Every Room Is a Different Color in This 480-Square-Foot Brooklyn Apartment

updated Jul 1, 2020

Every Room Is a Different Color in This 480-Square-Foot Brooklyn Apartment

updated Jul 1, 2020
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Name: Lani (rhymes with rainy) Kennefick
Location: Williamsburg — New York, NY
Size: 480 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, renting

Lani, a Brooklyn-based artist, lucked out and scored her apartment four years ago after a friend lived in the space for a decade. In the time she’s occupied the small space, she’s made the apartment totally her own by painting all of the walls—and most of the floors.

Lani’s space is all about color. It’s no mistake the artist‘s “densely pigmented, velvet matte” paintings extend onto the walls of the apartment—the colors from her whale painting inspired the blue walls and red couch in her living room. It makes for a bold, yet surprisingly peaceful, oasis in the middle of Brooklyn.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Colorful Scandinavian (there is such a thing)

Inspiration: I am inspired by color. The paper I paint on, in my art practice, comes in over 300 colors. The box of swatches brings me joy. Surveys say color is 85 percent of a factor in purchases, for me it’s a 100 percent. When I look at one of my swatch books I lament I don’t have more rooms to paint different colors. Every room is always a different color.

Favorite Element: The view from this apartment is expansive; I can see Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens. It is airy and though small, I appreciate that it’s divided into rooms.

Biggest Challenge: Four flights of stairs makes me consider carefully what I bring home.

What Friends Say: About me: “When Lani visits she’ll move your sofa.” About this apartment: “It’s soothing.”

Biggest Embarrassment: Dirty windows—I love clean windows and I would clean them regularly if I could, but the living room window I can’t get to. I find it embarrassing and frustrating that I don’t have a doorbell and I can’t buzz someone in.

Proudest DIY: When I moved in the floors were in bad shape. The kitchen had curling and torn sheet vinyl and the living room floor was masonite (probably carpeted at some point) and was painted dark turquoise. The previous tenant had lots of rugs. I saw that the bedroom, also dark turquoise, was board. So I spent a couple of months pulling up the masonite in the kitchen and living room along with a million nails. Then carting it out one shopping bag at a time. It took a lot of patience and perseverance. Then cleaned and painted it Benjamin Moore Westminster Gold. Luckily the transformation was dramatic and felt like it was worth the trouble.

Biggest Indulgence: I really wanted a red sofa, and the KARLSTAD had a cover—Korndal Red—from years ago. It was hard to find, I got one from Canada, and it was more than the original price.

Best Advice: Color is a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning it’s a vibration and it affects you physically. It can be soothing, or stimulating, cheering, or renewing. Even though I have a lot of experience with color, I still stick pretty close to curated palettes like Farrow and Ball and Martha Stewart Living. I also take note whenever I am in a room painted a color. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has some great colors on the wall. I wish they had a little plaque saying what they are.

Dream Sources: Wyeth, Marimekko, Apartment DK, ABC Carpet



  • Hallway — Benjamin Moore Exotic Fuchsia 2074-50
  • Kitchen — Benjamin Moore Garden Oasis
  • Living room — Benjamin Moore Old Blue Jeans 839
  • Bedroom — Martha Stewart Living Nasturtium (made from an old swatch)
  • Bath — Benjamin Moore Mauve Desert 2113-50
  • Floor — Benjamin Moore Westminster Gold 200
  • I use the My Perfect Color website to explore and experiment with colors.


  • VANADIN pendant lamp — IKEA
  • Peel and stick vinyl flooring
  • I made the wooden peg rail


  • KARLSTAD Sofa and footstool with Korndal Red slipcover — IKEA
  • Yellow throw pillows — Pottery Barn
  • Paul McCobb side table — Craigslist
  • POANG chair — IKEA; found and bought new cushions


  • DOCKSTA Table — IKEA; I covered it with marble contact paper following the instructions from Shannon Claire Interiors.
  • Vilmar Chairs — IKEA
  • Everything else — Thrift/ Ebay/found


  • Bed — SUNDNES from IKEA (early 1990s)
  • Bedside table — FROSTA from IKEA
  • Bedspread — Urban Outfitters Magical Thinking Kantha Patchwork Quilt
  • Sheepskin — eBay
  • Everything else — Thrift


  • Shower curtain — Marimekko “Villikaali” 1967 I bought years ago at a yard sale. Any 54″ piece of fabric is wide enough for a shower curtain. It’s a little shy, but it works.
  • Floating shelves — Wayfair

Thanks, Lani!

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