Nestled in Brooklyn, New York lives furniture designer Sophie Collé (opens in new tab) with her (very cute) cat. And they reside happily in a veritably uplifting palette of pink. Much like in her work (opens in new tab), Collé plays with "familiar colors and forms," paying tribute to her favorite city shades, artists, and designers in her home. This translates into a space that's very much a joyful representation of her skill and personality.
"It's an old loft space, which I have always wanted," says Collé. "The 8-foot-tall windows are what I fell in love with immediately." Those two features may have been the selling points of this rental but it still took a lot of creativity to get it to where it's at today.
Step into Sophie's World.
Where did your style inspiration come from?
Collé proves how your home can be anything and everything that you want it to be with a little perseverance. "A lot of my inspiration comes from the world around me," she says.
"Colors I see in New York and Miami, movie sets and TV shows from my childhood, toys, the life of Barbie and other characters, really anything that has humor or sparks joy, I try to incorporate into my work. My biggest direct inspirations are groups such as Memphis Milano (opens in new tab), Superstudio, Studio 65 (opens in new tab), Italian radical design at large, and artists such as Joan Miro, Calder, designers such as Nanda Vigo (opens in new tab), Jean Royère."
Collé's hand-painted cloud-like squiggles feature throughout her home and plenty of curves make it onto her furniture too. Many of these motifs were made by Collé herself. It allowed her to experiment with her skills but also keep costs down.
"I also love the colors of the Roccoco and Baroque fine art movements," she says. "Those clouds and pastel colors are to die for!"
Collé made the wiggle kitchen island above and then attached it to a pink IKEA Kalax unit, uniquely elevating her cooking space for way less than if she'd had bought it custom-made elsewhere. Collé says it was "the easiest island hack ever!"
How else did you keep costs down?
Aside from cute decorative accents like squiggle mirrors, colorful swirl candles, and houseplants, Sophie made some bigger edits to the space but always with her budget in mind, even if it meant holding out for longer than she wanted.
"I definitely worked in shifts and phases," she explains. "Since I was running my business at the same time, it couldn't happen all at once! Painting the house was relatively cheap, but filling it with all the vintage pieces I have now took time, but it was so worth it!"
Collé notes that she found her Art Deco couch on Facebook Marketplace for just $125, adding that she "saw the exact same couch for $900 on Instagram the next day." She was adamant about playing the waiting game, too. "I made sure to stick within a certain budget and if the pieces were too expensive, I patiently waited until I found something better," she says. "Doing all the labor myself was also a huge cost benefit, since I didn't have to hire any outside laborers or painters."
Were there any problems you had to face with the space when you moved in?
When you rent, it's pretty rare that your home is completely ready to go, so it's worth having an open conversation with your landlord ahead of moving in. Doing so will ensure you can make the changes you want for your home without any issues down the line. They may even do a lot of the work for you!
Collé had a couple of workarounds to factor in, notably a painted green chalkboard wall, which thankfully left the room when management kindly painted it white for her.
Faux plants were also left by previous tenants, which is an easier swap out for sure. Storage, however, was an issue. Collé says there was virtually none in her apartment, including "no closets!" That and she found there were very few outlets on the walls, pushing her to seek out clever solutions.
Another large design problem on her hands was the bathroom. She was unimpressed by the original state of the space. "The entire bathroom was floor-to-ceiling brown and gray tile," says Collé. "That had to go as soon as possible!" It was replaced with a white foundation and she added a perfect sprinkling of pink accents over top, including a sleek hot pink shower curtain and wavy bath mat.
What was a favorite home decor addition of yours?
As well as the cool column find and wiggle kitchen island creation, Collé chose glass block windows, which she was thrilled about. Though changes like this aren't the first thing that comes to mind when you're renting, they're often completely possible to do — just check with your building manager.
"It was an expansive wall that didn't receive the surplus of light that I have in this loft, and the glass blocks have let it flood through which is amazing," she says. "All my friends thought I was crazy for cutting into my walls but it was so worth it! The windows were even pretty affordable from Lowes (opens in new tab)."
Bright pops of contrasting color are weaved throughout Collés home. She's done this through artwork, plant pots, her own work on display, and even through little storage crates that are perfect for holding home office supplies or everyday knick-knacks.
So if you're renting a dull apartment or maybe your bedroom needs a major dose of dopamine, pay homage to Collé's space. Any place inspired by hers will serve up all the happy vibes you could ever want.