A New Home (and a New Bed)

Caroline's New Apartment

Last fall — just months after I swore I’d never move again — I had to move to a new apartment (long story). This time around, I painted walls, hung art, installed shelves, and took every step imaginable for a fresh start. So, when the online mattress company Leesa asked if I’d like to try a new mattress, the answer was an obvious yes…

Caroline's New Apartment

Of all my NYC apartments (and there have been a lot!) this one feels the most like “me.” When you’ve set up close to a dozen spaces in as many years, you get a pretty good sense of what makes you happy. In my case: fully embracing maximalism.

Caroline's New Apartment

Some things, like my signature wall-of-books, remained the same…

Caroline's New Apartment

Other things, like the dramatic paint color, were more of an experiment.

Caroline's New Apartment

But when it comes to a fresh start, you know what’s even more effective than burning candles or lighting sage? A new bed.

Leesa Mattress

Every Leesa mattress is delivered in a compact box. You just pull it out, unroll it, and watch it inflate to regular mattress size.

Leesa mattress

Six-pound Mia (a connoisseur of comfort) immediately jumped on it and refused to leave. It’s officially her new favorite spot.

Brooklyn One Bedroom

Since I’ve kept a lot of the same furniture over the years, it feels especially nice to have a fresh, new bed. And unlike my previous mattress-buying experience — which involved an annoying hour with a pushy mattress salesperson — you can order Leesa mattresses entirely online.

Caroline's New Apartment

I had the world’s WORST cold when we took these photos, but after sleeping on my Leesa for the past week, I now feel more rested than ever. Every mattress has a layer of comfy memory foam, as well as a layer of foam that’s specially designed to keep you cool, which makes for an amazing night’s sleep.

Caroline's New Apartment

Leesa gives you 100 nights to try out the mattress, and shipping is always free. Plus, for every ten mattresses sold, they’ll donate one to a shelter. My comfy new bed has been a game-changer, and I’d definitely recommend it.

Special offer from Leesa: The first 50 readers to buy a mattress will get $75 off their order. Just enter code CUPOFJO at checkout. Thank you so much, Leesa!

P.S. My last apartment, and 14 tips for living in a small space.

(Photos by Tory Williams for Cup of Jo. This post is sponsored by Leesa, a brand we love and use in our homes. Thanks for supporting the brands that help keep Cup of Jo running.)

  1. Sarah says...

    Seriously. These shoes. Amazing.

  2. Mimi says...

    Love the shelves!! Wondering if you know the type of wood and thickness you used? Thank you!

  3. Wendy says...

    Love your apartment. What is the paint color?

  4. Alex says...

    I adore the floral dress hanging in your bedroom! Where is it from? You should do a post about your own wardrobe and style!

  5. Meg says...

    Your place looks gorgeous! Yet another sourcing question: where did you get the patterned rug under the cowhide? I’ve been looking for something subtle but with a little pop of color for a long time! Thank you!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s from West Elm. I’ve been really happy with it!

  6. vanessa says...

    Hi Caroline! stunning place, the colors are amazing!!! I really like the wall art above the couch (in the first picture), where is it from?

  7. Shannon says...

    Where did you find you bedding? Beautiful house!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thanks! All of the bedding is from a very exclusive linen shop known as… Target. ;) I’ve been really happy with it.

  8. Megan says...

    Hi Caroline—apartment looks amazing! Where did you get the reading lamp attached to your headboard? Thanks! Meg

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s from Ikea.

  9. Hello Caroline!
    Your apartment is amazing! So inspirational! I love all your candles and perfumes and trinkets. Would you mid sharing where did you get the beautiful ceramic hand with the blue flower print? It’s so intriguing and amazing…

    We share the love for Fornasetti candles!!

    Thank you very much for sharing!
    xxx
    Marina

  10. What a stunning apartment. Those open-shelving packed to the brim with books look so so amazing!

  11. jealous here!! love it! I want something like this too!!! :D

  12. Meg says...

    Ummm your place is AMAZING! I’m so impressed!!!

  13. Ashley says...

    I HAVE to ask–what kind of shelving is that?? I LOVE the floating natural wood and would love to do something similar in my house!

    • priscilla says...

      Hey! I believe they are not floating shelfs. They look like standard shelf brackets (in black perhaps?) but you can’t see them because of the dark wall color and all those books :)

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Hi Ashley! Thank you! I made the shelves myself (with the help of handyman) using lumber and track shelving from Home Depot. If you scroll down, I went deeper into the nitty-gritty in a couple past comments. :)

  14. Korin says...

    My fiance and I recently moved into our first apartment together, and wanted a king sized mattress. I’d heard about Leesa before (here at Cup of Jo!), and there was a promo for your readers going on, so we decided to give it a shot. And, we are in LOVE. We have such different needs when it comes to sleeping, that I was worried this mattress would be a compromise for one of us, but miraculously, it’s not. He prefers the extremely soft, sponge-like feel of memory foam, but I have scoliosis and need a little more support. We’ve been sleeping on it for about 3 weeks now and honestly, I have never slept better, and we’re never going back. Thank you guys for featuring this mattress and starting our marriage off on the right side of the bed! ;)

  15. I moved across the world from London to Sydney and straight in with my boyfriend last year and have been trying to figure out how to insert a bit of me into a space which feels very him. We have black leather sofas very similar to yours and it is awesome to see them look so stylish with the sheepskin rugs slung over the back and arm. They perfectly break up the dark, hard lines and bring a softness to the piece.

    Thanks for the idea!

  16. Karen says...

    Hey Caroline hey hi… Where is the gold arch lamp from next to the couch? I really like it and your standing Buddha figure. Also, your apartment is rad as hell. Go maximalism!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! The floor lamp is from West Elm.

  17. Elizabeth says...

    Where did you get the picture of the man putting the hat on the lady? I love it! I love your whole apartment, it is amazing!

  18. Love, love ,love your design. Such character and elegance!

  19. Lauren says...

    Beyond intrigued by your two rug situation. This is a gorgeous apartment — the book shelf is very Carrie from SATC. When will SATC references ever get old? Never, I hope.

    Would love to see the kitchen in this beautiful apartment.

  20. Katie says...

    Where is the photo above the couch from? Love it!

  21. Rona says...

    I love your style. Maximalism all the way. I adore the fireplace screen, I never thought I would feel so strongly about one!

  22. lauren says...

    Caroline, I would LOVE to see your new apartment featured in a full tour! So many cool details here… it looks incredible!

  23. I love how you decorated your new place. And I never thought I’d say that about a space with dark walls…but it works, and it looks amazing :)

  24. Joy Strawbridge says...

    Caroline, your home is so. hot. Also, like a total creep, I zoomed in and looked at all your books… something I do every time I see a picture of a bookshelf! We have the same bookfriends in common: Zadie Smith, Meghan Daum, Joanna Rakoff, Sloane Crosley, Nicole Krauss, Patti Smith, Adelle Waldman!?! I think we’re reading soulmates :) Have you read Pulphead by John Jeremiah Sullivan? I think you would love it!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Hahaha, love it! No, I haven’t read it yet, but I’ll definitely check it out. xx

  25. It’s funny you mention your maximalist tendencies – I just wrote an article on simplicity & complexity, addressing minimalism specifically, it’s roots and psychological influences. While it’s built on good concepts, minimalism doesn’t ending of itself produce mindfulness. Maximalists can achieve this as well – they also tend to be more creative, take more risks and are comfortable in the face of uncertainty.

    Charitie
    Vis à Vis

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Wow, that’s fascinating (and rather comforting, too :) Thank you for sharing!

  26. the dark walls surprisingly make the living room look big, open, & airy, which is usually not the case! the great natural light also helps. so glad you’re enjoying your new place

    hammyta.wordpress.com

    • also, how was the move with all of your books? i’m moving in a few months and my book collection is getting a little intimidating…

  27. What a beautiful apartment! Fun to see your personality through your style. I have looked into Leesa but am nervous about making the leap. My husband and I typically have not loved memory foam mattresses when we went through the awkward mattress store charade. We bought a standard spring mattress about a month and a half ago (we can still return it) and haven’t been blown away. We still wake up a few times a night and it’s not like we are sleeping like the dead. ;) Any thoughts on how to know if Leesa will be a right choice? Have you always preferred memory foam? I know you can’t totally predict whether we like it, but would love the insight!

    • Julia says...

      I have a Leesa and love it — and did not previously like memory foam mattresses. The memory foam in the Leesa is only the middle layer, so you don’t get the weird persistent depressions in the surface, or the overheated feeling that at least I get on Tempurpedic and the like.

  28. Michelle says...

    Beautiful new space! The dramatic wall color is striking…I dig it.

  29. Nina says...

    Holy beautiful apartment! You could be a designer. Love it!

  30. Lindsay says...

    Caroline, thank you for sharing your home! As a fellow maximalist/moody color-lover, your space makes me feel so reassured to continue going with my gut color-wise:)

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes!! The best palette is whatever makes you happy. :)

  31. Caroline’s new home is so unbelievably beautiful! I’ve always had light, bright walls, but I’m enjoying these dark hues more than I imagined I would. It’s so beautifully decorated.

  32. I got my daughter a new mattress and I want the same. It’s 100% organic, made with natural latex and covered with natural fibers. It is SO comfortable, and I don’t have to worry about off-gassing from petroleum-based foams. It was made to order in France: Gepo is the company.
    francetaste.wordpress.com

  33. Cris says...

    That is the exact coffee table that I have been looking for–I’ve only been able to find a similar one in wood or black. I’m surprised no one else has asked about it! Please, oh please, where did you find it?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      It’s from Organic Modernism, which has the most amazing furniture. I lucked out and bought it as a floor sample a year ago!

  34. You have great taste, a very grown up apartment!! x

  35. Love the living room! Love you house! :)

  36. Meg says...

    I live in Australia and bought an Ecosa mattress six weeks ago which is a similar thing to Leesa and about the same price. Winner! And our backs no longer hurt from our old saggy spring mattress…

  37. Rebecca says...

    Oh my goodness, the corgi painting! Where is it from??? So happy you are a corgi lover! We have a 2 year old one named Butters. :)

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      It’s by an artist named Earl (just Earl, no last name), who you can usually find on Warren Street in Hudson, New York. A bunch of the local stores in the area also sell his work. If you’re ever in that neighborhood, seek him out! He mostly paints dogs. :)

  38. Tamsin says...

    Did you know that in the UK you would never decorate a rented flat? If it needed redecorating it would be the landlord’s responsibility and unless you had specific permission (good luck getting it) you would not get away with painting walls a dark colour! Always surprises me when I read about people decorating rented apartments on the blog…

  39. Kirsten Springer says...

    I love your apartment Caroline! I also love reading your stories– it seems like you’ve had more posts lately. You have a different voice than Jo, so usually I can tell immediately that it is you :)

  40. Ava says...

    Caroline, I don’t see any info on the paint color besides that it’s from Behr. Can you specify? Thanks! Ava

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes, of course! The color is Poppy Seed, and I chose the matte finish.

  41. I dream of having a wall of books like that whenever I decide to stay in one country long enough. One of these days…

  42. Chloe says...

    Love the glass coffee table! Where did you find it?

  43. maximalist. lol. i love your apartment (and your writing).

  44. You guys sure do know how to do a sponsored post–I don’t even care that it’s sponsored because I wanna see Caroline’s apartment! Also, will I ever be such a grownup that I will have a cohesive interior style??

  45. Maria says...

    your brass based coffee table is killer. Where’s it from?

  46. Stephanie says...

    I ordered a king size Leesa a year ago, and I absolutely love it! We have it set up on a bed from Ikea with wooden slats and no box spring, and it works great. The process of buying, receiving, and setting it up was so simple. I always think it’s awkward to lay on mattresses in furniture stores anyway.

  47. I have seen your apartment on Instagram and I love the moody colors. That is what everybody is doing nowadays and i really like it. I painted my own walls a dark gray, for example.
    Also, I wouldn’t call your style minimalist, but I really love it too.

    • Jaime says...

      Well she did say she fully embraced maximalism, not minimalism!

    • bisbee says...

      Actually, Caroline said she was fully embracing maximalism, not minimalism.
      Makes more sense, doesn’t it?

  48. Nicole says...

    The new digs look great! I totally hear you about moving again. It’s six months away, I’m ready for it but also dreading it.

  49. Adrie says...

    Lovely! Where are those clogs from?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      No. 6! xx

  50. Colleen says...

    If I looked that good with a cold, I would be extraordinarily happy. My nose swells when I have colds and I just look miserable.

  51. Jillian says...

    You’re gorgeous, cold and all!

  52. Jam says...

    WOW, this is amazing! Caroline, can you share where you got the green metal closet thing in your bedroom? Looks great and very practical. So curious, would love to dig one up for myself somewhere. Love your place!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s actually an old metal locker, which I found at a vintage furniture store in Brooklyn. (Not so fun to move, but totally worth it!)

  53. Yes for embracing maximalism! I just made the realization, after trying unsuccessfully to become a minimalist, that I am a maximalist. Obviously with things I like, but I love being surrounded by tons of things.

  54. whitney says...

    Where did you get the photo/poster of the desert with the detour sign? I love it!

  55. danielle says...

    your headboard is amazing. did you buy it or make it?

  56. Love the paint color. Did you use Poppy Seed in all the photos? The first image looks bluer. In the midst of painting a house too…

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes, it’s all Poppy Seed! In low lighting, it looks very dark and in bright lighting it looks more navy. I think the first image looks bluer because of the sunlight.

  57. Hey Caroline! Love your apartment. Where did you get that awesome framed desert photo pictured in the first photo? Would love to get something like it.

    Thanks!
    kb.

  58. Jenny says...

    Would love to know source of the navy bedspread and black leather couch–have been on the hunt for something similar in each category! Many thanks!

    • Lex says...

      I think the navy bedspread/duvet is from Target as I’ve had my eye on it for a while. I’ll probably get it this weekend:)

    • marilyn says...

      the bedspread is from target. :) I have the same one.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Indeed, the bedspread is from Target, and the black leather couch is from Ikea.

  59. Ella says...

    Where did you get the painting of the man (in stripes) & dog? Love your apartment.

  60. Jen says...

    “fully embracing maximalism” I love it! Gorgeous apartment. So many beautiful pieces. Thanks for sharing!

  61. Kimberly says...

    I love the Be Calm print! Where is it from? Also love your bedding. Thanks!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s by Louise Bourgeois, purchased at LACMA years ago. But if you do a Google search with her name, it looks like it’s still available at other places! xx

  62. Wow, Caroline! Your apartment is beyond amazing! I would love to hear about your favorite parfumes and candles someday!

    Love,
    Marina

  63. Erin Chapman says...

    This space is so good it makes me mad. I say that in a loving way. :) *Someday* I’ll have a well-curated place of my own too but it’s nice to live vicariously in the meantime.

  64. Zoe says...

    Caroline – how do you find a good handyman in the city? I’m dying to change out my overhead fixture for a pendant lamp, but I’m too nervous about electricity and wiring to do it myself. And I don’t want to hire someone who will do a bad job and get me in trouble with my landlord! Thoughts?

    • Jaime says...

      Check out the post from the other day about their favorite Apps. I think one of them was an app for finding handy-people!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes, I found my beloved handyman through the app Thumbtack. I plugged in that I needed someone to install track shelving, hang curtains, etc. and a bunch of people responded with quotes. If you’re nervous about wiring, I’m sure you can find someone skilled on there!

  65. katie says...

    Another comment on the shelves – that’s what we want in our new home!! Thanks for sharing that they are homemade from wood and track shelving. Did you just show up at Home Depot with a picture…? For the very, very, naive about such things, how did you start? Thank you!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I started with a measurement of the wall to see how wide the shelves should be. Then I figured out that I wanted around a foot of space between each shelf (to accomodate books large and small), and divided the height of the wall by 12 to see how many shelves there should be. From there, I went to Home Depot and bought lumber with my specifications (they’ll cut it for you) and enough track shelving so that it would run along the length of the wall on either side of each shelf. I also bought enough brackets (which plug into the tracks and hold each shelf up) so I would have two per shelf. Then I was like, handyman, take it away! It would probably help to take a picture of the whole operation to Home Depot and have them show you where to find the components. They can also recommend what type of anchors you’ll need to install it — my advice is to buy the very big butterfly ones with the long, plastic tails. Hope that helps!

  66. Where did you find this apartment in NYC?!?!?! Also the navy is amazing, the books are amazing…I’m in love with all of it!! Beautiful decor!

  67. Nicole says...

    For someone who was sick with a cold, you sure looked great! I was thinking “she’s so pretty, what a nice smile” while reading this post. Your apartment looks great, by the way. Thanks for sharing!

  68. KT says...

    Was going to ask about the platform, but you answered that above. That’s exactly the type of bed I am considering changing to–mattress on a platform, low to the ground.

    Where did you get the tie-dyed headboard? Very cool. Did you make it or buy it? Thanks.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I bought it last year, from Urban Outfitters!

  69. Last week I moved for the 3rd time in 2 years and treated myself to a new memory foam mattress. My two small dogs have barely moved off the mattress since it arrived and unrolled. I have this story in my head where they think I bought them a huuuge dog bed and at night they let me sleep on it too. :) The new apartment looks great! Cheers to new beginnings.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Hahaha, what is it about small dogs and memory foam mattresses? Warms my heart.

  70. abigail says...

    Where did you get the bookshelves?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      They’re homemade! (More about them in the comments below.)

  71. Ewa says...

    Love the living room! The dramatic colour of the wall is brilliant!!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you!

  72. I ordered a memory foam mattress from Overstock and it is amazing! It came right to my house, was easy to set up, and super affordable. To answer one of the previous questions, my frame has a plywood base, without a box spring and it works great for these type of mattresses!

  73. jane says...

    So which one is better- Leesa or Casper? Cup of Jo has sponsored posts on both.

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hi Jane,

      So far we’ve only tested Leesa!

      Stella xx

    • I’ve tested a Casper, a Tuft & Needle, and a Love Bed. Most of the online mattress companies only offer medium firmness mattresses. The medium firmness is *awful*. So we purchased a Love Bed in ‘soft firmness’ and it’s heaven!

    • marilyn says...

      we just purchased one from saatva about a month ago. the luxury firm. it was an investment, but we have never slept better!

  74. May I just say, in this Pinterest world we live in where almost every interior looks the same (white washed, painfully minimal, void of any personality, lots of plants) it is so nice to see your apartment! I love how it’s eclectic yet masculine. Your tie-dye bed frame is rad too. Great post Caroline!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! xx

  75. I love your place! A dark wall colour always sounds scary to me but you’ve made it work really well, and that wall of books is so fun.

  76. Betsy says...

    So I was already a huge fan of you and your writing, but now I see evidence that you might be a corgi person?! You’re the bee’s knees! Also, great rug.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      YES to Corgis. Just five minutes ago, I sent my friend a screenshot of a Corgi butt as posted on @thecorgiworld’s Instagram…

  77. Meghan says...

    Where did you get your freaking awesome skin rugs?!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Ikea!

  78. Crystal says...

    Love your shelving! Would you mind sharing your source?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thanks! They’re homemade (details in the comments below).

  79. LOVE CAROLINE. This space is SO LOVELY. Thank you for sharing!!! Your style is ON POINT.

  80. Alex says...

    Awesome place!! Please share details on your floating book shelves, homemade/purchased? The color and style is just what I have been searching for!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Homemade! They’re just lumber paired with black metal track shelving, all from Home Depot. I had them installed by a delightful handyman, who recommended which hardcore anchors to use to handle the weight of all those books.

  81. Joy Goodwin says...

    Ok your apartment is obviously fabulous and I am glad the bed worked out for you….but I MUST know where your amazing leopard clogs are from?!

    • Maggie says...

      YES! Tell us where the clogs are from! :)

  82. sarah says...

    i have a leesa and it has changed my life! seriously. i had no idea that i woke up a lot in the night and my entire body was always achy. after a week on my new leesa i was better rested than i have been since before kids and my aches and pains – vanished! i will be buying these mattresses to replace all of the mattresses in my house once they all head south. this company is awesome.

  83. Rachel says...

    Hello, hive mind! I am actually shopping for a new mattress right now, so this is super timely. Has anyone tried out some of the other online mattress companies — particularly Loom & Leaf and Casper? I’m looking at Leesa as well but would like something with more natural, non-toxic components. I have become a bit of a hippie about these things since having kids…

    Love the paint in the apartment, by the way! It must have taken some guts, but it turned out great.

    • I have an Essentia – non-toxic. Expensive, but non-toxic plant-based foam…

  84. I love the idea of these mattresses. As you said, it’s nice to order online without having to deal with salespeople at mattress stores. In fact, my last mattress-buying experience was a disaster–the mattresses are like bricks and didn’t feel that way in the store! I need new ones for two twin beds in my home and will definitely consider these. Thank you!

  85. Wow, I absolutely dying over the navy walls! I wanted to go blood when we moved into our new home last year – but after much negotiation we ended up with nearly all beige and sand colored walls – with a purple kitchen at least! Thank god for colorful accent pillows! I applaud your bravery and stylish eye!

    Xoxo http://www.touchofcurl.com

  86. May says...

    Hi Caroline~in your opinion, do you need a box spring for a Leesa mattress, or could one just put the mattress straight on a flat, wooden futon platform (with slats)? Thanks for this recommendation!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes, you definitely could put it on a slatted wooden platform! Leesa says their mattresses work on any solid or slatted foundation.

  87. Ella says...

    Love the pic Caroline! I must ask… on top of Caroline’s wardrobe (bottom photo) and hanging from a plant or something in a previous instargam post by Joanna about “what books are you reading” is a gold pyramid… what is that!? strange it’s never been mentioned, it’s usually the sort of things you girls would say “look what we’re trying out/have found” …or something along those lines! Tell us!