This Rainbow Rental Has Weird ’70s Lamps, Plastic Dinosaurs, and More Patterns Than You Can Count

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My comfy living room with my ancient blue sofa, all my favorite art, a couple of '70s lamps, and every color of the rainbow.

Name: Caity Birmingham
Location: Los Angeles, California
Type of home: Apartment
Size: 700 square feet
Years lived in: 7 years, renting

Every wall in my bedroom is covered with art and little mementos—some of my collections include portraits of women and vintage religious art. I also have a vintage radio in every room.

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My apartment is a little standalone unit at the back of a U-shaped complex with a charming courtyard full of orange and banana trees, with a little crooked rooftop patio, and a view of downtown. It’s an old place, with drafty windows and a chipped clawfoot tub, and a beautiful fireplace that has long since been closed off. It’s the first place I lived on my own in Los Angeles, and it is the summation of all my thrift store scavenger hunts, souvenirs, and collections.

This was always the ugly unusable corner of the room with the big old electric heater, but this sexy $5 chrome chair, globe lamp and custom weaving have made it one of my favorite nooks.

My color palette is anything goes—everything from “Peewee’s Playhouse” primary pops to the sunny, faded palette of a teenage girl’s bedroom in 1975. I have plastic dinosaurs on the mantel, more art books than I know what to do with, and a fridge completely covered in magnets and mementos (a friend once said, “it’s like my grandma’s house!” which I took as a huge compliment).

My pleasantly chaotic kitchen, with the funny industrial sink, fridge full of magnets, and vintage radio that plays NPR 24/7. I made up for the lack of built-in storage with a little pantry cabinet of mix and match metal IKEA lockers.

What is your favorite room and why? I love my living room, with its over abundance of books, ancient blue sofa (I found the receipt in the crack between the arm and the cushion—dated 1955), mix of weird vintage pieces (and practical IKEA ones, like the bench under the window covered in plants), art from flea markets, eBay, and artists I admire, weird ’70s lamps, and embroidered throw pillows. It’s a comfortable room that I love to hang out in, and when I walk in the front door I instantly feel at home.

My bedroom resembles the room of a 12-year-old girl in 1975, and I'm okay with that. I love pink, and this is the perfect place to put it.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Pee-wee’s Playhouse Chic.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? My last addition to the living room was a colorful vintage (’80s) papier-mâché lion mask by Gina Truex.

This is my office and guest room. I love being able to have visitors, as long as they don't mind a little visual overload. "Polite Laughter" was a custom sign we made for "Documentary Now!", a TV show I production designed.

Any advice for creating a home you love? My number one tip is do not rush the decorating process and don’t buy things just to fill space or make your home feel more complete. I lived without a sofa for eight months while I searched for the right one (which I eventually found at a thrift store in Culver City and paid more to have it steam cleaned than I paid for the actual sofa).

I found this original Vitra Uten.Silo at a thrift store for $20 and I almost hyperventilated. It was the first time I found an item I had actually dreamed of owning. I love how it makes my workspace so colorful yet so organized.

Your decor should be a curated tour through your personal history and experiences, your travels, and treasure hunts, therefore you shouldn’t expect to have every nook and cranny perfectly figured out as soon as you move in; it should be an evolution, and it should evolve as your lifestyle and tastes evolve. You should give yourself room to grow. I would also say, don’t be afraid of color. I’ve had friends ask me how I make so many colors work together in one space, and my only answer is, I buy whatever I like and I like colorful things. Trust your own eyes to know what will work and what will make you happy to look at day after day.

This submission’s responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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