This Professional Organizer’s Colorful and Tidy Brooklyn Rental Is Full of Labeled Storage Inspiration

published Jan 27, 2021

This Professional Organizer’s Colorful and Tidy Brooklyn Rental Is Full of Labeled Storage Inspiration

published Jan 27, 2021
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Bedrooms
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Name: Pia Thompson, 10-year-old daughter, and Happy, a tiny 8-year-old red-eared slider turtle
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Size: 1,142 square feet
Years lived in: 3½ years, renting

Starting the year off by touring the homes (and drawers, pantries, closets, and more behind-the-scenes spots) of professional organizers, small space dwellers, and other design experts has become a tradition on Apartment Therapy. After all, how your home functions is just as important as how it looks, and I personally never tire of seeing how the pros organize their spaces. You can find great home tours and even greater organizing advice from this year’s fresh crop of inspiration (and catch up on last year’s tours) all on this one page: Professional Organizer Home Advice.

The last professional organizer home tour for this month is certainly not the least. Pia Thompson is the founder of Sweet Digs, where she teaches clients how to get their homes in order. The Brooklyn rental home she shares with her young daughter is spacious, tidy, and yes, incredibly organized. “My apartment is amazing! I love the light we get here. On a bright and sunny day the entire space is filled with sunshine. My daughter and I adore the sun so we absolutely love it,” explains Pia. “I also love the open floor plan and the ample space to hang out in the living room. It’s got all the space my daughter needs to practice her gymnastics and for us to dance and chase each other around the house as we love to do! It feels just the perfect size for my daughter and I. I love coming home and I love living here.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Literally anything that brings me joy. I love color, interesting details, and eye-catching designs.

Inspiration: A little bit of everything. I love mid-century modern, a small dash of glamour and vintage, and a large dose of Anthropologie! But mostly fearlessness, joy, freedom, and truth. I am very into expressing my true personality. I spent many years living a life checking boxes for “success” and not being my true self. My decor then was mostly grays and browns. I gave that up about three years ago and now this apartment reflects who I am and my full bold joyous personality! And now that my daughter is 10 and coming into her own, we just redid her room and it reflects hers, too!

Favorite Element: My bed (please note that the natural color I have is no longer available). It’s just so incredibly beautiful. It’s hand-carved, which just blows my mind. It just feels like love. It’s bold and big yet not overpowering. It’s got a bravery all on its own! It is just absolutely perfect for the muted color scheme and yet joyous space that I wanted in my bedroom.

Biggest Challenge: My apartment faces south and gets an incredible amount of heat when it’s sunny. I love the light AND it gets super hot in here sometimes. Even in the middle of winter! Luckily I love fresh air. So sometimes it’s 30 degrees outside but the temperature is Jamaica in my apartment so I have to open the windows. I also have blackout curtains, which helps to cool things down.

Proudest DIY: Not so into DIY. My daughter and I painted her bookcase and toy chest together when we redid her room. That’s about it!

What items, hacks, or tricks do professional organizers use in living rooms, specifically? The living room tends to be the family focal point. As a result, I suggest to keep surfaces as clear as possible so that it feels free and inviting. First, ensure that everything in your living room brings you joy. Being clutter free begins on the inside. Then in terms of storage:

There are usually a lot of flat spaces in a living room so it’s important to find a way to incorporate storage — a media console, a coffee table, or bookcase with built-ins is absolutely helpful.

Baskets are wonderful for the living room. They can be used to store throws for your couch, to hide electronics, remotes and cables and use them to organize DVD’s or other smaller items you keep in your living room. If you have a media cabinet, you can use drawer organizers or baskets to ensure everything in there is categorized and easy to find. If it doesn’t already have storage, you may even be able to put one under your coffee table to store magazines or coffee table books.

Another organizing trick is to use your books as decor. Organizing them by color can draw them into your existing color scheme. Using pictures and other items mixed in with books will help to make the space feel cohesive and warm. That’s how mine is done! You can also use colorful storage boxes mixed in with your books to gain some added space.

If you have plants, try to have matching pots for them or even a plant stand so they are all together. If you get a plant stand with storage you can store your watering can and fertilizer close by.

If your living room doubles as a play area, corral the toys to one part of the space. Add bins that roll or a kids table to encourage kids to keep their toys in one spot. And label label label! Labeling things encourages children (and adults!) to return them where they belong.

What are things you should never keep on your kitchen counter? What about in your entryway? I am really good at changing my mind so I never say never. Once you have been divorced and changed careers, I think never is a thing of the past! While my kitchen counter is mostly free of anything, that doesn’t work for everyone, especially if you have a small NYC kitchen. When I work with clients I try to understand how they use the space and don’t just hide things because they have the space to do so.

For the entryway, I advise to keep it as clear as possible to allow for air to flow freely into and out of your home and for your home to feel welcoming to you and your guests. Ask these questions to help figure out what’s essential to store there:

  1. What frequently has to leave the house with you? (keys, wallet purse?)
  2. What do you need to be able to do there? (put on and remove your coat, maybe review your mail?)
  3. What would bring you a ton of joy to be able to see there? (A place for messages to the family? A mirror to check how cute you look as you are on your way out the door?)

Resources

PAINT & COLORS

  • Entryway, Bathrooms + Bedrooms — Latex Flat White
  • Part of Dining Area — Behr Cordite
  • Rest of Dining Area, Hallway, Kitchen + Livingroom — Behr Campfire Ash

ENTRY

LIVING ROOM

DINING ROOM

KITCHEN

MAIN BEDROOM

HALLWAY

  • Macrame Blue Wall Hanging Decor — Target (no longer available)
  • She Designed a Life She Loved — T.J. Maxx (no longer available)

KIDS BEDROOM

MAIN BATHROOM

  • Simplehuman® 4-Tier Stainless Steel Tension Pole Shower Caddy — Bed Bath + Beyond
  • White 2 drawer mesh organizer — The Container Store
  • Note To Self. You Are Worthy Of Love. Shower Curtain by Morgan Harper Nichols — Society 6
  • Acrylic Makeup Accessories Organizers Set — Amazon
  • IDesign Linus Medicine Cabinet Organizer Clear — The Container Store
  • 6″ x 3″ x 3″ h Rectangular Acrylic Riser — The Container Store
  • mDesign Round Glass Refillable Liquid Soap Dispenser — Amazon
  • OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser — Amazon
  • Bath Towels — HomeGoods (no longer available)

DAUGHTER’S BATHROOM

  • simplehuman® 4-Tier Stainless Steel Tension Pole Shower Caddy — Bed Bath + Beyond
  • IDesign Linus Medicine Cabinet Organizer Clear — The Container Store
  • 6″ x 3″ x 3″ h Rectangular Acrylic Riser — The Container Store
  • White 2 drawer mesh organizer — The Container Store
  • May Your Joy Be Endless Shower Curtain by Morgan Harper Nichols — Society6
  • mDesign Round Glass Refillable Liquid Soap Dispenser — Amazon
  • OXO Tot Perfect Pull Wipes Dispenser — Amazon
  • Bath Towels — Target (no longer available)

Thanks Pia!

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