For the Proust dissertation, the two most important functions in this space are sleeping and working. Thus, a good bed and desk are crucial; a centrally placed storage unit divides the two. I chose two chairs that are colorful and whimsical to contrast with the heavier, more serious dark wood furniture. Since there are so many books, I stacked a few on the floor and placed a thick piece of glass on top to act as a bedside table. Most of the pieces are sourced from catalogs or Web sites to accommodate a busy person's life.

  • 33 Sixty Desk, laminate top, aluminum legs, $495, and Red Pocket Chair, polycarbonate seat, $99.95
    Design Within Reach, 142 Wooster, dwr.com. Shipping for both, $120.45

  • Yellow Toy armchair, polypropylene, Oriac Design, oriacdesign.com, $128.95 w/s

  • Cubist felt rug, cotton chenille, urbanoutfitters.com, $59.99

  • Two linen panel curtains, West Elm, westelm.com, $52 w/s

  • Two Umbria silver-ball drapery rod sets, Target, $39.98

  • Seven Samurai poster, 123posters.com, $10.99

  • Two rolling shelves, dark-stained wood, West Elm, $727.80 w/s

  • Full-size wood platform bed, West Elm, $593.90 w/s

  • Full-size six-inch futon mattress, Economy Foam & Futon, 173 East Houston Street, $85 with delivery

  • Cotton bedspread with crochet inset, Urban Outfitters, $48

  • Two pillows, Target, $15.98

  • One Egyptian cotton full T-sheet set, Bed Bath & Beyond, $39.99

  • Glass top, Kauder Glass & Mirror, 45 East 20th Street, $71

  • Metal-mesh stick table lamp, Target, $24.99

  • Maltese Falcon poster, allposters.com, $13.99

  • Total: $2,627.96*

    * Last-minute hidden extra bulk shipping costs helped push this budget over by $127.96.

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