Living in NYC comes with its own challenges. First, you have to find an apartment and then turn it into a home you love. The design pros at Homepolish, an NYC-based home and office interior design company that provides design services by the hour, show us how they made over their own NYC apartments. The best part? You can book a free consultation with a Homepolish designer to create your own dream space, too.

unknown-2Designer: Emily Gershen (with her boyfriend, Dion)
Moved from: Crown Heights, Brooklyn
Moved to: East New York, Brooklyn

Space Challenge: The overall space challenge for the bedroom was melding two peoples’ distinct styles into one cohesive, functional and relaxing space.

Apartment Search Journey: “I was hoping to leave my less-than-stellar landlord in Crown Heights (read: slumlord) and my cousin stopped by to help me with some basic repairs.  He casually mentioned that they just had a big one-bedroom open up in their building in East New York.  Big? One bedroom? Four minutes from the train? Next to the park? I jumped at the chance!”

Emily’s Bedroom BEFORE:


Emily’s Apartment AFTER:


Upon moving into her new home, Emily was immediately energized by the room’s potential and size (15 feet by 12 feet). “The light from the windows, the ceilings and just the sheer amount of space were enough to make me sign the lease right there,” she says. First order of business? Updating the room’s lighting. “There is really nothing like the horrible, bland spectrum of rental light options.” The bedroom’s “boob” light made this apartment rental no exception. A solution, however, was not hard to come by; a new chandelier from Lamps Plus, $100 and one hour for installation and the room was not only brighter, but “elevated.”


As an interior designer and creative consultant, Emily’s been tackling bedroom makeover projects since childhood. “I grew up repainting my bedroom every few months so paint does not really scare me,” she says. After identifying Benjamin Moore’s “Mallard Green” as the perfect shade for her new room, she set to work painting the space herself. Using building-grade commercial white paint for the top of the walls and ceiling highlighted the room’s architectural details and “ensured the room felt spacious, despite the dark wall color.” To achieve an even and clean paint job, she cautions not to rush or forget the blue tape! “It will always take you more time to tape than it will to paint, but do not get discouraged!” She emphasizes, “Your space will look infinitely better if you take the time to tape off all trim.”


Is there really such a thing as too much space and light in NYC? According to Emily, there is! For days when she prefers to sleep in past 6 a.m., an investment was made in buying custom, cream-colored black-out shades from Loom Decor. “Not only am I able to sleep later, but they also keep my apartment so much warmer in spite of my older, drafty windows.” By placing the curtain rods well above the window, Emily made the room feel taller and more spacious. “For most windows, an easy rule of thumb is about half way between the ceiling and the top of the window, but be careful not to place the rod too high, or the room could look a bit off,” she adds.


Finally, Emily advises new apartment dwellers to play the long game when designing their spaces. “When I arrived in this apartment, it was woefully under-filled.  But rather than just throw in whatever I could fit, I wanted to be smart about each addition to the space.” Rather than rush out to purchase thoughtless, space-fillers, she waited months before making any large purchases. So, take your time and don’t rush — “It is SO important to live in a space and see how you use it,” Emily shares.


Visit Homepolish to view more photos of Emily’s bedroom.
Photos by Julia Robbs for Homepolish
Design by Emily Gershen