It’s no secret that Manhattan living usually means small space living. When room is sparse and comes at a high premium, city dwellers have to get creative in making every inch count- and no couple does it better than Manhattanites, Sam and Stefanie Wessner. In honor of our small spaces month here at Rue, we’re revisiting their pared down East Village living room to get inspired!

Sam, owner of El Rey Coffee Bar and Stefanie, recent grad of Harvard Graduate School of Design, may have a small apartment, but it’s chock-full of conversation starters. Take, for instance, the post-WWII watchmaker’s workbench, rare for its metal framework; the striking Danish coffee set, salvaged from an antiques store in Nashville; and the shoulder-mounted fox—impossible to miss—orange-eyed, face fixed in a permanent snarl. When space is limited, it’s important to create interest and wow-factor in other ways.

“It’s like a puzzle: how can we fit everything into this space?” says Stefanie. “We wanted something that felt simple and clean, so we really had to pare down to our favorite pieces. We had to get creative.” It’s easy for a small space to feel cluttered so we advise keeping only what you believe to be absolutely beautiful or absolutely necessary in your home as a small space rule of thumb.

To keep the space feeling fresh, the couple often take to rotating furniture and decor to make it feel new. We also recommend finding pieces that work double-duty. For instance, find a sturdy side table that doubles as a bar cart for entertaining.

But most important of all, regardless of your home’s space limitations or complexities, a good attitude is key to feeling content:  “We both feel good in the space,” says Sam. Adds Stefanie, “We also really like our neighborhood. At this time in our lives, it feels like the right place to be. We have everything we need.”

To see the rest of the Sam and Stefanie’s home tour, click here!