Share Your Space: Inside a $420 Sydney studio apartment stuffed full of clever IKEA furniture.

Mamamia's Share Your Space series asks everyday women to share all the juicy, specific details about their home. How much do you pay in rent? Who do you live with? Where did you get your furniture? It's pulling back the curtain on real estate in Australia, and allowing us to really see how the people around us live. This week, a 31-year-old living in Balmain, Sydney, shows us around her home.

Age: 31

Job: Strategy Manager 

Rent: $420 per week - I got this down significantly from its original advertised price. It had been on the market for almost two months so I think they were relieved that someone had applied for it finally. 

Location: Balmain in Sydney’s Inner West.

Lifestyle: Balmain is a really community-centric suburb, it’s on a peninsula so it’s mostly locals around here.  It’s a great suburb if you like a little bit of a vibe - there’s lots of cafes, restaurants, shops etc and I believe there’s about 20 pubs in the area (although I’m not sure how many of them are still in business unfortunately). My place is in an ideal spot, it’s about a seven-minute walk from Darling Street and close enough to the “exit” so I can get into the CBD in just a few minutes. There’s also a dog park right across the street. I don’t have a dog but I love seeing them all when I go for a walk. Pretty much everyone in Balmain owns a dog. 

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Video via Mamamia.


So, take us inside:

I live in a studio apartment, on my own. Although small, it’s perfect for one person. I could have gotten a bigger place for the price of the rent but when I was looking, this was the first place I felt safe in. Previous to this I was living with my best friend, so this is the first time on my own. The place was brand new when I moved in, so I am the first person to live here. 


When you walk in, you enter via the kitchen, it’s pretty nice and quite generous given the fact it’s a studio.  The fridge and dishwasher are built into the cabinetry which is fancy - and also saved me having to buy a fridge when I moved in.


Image: Supplied.  There’s heaps of cupboard space which is kind of pointless in my case because I don't buy a whole lot of food. I do have a lot of glasses though….? 

Image: Supplied. 


So I don’t exactly have a bedroom, I just have this space next to these giant windows where the sun comes through in the morning. The linen duvet is from Cultiver and the sheets are from Bed Threads. I love sleeping in linen, the more you wash it, the softer it gets. Also, it looks good even when it’s wrinkly. The two European cushion covers I got from Kim Soo in Bali - they have the most gorgeous homewares (I can’t wait to go back!) and the little one is just from Kmart. The throw on the end is from Bed, Bath and Table. It’s good to have a throw on your bed for naps - then you don’t have to actually get into your bed and mess it up. 

I like to keep the colours in the 'bedroom area' quite neutral and avoid any fussy prints or too many bold colours to give it a calm/relaxing vibe. For me, this was also particularly important because of the open studio space, as I wanted to want to differentiate the areas but still have them coherent.

I specifically chose not to have a bed head and instead use the cushions and artwork to make it more interesting - it also makes it more versatile. 

With the artwork, I wanted them to represent a sense of intimacy (important in the bedroom haha). The one on the left is called 'First Kiss' and the other one is called 'Closer', they are by an artist called Quibe. The prints are from Society 6 and there is seriously something for everyone on there and the best bit is, you can order them already framed. Also very affordable.

There’s a stack of books on my bedside table that I hope to finish sooner rather than later. I love reading but don’t do enough of it. The lamp is from Beacon.

Image: Supplied. 


Next to my bed I have my work space, which only came about when we all started from WFH. I ended up buying the cheapest desk I could find thinking it was only going to be for a few weeks - I think it was about $39 from IKEA - it’s technically a dining table. The chair I was lucky enough to be able to borrow from work and thank goodness because originally I just had a stool. 


Image: Supplied. 

Lounge area:

The lounge area is probably my favourite space in the house - it’s also the main space. I had to store/get rid of a lot of pieces when I moved here because of the lack of space, so I don’t actually have a coffee table anymore. Instead, I use the nesting tables (from Kmart) that are on the side of the sofa and just pull them across when I need to.

Image: Supplied. 

The rug and sofa are my faves. The rug I pinched from my mum, which was lucky for me because have you seen how expensive rugs are?! I love the colour it adds to the room.  The sofa is from MCM House, it’s my first and only investment piece so far. It’s super comfy and has a deep seat, so perfect to curl up on and watch TV. The covers come off as well, which is great for two reasons. The first, the obvious, you can easily wash them.  The second, you can switch up the colour when/ if you want. 

Behind the sofa is my wardrobe and the laundry, so the sofa kind of floats so there’s space behind.


Image: Supplied. 

A lot of the stuff I have, I bought as 'temporary' pieces, most are quite inexpensive and from places like IKEA, Kmart and Target. I haven’t really gotten around to replacing them because I'm very indecisive / have commitment issues when it comes to investment pieces.  The only thing I am really “investing” in at the moment are nice candles by Diptyque and Byredo (both stocked at Mecca).

On the shelf (again, IKEA, $99), I’ve got mostly coffee table books (photography, fashion, poetry and food) and a few sentimental items. The dried flower arrangement I bought from an interior styling company called The Make Haus, it was $150. I love having flowers in the house but replacing them every week is unrealistic/not another expense I need. 

Image: Supplied. 

Above the TV I have a custom neon sign that says ‘breathe’, I got it from some random online place overseas, it was a few hundred bucks. The white cabinet is from - you guessed it… IKEA ($199).  I added the leather tassel key rings that I got from Country Road just to zhuzh (???) it up a little. The floor lamp is from Freedom quite a few years back and the pink foot stool is from Target, I think it was about $50. 

Image: Supplied. 


When I first moved in, I thought the bathroom was stupidly big and that it would have been better to be smaller to give more space in the living area however, I actually really love it now. I get ready in there, so it’s like a dressing room I suppose. 

Image: Supplied. 

Also - look at the giant shower I have just for me. 

Image: Supplied. 

I have some fun things by the sink. The soap is from the Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania - it’s always a bit of a laugh when guests come over (do not rub - display only). The hand I got from an art store and it’s good to hang jewellery on before you jump into the shower.

Image: Supplied. 

Outdoor space:

Having a balcony/outdoor space is essential for me, even if it's small. I’m embarrassed to say this again but the table setting is from IKEA (lol).  Not sure what’s going on with the cactus - why is it growing that way?

Image: Supplied.  

Final thoughts: 

I really love spending time at home so being in a space that feels and looks good is really important to me. I don’t really know how I’d describe my interior style - I don’t think it really fits into one thing. For me, what really makes a space feel like home is the items that represent who I am and my personality. Things such as books, art, items from travels or family heirlooms. It’s those things that make the IKEA bookshelf that everyone has, a little more unique and interesting.

There are a few things I’d like to replace but overall, I love my little place and the area I live in. I do miss having a bigger space and having things such as a bedroom and an area to entertain but it's a great little apartment for now. 

You can catch up on our previous Share Your Space stories here:

Feature Image: Supplied.