This NYC Rental Apartment’s Gorgeous Reversible Upgrades Include Peel & Stick Paper and More
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Name: Katelyn Sailor, husband Kyle, and French Bulldog, Lou
Location: New York City, New York
Size: 1,100 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 1 year, renting
Take just a quick glimpse at Katelyn Sailor’s New York City apartment and you would never guess that just a little over a year ago, she and her husband, Kyle, (along with their French bulldog, Lou) relocated to Manhattan with only their clothes, a bed, kitchen items, and some basic decor. The couple had decided to rent out their Raleigh, North Carolina, home fully furnished while giving New York City a try. “We had an inflatable couch for the first month and a half because furniture deliveries were so backed up,” Sailor explains.
Designing a home entirely from scratch was certainly a challenge. “I had the entire apartment to decorate and furnish; it was somewhat overwhelming,” Sailor reflects. She opted to tackle the living room first, given that she knew she and Kyle would spend the most time there. “A year later, I’m almost done decorating the entire place and getting it to a point I’m proud of,” Sailor comments. “After multiple renter-friendly upgrades — such as molding and peel and stick everything — I’m so happy with how it turned out. Our apartment is my happy place and the perfect retreat from the city!” Read on for more of Sailor’s colorful, curated apartment below.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: There definitely isn’t just one word to describe my interior decor style. I think it’s a mix of eclectic, traditional, grand-millennial, and modern. And I obviously love pink!
Inspiration: Scout Design Studio is a huge inspiration for me. They have curated a unique and gorgeous selection of home decor items, and the designers that style their store have created such beautiful spaces. I love how they pair traditional items with funky decor you can’t find anywhere else. Their Instagram is always a major inspiration!
Favorite Element: My favorite element in my apartment is the piece of art on the wall in my entryway. When I was 20, my 14-year-old brother passed away from childhood cancer. The piece is something he created in fifth grade. It’s his version of “Starry Night.” He used construction paper and gold glitter to make it, and I love the bold colors he used. I had it framed when we first moved into this apartment and designed the whole entryway around that piece. It not only means a lot and reminds me of him every time I see it, but it is a really cool piece that everyone always asks about!
Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge I encountered while decorating my home was my analysis paralysis. It took me so long to make a single decision about even the smallest things. With so many options on the internet, it was really difficult for me to decide what would work best.
Proudest DIY: My kitchen cabinets! The cabinets in our kitchen are reddish brown wood. They aren’t terrible, but the color didn’t match what I had envisioned for the space. I begged my landlord to let me paint them, but in typical NYC landlord fashion, he said no. I was determined to have white cabinets to make the wallpaper pop, so after some trial and error, I finally found a contact paper method that worked to cover them. It wasn’t easy, especially because of the grooves in the cabinet doors, but I made it work. It was a 30-plus hour project, and some people think I’m crazy, but I absolutely love them now, and I’m so glad I did it.
Biggest Indulgence: One of the things I splurged on when decorating was my marble mantel. I’ve always wanted a fireplace, so I decided to create my own because this apartment didn’t have one. I found the mantel on Facebook Marketplace, and the fabulous designer Josh Young happened to be the one selling it. He was the one who made the faux fireplace decor famous!
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? One of my favorite things I’ve purchased is the piece of art above my sofa. It’s a great conversation piece.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: There are so many pieces of furniture out there that also double as storage. In NYC, storage is incredibly valuable, so it’s important to maximize places to hide things by finding pieces you love that have storage.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? My best decorating advice is to start small. If you want to decorate multiple areas or an entire house, you can easily get overwhelmed and end up quitting. Start with one room and one area. Make a list of things you want, look at Pinterest to gain inspiration, and use Canva to create a mockup of the design. Go slow and take your time, creating a space that brings you joy isn’t a race.
This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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