Intentionally Small: Interview with Nicole Alvarez

Hello Small Space Dwellers! Hope your week has been full of inspiration and creative living. I wanted to introduce you to a fellow dweller of the small and compact; Nicole Alvarez of Intentionally Small. I met Nicole a few months back in events that almost seemed destined, as we both emailed the other to introduce ourselves at the same time. I was intrigued by her blog, Intentionally Small, and how she laid out small spaces according to their square footage. We were both advocates of small space living, and it shows in our blogs, but Nicole's Intentionally Small had an air of the technical. Probably due to the floor plans she puts together for each space that she features.

When we finally met, we shared stories of our own small space experience and what brought us there. Nicole is an awesome individual and a strong advocate of living well in small spaces. Read along to hear her story and what she has to say about living large in her 300 sq. ft. studio apartment.

  Chatting with Nicole Alvarez of Intentionally Small

How long have you been a Small Space Dweller?

I have lived in my 300-sqft studio apartment for 1½ years, but I have been a small space dweller for much longer. Having always shared a residence with a roommate in college dorms and while studying abroad, this is the first apartment I could consider my own.

Tell us about your small space journey. Why do you like living in small spaces? 

My small space journey began when I designed a backyard apartment for an architecture school project. This was the first time that I thought critically about how a space can influence a person’s way of living, and vice versa, how a person’s lifestyle can define the space. I became intrigued with how a small space can be crafted so wonderfully around a person.

It wasn’t until I lived in my own small space, that I learned first-hand how a space can influence a person’s life. Everything about my studio apartment is so intentional, from the built-ins for added storage, to my furniture selections; everything just fits my space and me perfectly. Living in a smaller space encouraged me to live more simply and consciously. I began to walk/bike more, compost my food waste, eat healthier, and spend more time with my loved ones. I am all around happier than ever before. When you love your space, it shines through all aspects of your life.

Now, through my blog, Intentionally Small, I explore small spaces and simple living. I study my apartment, and document other people’s small spaces. It’s really my way of exploring this passion further, while sharing ideas on small living.

What are your key tips when designing a small space?

The best part of my space is the amount of natural light that pours in through the large windows. I love it. So maximizing light will make any small space feel wonderful.
Take your time when selecting furniture, and choose wisely. A small space can be overwhelming if the furniture is too large, too many pieces, or too busy in patterns. Smaller, intentional pieces help the space feel more spacious and cohesive.

Then it’s in the details – plants on a windowsill, art on the walls, and ambient lighting (I love white Christmas lights year-round). That’s when you make it feel like home.

What advice can you offer other Small Space Dwellers for living well in small spaces?

De-clutter your life. This includes purging unwanted and superfluous items that take up physical space, but also mental clarity. Consider ways to organize your schedule. Explore what makes you happy, and what you really want out of life. Living well in a small space goes beyond the physical world.


  1. I just left a comment but I'm not sure it's gone through - fingers crossed. Suffice it to say, I live in a space the size of Nicole's and although it wasn't really intentional, I've come to love it a lot :)

  2. Looks like a good interview.
    Thanks for following me. I am now your new follower on twitter and facebook.


  3. great use of space. and the place still looks bright and airy!

  4. coool space and cool interview

  5. Wow! Very nicely done even with such compact space =) I'm starting to like this smaller space deco.

  6. Nice to meet you too Nike! "Handshake" (love this) :-))
    I don't think I'm good in home decor so your blog could definitely help me learn some more!
    Would you like to follow each other?
    Love from freezing Toronto,

  7. Love the table and chairs! They're perfect for this space!

  8. Lovely place!


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