This Textile Designer’s ‘Rainbow Eclectic’ Rental Is a Physical Manifestation of Happiness

published Jul 18, 2022
Color Month

This Textile Designer’s ‘Rainbow Eclectic’ Rental Is a Physical Manifestation of Happiness

published Jul 18, 2022
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Square feet
Sq ft

Name: Jessica Stempel and dog Leo
Location: New York City, New York
Size: 1000 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 4 years, renting

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As a textile designer by day, Jessica Stempel designs the art that goes on girls’ pajamas. When she’s not designing vibrant sleepwear patterns, she’s creating super colorful art, which fills the walls of her New York City rental apartment. “I travel far and wide to see colorful and cool art installations. Some of my favorite are salvation mountain, meow wolf, Prada Marfa, and seven magic mountains,” she explains. “When people walk into my apartment they are usually wowed but not at all surprised.”

Credit: Erin Derby

Jessica says she prefers an apartment with character, and this rental had it in droves. “When I walked into this apartment, I was instantly in love,” she begins. “It’s a corner unit with interesting ceiling beams and a unique layout. I also have an amazing view. After 10 years of staring out at brick walls, I’m so happy to finally have a water view!”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Rainbow Eclectic

Inspiration: My physical manifestation of happiness

Credit: Erin Derby

Favorite Element: That’s hard! I can’t help but think of my giant gummy bear. He really is a fun statement piece. If I had more space and money I’d love to have a sculpture collection. The new thing I’m coveting is a life-size pink phone booth! I can’t forget to mention my FRIENDS replica door. It always makes me smile!

Biggest Challenge: Money! Designing is expensive!! It took me four years to get this far. I moved in with someone I was dating at the time and when we broke up I was fortunate enough to inherit the most expensive pieces from their previous marriage haha. I happily kept them! The most money I’ve spent on any item is a set of dining chairs for 600 dollars. There was definitely a lot of DIY involved in this apartment!

Proudest DIY: I DIYed the crap out of this apartment! I’m proud of the art I made that hangs on the walls. I’m also really excited about the way all of the tape DIYs came out! (Headboard, cabinets, wall mural.) And the murals I painted on the doors covered up the dreadfulness that is plain white.

Credit: Erin Derby

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Since the pandemic started I’ve been working from home. My home has become the place I spend almost all of my time. I guess maybe it’s unique that I have a home office but I work from bed. The office has become my storage space but even if it was amazing I’d still probably want to work from bed.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I’m a big fan of my Moroccan and Turkish rugs. They’re handmade and so colorful. That sounds expensive right? They’re not! I get them direct from the manufacturer via Etsy.

Credit: Erin Derby

The other favorite items I’ve purchased are art pieces from fellow artist friends. I can’t afford a lot at this point — I just buy prints — but it means so much having art around from people whose careers you’ve seen blossom before your eyes.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I have absolutely zero organizing advice. What you don’t see in this home tour is the home office that has basically become a storage room for my art supplies, extra clothes, and who knows what else. Seriously next question.

Credit: Erin Derby

What most people get wrong about using color in their home: I think a lot of people are afraid to use color. Or they just prefer a neutral space. You don’t need a lot of color to make a big impact. Consider colorful accessories like a coffee table book. You can’t go wrong with any book from the Assouline travel series. But good luck choosing just one.

What’s your favorite wall paint color of all time: Due to the fact that I’ve only ever lived in rentals as well as the fact that I’m a textile designer, I’m more of a peel and stick wallpaper kinda girl. I designed the one in my living room and printed it using Spoonflower. They have thousands of user generated designs that you can have printed on fabric, wallpaper, and even finished products like pillows.

Credit: Erin Derby

What’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? DIY! You don’t have to be an “artist” like me to do the things I’ve done. My closet door murals are just hearts I drew with a drippy paint marker. Everyone can draw a heart. I bet you could even get your kids to help!

What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? It’s all about layering. You don’t have to go as extreme as me but if you wanna add color consider every aspect. From floor to ceiling. You don’t need colorful furniture. You could do just a colorful rug and throw pillow. If you want to keep layering, make an accent wall, throw up a couple colorful art pieces.


Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Runner — Etsy
  • Wall art — My collab with icanvas coming soon
  • My Collab — Big Wall Decor
  • My art — Etsy
  • Various custom paintings including Larry David — Custom by me
  • Photo Prints — Candyfornia Studio
Credit: Erin Derby


Credit: Erin Derby


  • Dining Table — Hand-me-down from West Elm
  • Tablecloth — Amazon
  • Wallpaper — Custom by me
  • Peel and Stick — Spoonflower
  • Art — Custom by me
Credit: Erin Derby


  • Rainbow Tape — Amazon
  • Contact Paper — Amazon
  • Wall stickers — Amazon Heart Wall Decals and Red Cherry Wall Decals
  • Colorful heart wall decals — Amazon
  • Red Cherry Wall Decals — Amazon
  • Clock — Amazon
  • Wall art — Supreme Fries: Homeless Penthouse
  • Guccy sprinkles — Me
Credit: Erin Derby


Thanks Jessica!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity. Share Your Style: House Tour & House Call Submission Form

Credit: Photo: Alpha Smoot; Prop Styling: Ed Gallagher