectators thinking about how to think out of the box when decking out their smallest spaces… Apartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCThe calming vibe in this “Off Beat and Beautiful” room could surely be attributed to the use of natural woods, pops of sage, and a low-to-the-ground bed.Photo: Alex LepeApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYC“Hang Time” was a fitting name for this cozy corner—or “micro moment,” as the Apartment Therapy team would say. Here, a designer showed how hanging everything from jackets and hats to cleaning tools can save space.Photo: Alex LepeApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYC“Hipstoric Nowstalgia” played on old-meets-new designs, juxtaposing patterned bedding and frilly light fixtures with a mirrored nightstand and modern bistro table.Photo: Alex LepeApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCThe “Creative Cabinetry” space featured an on-trend checkerboard pattern in orange and white, which complemented the pastel pink and blue of the cabinetry and pops of green seen in the funky chairs and kitchen backsplash.Photo: Alex LepeApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCThe “House of Hacks” room played into the home trend of cleverly repurposing products, hence the tree stump that doubles as a stool and the wall-mounted desk that offers storage and folds up to save space.Photo: Alex LepeApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCWith bright colors and a bold mix of textures and patterns, it’s no wonder this is the “All About Artistry” room. Even the pillow is a nod to pop artist Andy Warhol. The limited-edition pillow cover is available at Burke Decor for $190.Photo: Alex LepeApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYC“Restful Retreat” showed how to dress up a cozy bedroom. To save space, this room boasted wall brackets in place of bulky nightstands.Photo: Restful RetreatApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCPieces like the female dressing mannequin put the “soul” in this “Soulful Space.”Photo: Alex LepeApartment Therapy’s 2023 Event in NYCCalled the “Grand Entrance,” this space was just that. Gold accents and ceramic busts as side tables elevated the space, while brass mushroom sconces added a touch of whimsy.Photo: Alex Lepe


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