Bruna Mello lives in a two-bedroom, 530-square-foot apartment in London with her spouse and a roommate.
Even though her small apartment also houses a dog and 100 plants, Mello hasn't held back on decor.
And her home doesn't look cluttered, thanks to clever storage hacks and the use of vertical space.
Bruna Mello lives in a 530-square-foot apartment in South London with her spouse, a friend, and a dog.
"In London, if you're not rich, you're going to live in a small space," Mello said.
She added that living small teaches you to make the most of what you have.
"I always saw big, amazing houses on social media and in magazines that are perfectly decorated, and I knew that it was a very faraway reality for me," she said.
Mello realized she had to find a way to feel good where she is.
"If I can't be happy in a big house, because I don't live in it, I have to be happy in my house, and it turns out that I have a small house," Mello said.
It's a small space for 3 people, but Mello manages to make it work with her maximalist style.
"I believe that colors bring good energy into our lives, and warm colors make the room look cozy," Mello said of her apartment. "So coming home after a long working day makes me feel good."
"I am not a minimalist," she said. "I love collecting things."
"Travel is what inspires me the most," Mello said of her boho style. "I like to buy local items that represent the places and cultures I travel to."
Mello collects plants. About 80 of them live inside, and the other 20 live in her 215-square-foot yard.
"I've always loved plants," she said. "Since the lockdown last March, I started to collect more rare kinds of tropical plants."
She keeps her tropical plants in a climate-controlled greenhouse cabinet.
To keep her apartment from feeling small while maximizing the space, Mello strategically hides her clutter.
Mello strives to make sure that the only things on display are her design and decor choices. She hides her other belongings in storage spaces.
"I bought furniture that can hide things because I don't have a lot of storage in my flat," Mello said.
In the entryway, a cabinet against the wall displays her plants and decor.
It also stores shoes inside.
In the living room, Mello added wall shelves to display more of her collectibles.
"To make the most of a small space, use all the inches you can," Mello said.
To do this, Mello recommended "bringing the eye up" by finding ways to use vertical space. She does this with wall shelving and decor.
Under the couch cushions, there is storage space for Mello's extra duvets, blankets, and pillows.
Down the hall in her bedroom, Mello's bed has pullout drawers that store clothing and linens.
Mello keeps her bedroom just as colorful and lively as the living space. "Playing around with colors gives more life to the room," she said.
"Putting wall shelves and adding plants make a big difference in a room," Mello said.
That's why she painted her kitchen cabinets a bold blue.
In the cabinets, additional shelving allows Mello to use the vertical space.
The bathroom has more hidden storage space, and the laundry basket stores her towels.
Back in the living room, a door opens to the yard.
The yard is less than half the size of the interior, and it has a storage shed.
"The shed is the biggest storage that came with the house," Mello said.
She keeps large items like bikes and suitcases in there.
While she identifies as a maximalist, Mello said that one of the best things about living tiny is how it keeps her grounded.
"Living in a small space makes you think twice about things you want to buy," Mello said. "When there's no space, to only add stuff inside, you have to let go of other items. And it's a nice feeling when you let go."
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