Apartment hunting in NYC meant that I looked at thousands of real estate listings to rent even before I went to see any, just to assess what was in my price range, what I could get as far as layout/square footage and what characteristics in an apartment turned me off before I even went to see it. Of course, in our crazy rental market, you usually have to submit an application the same day if you like a place so you have to be really, really sure you know what you want when you go see it. I fell in love with our apartment at first sight, primarily because the living/dining room was such a great size (with nice easterly light) and has an open kitchen that is slightly tucked away from the main living area. Naturally, when it came to decorating, the large living area was the first place I started scheming about.
Unlike so many of the ‘before’ photos floating around the interwebs, this blank slate looks impeccable– it almost seems like it’s daring you to mess it up. And it also screams, “Wouldn’t I be a gorgeous, minimalist Scandinavian home?”
Unfortunately, that’s not at ALL my style, as lovely as it looks in a photograph. I am definitely eclectic, I love color and my preferences for furnishings are predominantly classical or art deco rather than modern. So I desperately needed some inspiration imagery to get any idea what I was going for.
I love the color scheme and layers of this extremely traditional image from Architectural Digest– but it needed to be much more contemporary and casual to fit in our open plan apartment with 8-ft ceilings.
This room is also extremely traditional in feel (and I love the muted terracotta-colored accents) but what I took away from this image was the strong impact of a mural in creating atmosphere, especially on a long wall with relatively few features on it.
This Apartment Therapy apartment is much more approachable and doable in the space we actually have (not whatever imaginary chateaus the previous photos were meant for). It also feels relaxed and modern while also looking put together.
The pink and green and blue and pattern on pattern are magical here. I also like how the Beni Ourain rug and the cane backed chairs are a nod to boho in a traditional way.
I love dining chairs upholstered in navy and white fabric. It’s contemporary but warm and has a good formal/casual balance, which is what I want for this ‘everything’ space I’m working with.
Yup, another mural + green velvet sofa + Beni Ourain rug. This image is so trendy right now, but it’s also a combination of the trends I like the most.
The atmosphere of this room owes everything to the sophisticated color pairing and I want to curl up in here with a good book.
This is definitely open plan inspiration and I’m jealous of all those fantastic tiles. I love the way benches/stools look for dining tables but I hate sitting on them. I feel like this room is a little more fun, which I wanted some of as well!
This is pretty and cozy and exactly the opposite of the feel in the apartment currently.
These are the ‘befores’ from when the previous owner decorated/staged it that I found on StreetEasy:
What do you think of the inspiration images? Do you have a favorite?