THE ENTRY MAKEOVER Last year I moved into my first New York City home, a downtown apartment whose shiny new amenities, proximity to the subway, and natural light were impossible to pass up. The real gem of the unit, however, was its sizable entryway—an empty space that I wanted to turn into a foyer both functional and beautiful.
For makeover purposes, the good thing about my entry was that it was a true blank canvas. On the flip side, however, there was a serious lack of architectural pizzazz: no prewar details, wide-plank wood floors, classic moldings, or light fixtures to show off. At times it could feel cold and sterile. I knew I had to find pieces with patina and character to provide a lived-in feeling.
My main concern was to find small yet powerful pieces of furniture that would transform the entry into additional living space with room for entertaining. The first thing that caught my eye at HomeGoods was a brushed-bronze bar cart—perfect for enticing thirsty guests. I quickly spotted a narrow console table for old books and picture frames, a gold mirror for last-minute primping, and an accent chair and chinoiserie garden stool that could be used for additional seating. My most prized find of all was the overdyed rug that effortlessly warms the entire room.
Once the furniture was chosen, filling the space with small decor accessories was a breeze. A plaid wool throw found a home on the Lucite chair. A geometric lacquer box, tortoise tumblers, and a stack of peacock plates looked just right on the bar cart. And a wood bowl and wire basket add extra storage to the bottom shelf of the console.
The end result: an entryway not dominated by color but by texture; a space that successfully acts as an extension of my living room and kitchen. For me, it’s a place that I’m always happy to come home to—where I can stack the mail, set down my keys, and pour a drink at the end of a hectic day. —Sarah Jean Shelton
THE BEDROOM MAKEOVER The “Before” version of my Brooklyn bedroom served its purpose well enough. It had the essentials and a bit more. It was certainly full. But it had fallen victim to a common symptom of decorating exhaustion: After I’d spent countless hours tweaking the public spaces in my apartment, my bedroom had become a place to store castoffs. It definitely held the record for greatest amount of surviving college-era furnishings.
I was happy with the basics of the space. The charcoal-tone walls felt moody and enveloping, and the large furniture pieces were simple enough to have transitioned through numerous apartments and decorating phases. My DIY upholstered headboard, hefty white dresser, and two armchairs (both curbside finds) were staying put. Everything else? Fair game for a refresh.
Heading into my HomeGoods makeover, I had a handful of vibes in mind—old-school men’s club, derelict private library, bougie Alpine ski lodge—but mostly I wanted the room to feel worldly, eclectic, and lush. My shopping list included a large rug, a pair of bedside lamps, a vanity mirror, curtains, and anything that would spruce up my boring bedding.
At the store, I compiled a sort of 3-D mood board by laying out my rug of choice, a cushy Beni Ourain–inspired style, and piling all my finds on top of it. A pair of library lamps, a convex mirror, and a standing magnifying glass met the old-world requirement; faux-bone inlay trays and art prints reminiscent of African textiles set the well-traveled tone I was after. Finally, a printed quilt and curtains, a pompom-fringed throw, and two sweater-knit pillows added a layer of coziness. With the foundation in place, I brought in vintage items and family heirlooms from around the apartment to provide a bit of history. The completed space turned out a little bit boys’ club, a little bit global, a whole lot lush, and completely (thankfully!) done. —Mackenzie Schmidt