Sep 13

Katie’s Eclectic Room Makeover / The Evolution of my Roommates’ Room

I’m very fortunate to have had many wonderful roommates in my life. I’ve lived in my current apartment for 3 years and for one reason or another, my dear roommates keep leaving NYC and moving out. (It’s not because of me, I swear!) Every time a new person moves in, the big  sun-filled room completely transforms.

As a designer, I’m fascinated by how my roommates choose to arrange and decorate their room. This photo was taken shortly after I signed the lease and prepared to show the room to prospective new roomies.

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My first roommate’s room. Musical instruments, board games, books.

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My second roommate’s room. Art, incense, paper mache alligator costume.

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My third roommate’s room. Books, fish, super comfy reading chair.

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My fourth roommate, Katie’s room! When she transitioned from her old studio in Williamsburg to my place in Fort Greene, she was overwhelmed by the stuff piled everywhere, work, and life. She had big plans to make the room pretty, but just never got around to it.

A few months later, she left the city for the summer to clear her head just as Andrea came to NYC to work on Project Runway with me. We spent a lot of time in Katie’s room and decided that it could really use a face lift. The layout was awkward, the paint hadn’t been touched up in years, and it didn’t reflect her fun and funky personality at all. While Katie was gone, Andrea and I devised an elaborate plan to give her a surprise room makeover. We used all her existing furniture, some fun accessories that I had lying around, and just $250 to turn this room into a gem.

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Temporary wallpaper panel! We added hooks so she could hang her precious scarves.

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Because my old roommates had always put their bed against the short wall, we wanted to drastically change the floor plan.

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I LOVE this yellow urn. It’s from Brooklyn Flea. I bought the mirror for $5 off my neighbors.

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Centering the bed on the windows made the room look much more elegant. The blue dresser was painted green.

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My friend Anna gave me these stools that we painted bright orange-red.

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I painted this pattern over the fireplace. God, I love geometry. The crazy metal sculpture is from a TV show I worked on.

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Fleur-des-lis for her home, New Orleans. <3

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This girl’s scarf collection is off the hook!

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Andrea. Katie. Me.

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If you live in LA and need some decorating assistance, contact Andrea! She’s a superstar.

Posted by Jen at 10:08 pm


  1. Anonymous says:

    The room looks great!

  2. JMeksavan says:

    im amazed at how moving around the furniture can really change the feel of the room. it looks awesome!

    – jess m

  3. Rick says:

    Chu lady, you are amazing. I wish I had half your talent!!

  4. rosie says:

    amazing! can you please do my place next??? :D

  5. Amazing? When are you coming to my place? I have a clean canvas for you to play with ;) You do such beautiful work. Keep it up lady!

  6. kyle says:

    Great work on a tiny budget! Looking forward to seeing the next redesign… maybe my room?

  7. you ladies look stunning! great job on the room!

  8. Wendy says:

    Looks amazing!!! How fun to see the room transform…and I’m shocked that, up until you repainted, my purple walls remained. Guess other people share my bad tastes and room organization skills (with the beds always in the small nook) hahaha! You are so talented, I love what you do with space : )

  9. Jen Chu says:

    Wendy! Actually it took me and Andrea HOURS to remember that putting the bed between the windows was even an option. I remember when you first moved in, I mentioned that was a possibility, but I got so used to seeing the bed in the nook that I forgot. Miss u mucho, lady!

  10. jenqiu says:

    Hello! I was browsing and found your blog. My name is Jen Chiu I do public relations Los Angeles and write, but I always say that if I were to do life over again, I’d launch a career in design. I love your style! Thought it was so funny and uncanny that I found you. My boyfriend even says we look similar…

  11. Anonymous says:

    Wow, you have a real gift for interiors keep up the amazing work!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Where did you get those temp wall paper panels? they are pretty!

  13. Lonnie says:

    wow, this is beautiful! where is the stand up desk from? i need one in my home , right now.

  14. Lonnie says:

    ah, i saw on apartment therpay its from crate and barrel!

  15. Jackie says:

    Stunning room! Where is the Parsons chair from?

  16. JEN CHU says:

    Thanks for all the kind words!

    Parsons chair is from Target. Wall paper panel…can’t remember. I’ve had it lying around for years. I’ll let you know if it comes to me…

  17. hbella says:

    How about that leaning desk? It is awesome, just what I need for my daughter’s room!!

  18. Jen Chu says:

    Leaning desk is from Crate & Barrel

  19. sunny says:

    It’s so beautiful! Pretty much a perfect bedroom!

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