A Colorful Copenhagen Apartment Has Rainbow Curtains & Papier-Mâché Fruit

A Colorful Copenhagen Apartment Has Rainbow Curtains & Papier-Mâché Fruit

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Lærke Victoria Plougmann
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Size: 721 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 2 years, owned

Lærke, who runs a popular Instagram account and is a sales advisor for Danish fashion brand By Malene Birger, loves to express herself artistically and visually. “Creativity is the focus point of my everyday life,” she writes. And the small apartment in Copenhagen she owns is an expression of her passion for creativity.

“The building is more than 80 years old, which brings out a lot of quirks and beautiful details in the architecture, like rosettes on the ceiling and French glass doors,” she writes. “Since I moved in two years ago, the space has seen its fair share of DIYs and renovation projects. I love that I’m able to mix the 1940s with the 2020s. I’m a firm believer that ‘old meets new’ creates the most integral connection.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: My style is a mix of Danish design classics, kitsch, colors, patterns, and shapes. By now, I don’t think that anything is too crazy or “too much” for me. I love the odd and sometimes almost “ugly” pieces, which brings out personality and makes the space completely my own.

Inspiration: I find great inspiration in colors, art, patterns, and atmospheres. I cherish the feeling a certain place or situation can contribute, so it’s completely natural for me to think in these lanes when decorating. The color scheme in my bedroom, for example, is inspired by a sunrise and the curtains in my living room evoke a rainbow.

Favorite Element: My favorite element must be my living room! It’s a multifunctional space with room for coziness, clutter, and play. I love the color scheme and the joy it brings me. The living room is a collection of shapes and patterns — a color explosion, if you will, and I always find myself happy and content looking at this space. My friend once drew parallels between my living room and Pippi Longstocking’s Villa Villekulla, a place where norms exist to be broken. That’s the greatest compliment anybody could have ever given me.

Biggest Challenge: The apartment is quite spacious for it to be just me living here, but I still had a hard time figuring out how to fit in all of my ideas and purposes in each room. I tried to overcome it by making the living room a multifunctional space. It’s a television area, dining space, and workspace all in one. I can change the layout of the space regarding the purpose, which has been very helpful!

Proudest DIY: My proudest DIY is my papier-mâché fruits. I made them from scratch, and the design process and the actual execution took me hours. I love the dimensions of them and the childish almost theatrical feeling they bring to the space. So far I’ve made a strawberry, an orange, a pea pod, two cherries, and a banana. I’ve become obsessed.

Biggest Indulgence: My “Secret Garden” rug designed by Poppy Kalas for Layered is a precious possession of mine and my biggest indulgence. The rug was on the top of my wishlist and I enjoy it every single day. It’s formed the framework for the rest of my living room — worth every single penny!

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? My passion is to create, therefore my home is filled with furniture, decorations, and art I’ve made myself. For instance, the giant papier-mâché fruits, the tile tables I made with my father, the mirrors in the hallway, and the gold mobile I’ve made with my mother all coexist.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? I’ve chosen everything carefully and am therefore connected to it all, since everything means something special to me. If I have to highlight something, the rainbow curtains in my living room mean a lot to me. The colors stimulate me and make me feel happy and safe. For me, it’s pure color therapy. The weather in Denmark is often gray and wet, so the idea of the rainbow curtains was to make sure I would always be guaranteed great, sunny weather in here. If it’s dark and cold outside, I can draw the curtains and suddenly I’m in a bubble of warmth, color, and energy. It’s my very own rainbow hideout.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: I’m truly an unorganized organizer. No matter how hard I try to become one of those people where everything is labeled and easy to access when needed, I have to surrender to being a mess. If you’re a bit of a collector like me, and an unorganized one as well, I have found that hidden storage space is key. Do you have high ceilings? Then build in shelves to use in that space. Do you have lots of room under your bed? Go ahead and use the storage space under there.

What most people get wrong about using color in their home: That it has to be chaotic and tiring to the eye. It doesn’t! You can achieve just as peaceful and calm a space by using colors as you would white or beige.

What are the biggest tricks/secrets to using color in decor? Stick to a common thread: a certain color scheme, or a color you like that can be the blocker or repeater in your interior. If you wish to fill your space with lots of colors, though, forget about coherence and let the colors speak for themselves. Don’t be scared, take a leap of faith! If it turns out wrong, a re-do is always a possibility.

What’s your favorite wall paint color of all time: I have a hard time choosing, hence why all rooms in my apartment have different wall colors. But, I must say, I love the peachy wall paint color in by bedroom. It’s so warm and inviting, and feels like waking up to an embrace.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Jump into the crazy ideas, and be completely indifferent to what people may think about you or your decorating style. A home is personal, and the most important thing is that it creates happiness and a feeling of security for you.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

This piece is part of Color Month, where we’re showing you the best ways to inject more color into your home and life. From paint color combos to vibrant house tours, head over here to see it all.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

Follow Adrienne
See How This Family of Five Is Able to Live Stylishly in Just 600 Square Feet

See How This Family of Five Is Able to Live Stylishly in Just 600 Square Feet

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Heather, Michael, Lennon (4 years), Georgie (2.5 years), and James (15 months)
Location: Upper West Side — Manhattan, NYC
Size: 600 square feet
Type of Home: Apartment
Years Lived In: 9 months, renting

Six hundred square feet of living space is small even for just one person. But for a couple and their three kids who are doing so both stylishly and functionally? Now that’s impressive. But that’s just what Heather and Michael are accomplishing with their three young daughters after moving from California to New York recently. “We found our apartment while we were still living in California, prior to moving to New York City,” writes Heather. “We did a virtual tour of the space, fell in love from afar, and the rest is history!

Despite so many people living in so little space, their home doesn’t feel too crowded or busy at all, thanks to both architectural elements the apartment provides and decor and storage ideas the couple implemented. “Our favorite thing about the apartment is definitely the view of Central Park. Looking out the window and seeing wide open space and lots of trees makes the small space feel so much bigger — almost like we have a yard (*almost*)! We live in a corner unit which has given us some additional windows and lots of natural light — a very close second favorite feature about the space.” Along with embracing all the natural light (and enhancing it with a few well-placed mirrors), the couple also stuck to a neutral and light color palette, which helps make the place feel serene and airy. And they used vertical space wisely to free up floor space, like the living room’s sleek wall-mounted shelving, and the primary bedroom’s petite wall-mounted work space.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Cozy, thoughtful, not fussy, somewhere between minimal and collected.

Inspiration: I find a lot of inspiration from interior design books and Pinterest (I could look at photos of beautiful interiors for hours!). I love and appreciate so many different styles and I find that my inspiration is always changing and shifting, which is usually reflected in our home in some way. Definitely inspired by nature as well — natural textures, materials, and colors are some of my favorite design elements.

Favorite Element: Most definitely the corner window in the girls’ room. It has a little perch — just big enough to sit on — and it makes for the loveliest little window seat. They get tons of natural light in their room and have a wonderful view of the park that we love to enjoy from the corner window.

Biggest Challenge: Finding a way to create a functional and beautiful 600-square-foot space for a family of five was no simple task! We had to be very intentional about the choices we made when it came to furniture, storage, and “stuff” in general. We majorly pared down when we moved here and kind of started over in a sense — we wanted to make sure all the big furniture items were just the right size, in hopes that it would make the space feel bigger and to make the most of every square inch, all while maintaining some negative space as well and not filling every single inch of every room with stuff.

We’re constantly editing our things since even bringing in a couple of new things can affect how the space feels. Minimalism in this sense has been key for us to not feel like we’re bursting at the seams!

Proudest DIY: I’ve been painting a lot the past few months, and I had a lot of fun creating some original pieces for our home (one in the living room, one in our room above the desk). I really enjoyed getting to create unique paintings that I felt complement the rooms and make them feel unique and collected.

Biggest Indulgence: Our Serena & Lily sconces in our bedroom — 100 percent worth it! I love them so much and feel like they make such a lovely statement while still feeling really simple. They bring so much to the space.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why?

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Utilize the walls and go up when it comes to storage (think hanging wall baskets, shelves, stackable storage crates, etc.), hang a large mirror to make a small space feel bigger, and tidy up often! Also, bring in multipurpose items where you can — we use a big stack of books as a side table in the living room, use the small wicker bench as a footrest and an extra seat, etc.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Be patient when it comes to decorating! If you’re at all second guessing a purchase for your home, wait. When the right thing comes along, you’ll know.

Thanks Heather and family!

Erin Derby

Photographer

Originally from California, but turned New Yorker since 2000, I’ve been shooting my entire life and am still inspired and excited about it. Lately I have been putting my energies into my Fine Art, which can be seen on my website and on Saatchi Art. Being infatuated with interior design doesn’t hurt either, which mixes well with my love of photographing interiors.

Follow Erin
A 400-Square-Foot Studio’s Glass Partition Is Perfect for Light AND Privacy

A 400-Square-Foot Studio’s Glass Partition Is Perfect for Light AND Privacy

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Farah Jean
Location: Brooklyn — New York City, NYC
Size: 400 square foot
Type of Home: Studio Condo
Years lived in: Almost 1 year, owned

Both my sister (Vanessa) and I (Farah) spend a lot of time in Brooklyn and we always had plans to one day buy back into our community. During the summer of 2021, we knew it was time to purchase a condo and we started searching for new developments on StreetEasy. We quickly spotted this lovely studio in Brooklyn and booked an appointment immediately. The moment we walked into the apartment we knew right away this was the one and we put in an offer the same day! It was the perfect space with a little balcony. The apartment is located on a charming block and it is just a few blocks away from public transportation, restaurants, and cafes. As of now, we’ve decided to make our home available to travelers, such as travel nurses and/or med students who are looking for a modern home to stay in as a short-term rental during their assignments. However, we will always use our condo as a pied-à-terre during the summer!

The apartment is a 400-square-foot studio with the cutest little balcony. The best feature in the apartment is our glass partition, which separates the living room from the bedroom. Also, the balcony is an added bonus. Who doesn’t love outdoor space! The balcony faces the back of the building making it is extremely quiet and peaceful, and it is also surrounded by trees. I (Farah) love to eat breakfast and dinner outside when the weather is nice. We are definitely looking forward to building new memories in this apartment.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: We would describe our style as minimalist/Scandinavian with a pop of color.

Inspiration: Our inspiration comes from different Pinterest boards lol. However, interior designer Athena Calderone is a big inspiration. She goes by “Eyeswoon” on Instagram.

Favorite Element: Our favorite thing in the apartment is the glass partition.

Biggest Challenge: The biggest challenge was trying to find a small, yet sizable sofa for the living room. We wanted to make sure that it fit perfectly in a small space but big enough for us to lay on and relax while watching TV. We ended up finding the perfect couch from AllModern and it’s so comfortable.

Biggest Indulgence: Our large glass partition was the best decision we’ve made for the apartment. It was extremely expensive! Definitely an investment piece but it was worth every penny. We get so many complements on it and it definitely elevates the space

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Our favorite products in the apartment is definitely the bamboo wall fan and our dry flowers we’ve purchased from McGee & Co. Omg! We can smell the fresh scent from the hallway before we even enter the apartment. Another favorite piece is our petit trou stools from Lulu & Georgia.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: A useful tip for decorating small spaces is less is more. Do not overcrowd your space with products or furniture pieces you do not need. Make your home unique and cozy so that every time you walk through the door you feel at peace and happy with your space.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Our best decorating advice is to measure EVERYTHING before making a purchase. We highly recommend purchasing blue room tape from The Home Depot store. By measuring and taping the floor, it helps to visualize the size and dimensions of furniture in your space before making a big purchase.

This ‘New York Times’ Political Reporter’s Brooklyn Loft Is All About Color, Art

This ‘New York Times’ Political Reporter’s Brooklyn Loft Is All About Color, Art

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Astead W. Herndon
Location: Brooklyn — New York City, NY
Type of Home: Loft
Years Lived In: 2 years, renting     

Astead W. Herndon, a political reporter for The New York Times, spent more than 200 nights in hotels in different states while covering the 2020 presidential election. He says he was “functionally without a space of my own. When the election ended, I made it priority to switch everything up, starting with my living space. I wanted an apartment I was proud of.”

“I walked into this place, the first one I saw on Craigslist, and immediately fell in love. It’s open and sunny and dramatic — just like me. Whether I’m reading on the porch, working at the desk, or up in the loft bedroom, the natural light really makes the whole thing work. I have a rare Brooklyn experience in which the constant blare of sirens is interrupted by birds chirping in the backyard forest,” writes Astead.

Big windows, colorful art, and a mix of modern furniture all combine to create Astead’s cool and hip interior. But while the visual aspect of his home is important, it’s not only about style. “Last November, I tore my Achilles while playing basketball,” begins Astead. “The injury kept me at home for about three months without interruption and really changed my relationship to my space. I passed the time by watching all of ‘Real Housewives of Potomac’ and bought a small keyboard. I taught myself to make mashups of my favorite songs on a turntable. I got more plants. But most of all, it forced me to think about my apartment’s functionality. Before that incident, I was only concerned with having a place that was aesthetically pleasing. Now, it feels like a home.”

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I like bright colors and have a flair for the dramatic — but really don’t think I have a defined style. I like evolving, pushing limits, and pushing myself.

Inspiration: I read some style blogs I can’t remember. And got some advice from my Instagram close friends list. Here’s a fun story: I went on a Hinge date right after moving and showed the person my decorating plan as a means of small talk. She told me I needed a bolder couch color and that led me to the iconic pink couch! She has since moved from Brooklyn to Paris but her legacy lives on.

Biggest Challenge: I was working from a baseline of zero. I was a typical post college mid-20s boy who had no mattress and no bed frame. I moved from this tiny studio and really only brought my clothes and a microwave. I didn’t know the first thing to do with this much open space.

Proudest DIY: I’m the world’s least handy person. This week I quite literally got a coat hanger ledge and installed it upside down. But my last piece for the apartment was a mirror. And carrying it up three flights was a proud, albeit nerve wracking, moment.

Biggest Indulgence: I paid for professional art hangers rather than putting it up myself. It was a great decision, but an expensive one. They knew how to handle the pieces with care and were very helpful in suggesting where each one could go. 

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? The desk I sit at for work is right by the window. And the birds are so loud I sometimes have to go to the upstairs bathroom to record the podcast.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? A turntable! I’ll be listening to a song and thinking? What does it sound like slowed down or mixed with something else — and then I can just… do it!

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Don’t skimp on the couch. Save money elsewhere. But get a good, reliable, centerpiece couch.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

Follow Adrienne
This Small Michigan Rental Is Filled With DIYs and Decked Out for Pride

This Small Michigan Rental Is Filled With DIYs and Decked Out for Pride

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

Name: Daniel Parkington, husband Geof Parkington, pet Stella
Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Size: 670 square feet
Type of Home: Mid-rise apartment building
Years lived in: 7 years, renting

Daniel and his husband Geof love their rental apartment… they actually got married here! “We kept it a total secret and invited our friends over for what they thought was just a cocktail party,” Daniel admits. “We host a lot of parties and it really is the perfect space for it.” In fact, despite only being 670 square feet, Daniel and Geof squeeze a lot out of their home. Beyond being the perfect party place, it also stylishly stores a lot: 40 sets of new and vintage glassware for Daniel and 434 Lego sets, 790 mini figures, and over 900 action figures for Geof.

The couple has done an incredible job of maximizing not only the inside of their home, but their outside, too: Their balcony is a stylish extension of their living space. It’s also one of the spots that gets decorated for the holidays, which Daniel says he does year round. Right now, it’s decked out for Pride!

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: I think discreet quirky or subtly maximalist describes it best. I love kitsch but I try to keep it restrained. A big part of my style is my husband’s massive Lego and toy collection. I like working it in while still having it read that childless adults live here. It started with the “Star Wars” table. He wanted to store the TIE fighter and I thought it was pointless to have something that big taking up our limited space. I gave my dad the dimensions and he made us this amazing table that love. It really became a focal point and vibe setter for the rest of the apartment.

Inspiration: This is not pandering, Apartment Therapy was so formative to me when I got my first apartment. I have been a fan for so long, like, dating back to 2009. I love looking at the home tours, and still do. I also take a lot of my interior decorating ideas from fashion. I have always loved Raf Simons and I think his home in Antwerp is absolutely perfect. Also, Jenna Lyons calling leopard a neutral always stuck with me and I will never say no to leopard.

Favorite Element: Hands-down the best part of our apartment is the balcony. I decorate it for every holiday so it’s become a bit of a landmark in our area.

In the warmer months we basically live out there. It’s coffee in the morning and martinis in… any time after noon. I get to feel like Ina Garten clipping my own parsley and basil while “my” Geoffry is away at work. A balcony is also so great for small dogs; reusable dog grass is amazing. Don’t clean them with bleach though; I feel like it just breaks down the plastic and makes them smell worse. I just clean ours in the shower with soap and water. Stella has a little Bluetooth doorbell that she uses and abuses to go out on the balcony. Most of the time she just rings it to go lay out in the sun.

Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? Our coffee table. I worked at a Solstice Sunglass Boutique about 12 years ago and they let us take some fixtures when they closed our location. It was originally counter height and I had the legs cut down to make it a coffee table. I love it; I switch out the display all the time and I use the drawer that was originally for sunglass cases to hold my scrap sewing fabric. It is just as heavy as it looks though; I still dread moving it.

Biggest Challenge: Storage. We both love collecting things that take up a lot of space. I have about 40 sets of new and vintage glassware. Geof collects action figures and Legos. Currently he has 434 Lego sets, 790 mini figures, and over 900 action figures. We limit our storage to apartment only though; if we ever got a storage unit things might get out of control. I stacked a cube storage unit on a dresser in our bedroom that mainly holds all of Geof’s collection.

Proudest DIY: I will DIY until the day I die. It’s the best way to vibe on a budget. I have so many that I don’t think I can land on one. Almost everything we own is something that I got on sale and gave a makeover in our color palette. I just think everything looks better after I add some houndstooth contact paper and a copper accent. I make all of Stella’s toys, too. They’re always all over the place; I like them to match the apartment.

Biggest Indulgence: I don’t know if it’s really an indulgence, I just feel like we’ve spent a small fortune on lighting. Smart bulbs and specialty lighting really adds up. We don’t have any overhead lighting so I mounted puck lights under most of our side tables. It lights the space really well and isn’t harsh. I also lit up our balcony like a Christmas tree. Color-changing flood lights, string lights, fairy lights. Basically every kind of light out there. I think lighting can really make or break a party, so it’s totally worth it.

What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Get an air purifier! It makes such a difference. We have big windows and when the sun is shining in it magnifies every piece of dust. It would always look like a snow globe with the dust floating around. We’ve tried a few and really love our Bissell Air220.

Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: Beverage dispensers aren’t just for parties, we keep one out all the time. It’s a great reminder to stay hydrated and doesn’t waste cabinet space if you keep it out. Same with our grab-and-go snacks. I put them out in apothecary jars on the counter. I also love decorating for every holiday. I make sure to mix-and-match my decorations though. Rainbow Pride also works for St. Patrick’s Day, add some spiders to Easter eggs for Halloween — you just have to get creative.

Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? Fresh flowers don’t have to be an expensive treat! I always have some on our island and in the bathroom. Just pick flowers that last a long time, and filler is your friend! Ruscus is an evergreen that keeps for months. I like using that so you can get away with buying smaller flower bundles. Or even just one or two large blooms. I usually go with Alstroemeria or carnations; I know they’re considered lowbrow in the flower world. I don’t care, they last forever and look great. I can usually keep a bunch looking good for two weeks.

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.

Adrienne Breaux

House Tour Editor

Adrienne loves architecture, design, cats, science fiction and watching Star Trek. In the past 10 years she’s called home: a van, a former downtown store in small town Texas and a studio apartment rumored to have once been owned by Willie Nelson.

Follow Adrienne