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Home visit: ideas to live big in a small space

How do you balance hobbies, relaxation and pets in a compact space? A work-at-home laser cutter and plant obsessive shows us how she turned a small apartment into an urban oasis.

An open-plan living area with a plant display and workspace in front of a window.
An open-plan living area with a plant display and workspace in front of a window.

Make room for what you love

Alessia shares her 750-square-foot apartment with boyfriend Micah, two dogs and 175 plants. As well as running her laser cutting business from home, she’s a plant blogger, and believes that living in a high-rise apartment shouldn’t stop you from flexing your green fingers. “The plants are our biggest achievement. I’m proud of how they’re thriving in this small space,” says Alessia.

I spend most of the time in my home office, which happens to house a lot of my rare tropical plants. It’s a calm, refreshing space to work, daydream and play video games with Micah.


Divide and conquer

The open-plan living area, workspace and kitchen is where the couple and their dogs spend most of their time at home. Even though their home is small, it is clearly zoned with separate functions. “Our colourful rugs create a vibrant backdrop against the natural materials, helping to ground the space,” says Alessia.

Bring your space to life

While the views from Micah and Alessia’s apartment look out over a cityscape, their plant collection brings nature indoors. Clever display ideas, like glass-fronted cabinets, maximise the space from floor to ceiling and create multiple levels for showing off plants while keeping new ones safe as they propagate.

Make the most of wall space

In an apartment short on space, shelves can make a big difference. Use them to turn walls into double-duty storage and display areas that free up floor space and add character to your place. In a narrow bedroom, a shelf makes a space-smart alternative to a bedside table.

Go bold with textiles

The couple have rented their apartment for seven years and have kept its neutral paint scheme. They inject their personality into it with textiles and accessories. “I love balancing my vibrant colour palette with neutrals as a base. A colourful bedspread electrifies the colours in the bedroom,” says Alessia.

Working and living in the same small space is a daily challenge. You have to balance functionality and relaxation. I think we’ve successfully moulded the space into our personal paradise.


We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.

Made by
Interior designer: Martin Bourne
Photographer: Benjamin Edwards
Follow Alessia on Instagram: @apartmentbotanist