This NYC Apartment Is Like a ‘Colorful Afro Bohemian Jungle’ Inside

published Feb 7, 2022

This NYC Apartment Is Like a ‘Colorful Afro Bohemian Jungle’ Inside

published Feb 7, 2022
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Name: Emily Auffrey, Matthew Auffrey, Maxwell Auffrey, Morgan Auffrey (Maltipoo)
Location: Long Island City New York City, New York
Size: 990 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years lived in: 1 year 3 months, renting

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With floor-to-ceiling windows that provide both beautiful Manhattan views and lots of sun for plants, Emily Auffrey describes the rental apartment she shares with her family as a NYC dream space, which they were thankfully able to afford during 2020 when units began opening up and rent prices went down. “To say we were excited would be an understatement, she writes. “We truly feel like we moved into our dream NYC apartment. In addition to being the dream home; the area is just absolutely ideal for a family.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Plants play a huge role in their home’s decor; leafy greens fill the living room and dining area, a spot Emily describes as a favorite. “When I come home from work the room makes you feel calm, and you can take a deep breath and admire the plants, decor, and view,” she says. “It is breathtaking all combined.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Emily explains that secondhand finds make up a lot of the decor. “I love secondhand shopping; I prefer it over regular shopping,” Emily admits. “Almost everything is secondhand.” And when it came to sourcing things that aren’t secondhand finds, Emily turned to purchasing items from Black-owned companies and supporting Black artists. “I am proud to be Black and it shows in my decor. I have artwork with Black people, African prints, and we celebrate Kwanzaa,” she explains. “As a Black woman it is very important that part of me is reflected in my home.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My style: Colorful Afro Bohemian Jungle.

Inspiration: Justina Blakely and Hilton Carter.

Credit: Erin Derby

Favorite Element: Obviously the view with the floor-to-ceiling windows is breathtaking. You turn the corner in the hallway and you’re immediately greeted with the NYC skyline on the East River, unobstructed. And second would be the plants. Plants are great at creating a calm welcoming space.

Biggest Challenge: The living/dining room area is one room/area, like most of the newer builds in the neighborhood. I did my best to visually create a dining area nook and area for living. The large tree helps to divide the room without being overbearing. The living/dining room is a bit smaller than I would like. To make the room appear bigger I played with mirrors and kept the furniture light and airy. I also did not want to take away from the view so I had to be strategic with furniture placement. Also, it would have been difficult to find a good place for a TV in this room so we went without one.

Credit: Erin Derby

Proudest DIY: I have been on the hunt for a new bed for the primary bedroom. I haven’t found the one yet so I decided to cover my current bed with a headboard slipcover in a terracotta color to give the bed a quick refresh in the interim. I love it.

Biggest indulgence: I splurged on the egg chair and cognac leather sofa. Those two items were must haves for me. I searched for cheaper versions but didn’t find anything I liked as much. The sofa I bought secondhand off Facebook Marketplace, which was significantly less than retail. I waited until the egg chair went on sale to purchase and saved about 20 percent. It was definitely worth the price for me. The egg chair and couch get used often and are so aesthetically pleasing and really anchor the living area.

Credit: Erin Derby

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Although unconventional, our dresser is in one of the hallway closets. The primary bedroom cannot really accommodate a full-size dresser without overwhelming the space.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? As a Black woman it is very important that part of me is reflected in my home. Many of the items in my home are from Black artists/companies. Here are a few of my favorites:

Credit: Erin Derby
  1. Noryan NYC for candles — NYC-based father and daughter duo-owned candle business. High-end luxury candles. My favorite scent is “Wine Down.”
  2. Fabric Child for clothing, decor, and pillowcases — Love love their pillowcases. They offer an array of African fabrics/patterns. The mudcloth indigo pillowcases are hand dyed with natural plant dyes in Burkina Faso, Africa.
  3. Chez Kwetu for African textile art pieces — Handmade intentional African decor. You can truly feel great energy from these pieces. She releases each collection with intention. My newest piece is from her Spread Love collection.
  4. Domoink for artwork and decor — I love everything from Domoink! The artist is mostly contemporary pop. You name it she has her artwork on it: cups, greeting cards, prints, apparel! 
  5. Soil Vibes, NYC female-owned plant shop — Most of my plants are from Soil Vibes. They are always super healthy and lush. The owner, Shana, has a wealth of plant information that has helped me to keep my plants healthy.
  6. Wild Interiors” book by Hilton Carter — This book really inspired me at the beginning of my plant journey. This book provided a lot of ideas to create my plant oasis.
Credit: Erin Derby

Please describe any helpful, small space maximizing and or organizing tips you have? My top three things I consider when it comes to space is:

  1. The sofa should be big enough for seating but not so big that it overwhelms the room.
  2. Try to give the entire apartment the same flow/style, which will make the space appear bigger.
  3. Try to keep wall colors in the same color family or use colors that complement each other throughout your home.


Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Round Framed Mirror – Hearth & Hand™ With Magnolia — Target
  • King Clipped Linework Comforter & Sham Set Mustard — Threshold™ : Target
  • Velvet Bed Headboard Slipcover — Amazon
  • Bed Canopy — Bed Bath & Beyond
  • Arched Wall Mirror — Opalhouse™ : Target
  • Boho Throw Pillow Covers, Modern Stripe Geometric Farmhouse Decorative Pillowcases Square Stripe Pillow Case with Tassels 18×18 Inch — Amazon
  • Throw Pillow Covers, 18 x 18 Diamond Jacquard Pattern with Tassels — Amazon
  • Arch Wall Decal/Sticker — Amazon
  • Hat Rack Organizer — Amazon
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Twinkle lights — Amazon
  • Kids tent — Amazon
  • Memory Foam Play Mat with Two-Sided Design — Ruggish
  • Blue and white tassel — Amazon
  • Indigo Mud cloth Pillow Covers in tent — Fabric Child

Thanks, Emily!

This house tour’s responses were edited for length and clarity.