An interior designer from the suburbs of New York City, Camila Pavone works with all manner of Manhattan- and Brooklyn-based clients. Renting is the dominant lifestyle in the Big Apple—meaning that square footage is at the mercy of the best location and most affordable rent. Camila’s mission? Helping clients find clever ways to push the limits of their homes and their creativity.
Camila herself doesn’t own an apartment, so she wholeheartedly relates to the design limits that a lease entails. She’s compiled a few go-tricks for simplifying and streamlining the transformation of a room. Today, Camila shows us some swoon-worthy before-and-after shots of a basement bedroom, plus her tips for making the most of a rental. Prepare to be inspired—regardless of your living situation!
“The project centered on a tiny bedroom on the Upper West Side, just blocks away from a park, shops and restaurants. The location was ideal, but it was a basement bedroom without a single window. Here is the state of the room when my client went to look at the apartment.”
“The space experienced a complete transformation, thanks to the introduction of sophisticated furniture and a bold new color palette. Read on for specific tips!
Don’t be afraid of color. As I mentioned, the room was in a basement without windows, and I was afraid it was going to be a little too dark and sad if we didn’t go bold. The cheery pops of citron are just perfect in this space.”
“Utilize what you may have originally deemed ‘lost space.’ The walkway from the wall to the bed was tight, but my client needed somewhere to put her folded clothes and jewelry. Instead of purchasing a dresser, which would take up too much visual and physical weight in such a small space, I sourced this slim three-drawer chest from Kirkland’s. It’s only 14 inches deep!”
“No windows? No problem! Create a similar look with a mirror. I was lucky enough to find mirrors in window frames. I purchased two to fill the space and reflect light throughout it. White curtain panels with an orange border frame the faux window.”
“The finials are my favorite part of this area. Their original black-bronze finish was so ‘blah,’ but some turquoise paint really helped make them look special. If you ask me, design is all about the details—and I simply adore this one.”
“I utilized the empty space at the foot of the bed, providing additional storage with a tufted storage bench that also can be used as seating.”
“Make a statement with your bed! Your bed is the focal point, so put some thought into it! The easiest way to make an impact is to add a headboard. I love these budget-friendly DIY headboards from Ready to Cover. Once your headboard has shipped to your home, all you need is about 2 ½ yards of fabric and some foam (or an egg crate foam pad) with which to wrap it. The best part about Ready to Cover is that it makes custom pieces. I simply sketched out my design and sent in measurements, and a stunning upholstered headboard arrived!”
“The second step toward making a statement with your bed: dressing it! Multifunctional bedding is key. This reversible duvet is ideal (two looks for the price and effort of one!). Instead of a large pile of decorative accent pillows, I decided to add color with these Kate Spade shams. Just one patterned abstract pillow pulled everything together.”
“Disguise the imperfections. Since this space is a rental, we couldn’t make any permanent changes to the walls, flooring or doors. I hid the ugly features, however, by covering up the tile floors with two area rugs, and dressing up the doors with striped wallpaper! HomeGoods always has the best wallpaper options—I picked up two rolls for just $6!”
“We turned an empty nook (the area beneath the staircase, actually!) into a small office-slash-vanity space with a petite console table, vintage bamboo mirror and accent chair.”
“Go bold with your artwork choices when dressing up white walls. Big artwork tends to scare clients because it can be a significant space—and cost—commitment. But if you look in the right places, you can find budget-friendly photography, abstract art and everything in between. I purchased the aerial beach photo from a stock photography site, had it printed and got it framed in lucite—all for around $100 total! You can read the DIY tutorial here.
I hope these tips help you tackle your own apartment—petite or not! And remember: If your budget allows it, professional design help can go a long way. A designer will help you maximize space, work within a budget and prevent design mistakes to ensure that everything turns out right the first time!”