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With a few clever tricks, domino market editor Tori Mellott transformed her tiny apartment into a cozy, efficient jewel box. Here are her secrets for going bold and beautiful—and making smart use of (hardly any) space.

Above the desk, an arrangement of flea-market art serves as a subdued counterpoint to the opposing paisley wall; cameos pop up all over the apartment.

A favorite pattern dominates the small apartment

First, the good news: lots of long, unbroken wall space and luxurious 16′ ceilings. The bad news: lack of square footage, a weird layout and only one window. But Tori was inspired to extremes: “In a tiny space, you either go all out or keep it spare,” she says. She couldn’t afford to paper the whole place, so she opted to cover one wall in her favorite wallpaper of all time, a reissued ’60s paisley. Patterned pillows complement the hue of the daybed (bought at a charity auction), anchoring the seating section with a brazen but harmonious palette.

Everything has its place

Tori turned a sleeping loft above the small kitchen into a walk-in storage room. Having a large area for clothes and random items keeps the “downstairs” less cluttered. She also removed the doors on a small closet and transformed it into a vibrant nook (at right) with a second intense wallpaper (it works because you don’t see both prints at once). An almost-invisible Lucite console helps tame a collection of magazines. Although her job is to know the full landscape of the world of home furnishings, Tori is very focused about what she buys for her own place. “I shop the pages of the magazine,” she says. “But if there’s something I’ve been wanting for years, then I splurge.” Case in point: the white-framed mirror at right.

Tori embodies the principle that graphic black and white can complement any color.

Strategic furniture creates distinct “rooms”

A large bookcase delineates a separate sleeping area, right by the window, and doubles as a night table (the alarm clock is behind a row of books). Because the shelf is backless, natural light flows into the rest of the studio. Tori’s sleek desk is the centerpiece of her office and an example of what she calls “the white T-shirt” principle: something you don’t need to spend a lot of money on.