You Will Not Believe This Brooklyn Live/Work Space Is Actually a Rental

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When you're renting an apartment, any change bigger than a new coat of paint is usually off the table. But that doesn't mean that you're stuck with an impersonal space. Designer Lauren Wills's Brooklyn apartment is proof of that. After an ex-boyfriend moved out, Wills decided that she needed to clear the air and turn the sunny 1,100-square-foot rental in Fort Greene into a happy environment. To make the apartment feel cheerier, she gave every room a coat of paint and swapped out the existing light fixtures, which she notes were "nothing to write home about."


The designer used a soft white in the living room to highlight the size and brightness of the space. When it came to the bedroom, she channeled Wes Anderson and chose a bold coral hue inspired by Margot Tenenbaum's bedroom. A loft space that Wills uses as an office got a coat of turquoise. "I work from home a lot," she says. "So in addition to creating a happy home I also wanted a creative space where I can feel inspired everyday." Since her rent had just doubled, budget was a major challenge for the designer, who was also busy with projects for clients. "It turned into an around the clock endeavor with a dear friend who came over after work to paint and replace my light fixtures," says Wills. "It was an adventure to say the least."

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Wills removed the fronts of the kitchen cabinets. "They had little chicken etchings on them, which had to go," she says.

Living Room with brick fireplace
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Living Room

Benjamin Moore's Simply White coats the living room. The rug was purchased from Wayfair for a client, who then changed her mind, so Wills adopted it. The designer kept her existing — and extremely comfortable — Ikea sofa.

Living Room
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Living Room

This Royal Tenenbaums poster has moved with the designer to five apartments. It is displayed over a vintage dresser that Wills got from a friend.

Living Room gallery wall
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Living Room

Pink pillows from Mexico sit atop a bench in the living room. "I love to travel and wanted to incorporate things like the pillows I bought in Oaxaca, Mexico and my New Orleans Jazz Fest art," she says.

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Living Room

Chairs from Wayfair are pulled up to the petite Ikea dining table in a corner of the living room.

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Wills's design office is located in a loft area above the kitchen. She painted the walls in Benjamin Moore's Soft Mint. The skylight was painted in Benjamin Moore's Light Chiffon Pink, creating a warm glow. The space is outfitted with art from Etsy, chairs from Wayfair, and a "No Whining" sign that Wills found at a flea market in Santa Fe.

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Wills chose Benjamin Moore's Coral Spice for the walls of her bedroom and repainted her existing Ikea bed in a custom yellow. Mirrors from a Santa Fe flea market hang above the bed and a framed 1940s handkerchief is displayed above the fireplace. "The picture on my bedside table is a bunny's butt," she says. "I try to find humor in things when I can."

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The master bathroom was painted in Benjamin Moore's Springy Peach with the brand's Avocado on the ceiling. The ceiling light was found on One Kings Lane and the photo of Kermit the Frog is from Etsy.


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