Carly Hill’s Brooklyn apartment is colorful, peppy, and whimsical—just like her Instagram grid! The self-employed influencer marketing pro has called New York City home for the past seven years, but she’s only recently relocated from Manhattan to Brooklyn with her two longtime roommates.
Hill’s well-curated bedroom does it all: The space reflects her love of fashion, media, and vibrant artwork, serves as both a productive space to spend the hours of 9 to 5, and is a zen zone in which to unwind in front of the TV before hitting the hay. Below, she chimes in about her design process, swoon-worthy closet, impressive collection of Vogue magazine issues, and much more.
Name: Carly Hill
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York
Square Footage: 1,200
You grew up in Michigan and moved to NYC after college—and still haven’t left! What inspired you to move to New York City, and what are some of your favorite aspects of living there?
Ever since middle school, I knew I wanted to work in the fashion industry, and to me, NYC was the only place to be for that. I tried a few different jobs within the industry, from event planning to PR to styling, and eventually ended up working in influencer marketing. New York is a tough place to live, but it is also so rewarding. I’ve had lots of incredible opportunities living here, but my favorite part is discovering new spots on long walks around the city. There is always something to do or see here, and I can truly say that in seven years of living here, I’ve never been bored!
You and your longtime roommates moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn last year. How did you settle upon your new neighborhood?
I never thought I would move to Brooklyn, but after spending the first six months of the pandemic in our tiny apartment, we knew we needed more space. We ended up doubling the size of our apartment when moving! Williamsburg has been such a fun change, mainly because almost all of our friends moved here this year too! It’s been fun to find our new favorite spots together, and I love how easy it is to get back into Manhattan when needed. This area feels much more like a neighborhood, which we didn’t really have in our old place. I definitely will be here for the years to come!
Everyone has different tastes and styles when it comes to design. How did you and your roommates approach decorating common areas like the living room and kitchen?
We all came together with different art prints and ideas we had to make it a collaborative design process. For us, we wanted to keep the space pretty neutral with fun pops of color from accessories like pillows, art, and the cookbooks in the kitchen!
How do you maximize space in your small living area?
When it came to designing our living room, we wanted to make sure it was as functional as possible. Our TV cabinet has lots of storage in it, and we also keep hidden baskets under the couch for blankets. We also have coffee tables in the corner that can easily be pulled out or tucked away when we need more space. Even with a bigger kitchen, my friends and I all still seem to find ourselves cuddled up and cozy in the living room!
Our bar cart is kept closest to the kitchen for easy access for cocktail making. We started Zoom cocktail hours early during the pandemic with our friends who live all over the country, and it’s been a fun tradition that we’ve kept going monthly.
The kitchen looks so intentional! I’d love to know more about how you added personality and function to this space.
All three of us love cooking, so having a kitchen that is fun and functional was important for us. One of my favorite details is our cookbook shelves, which display all of our cookbooks. Not only does it add color to the space, but we also actually use our cookbooks so much more now! Our favorites are The Defined Dish, Molly Baz’s Cook This Book, and Half Baked Harvest Super Simple.
Even if you live with close friends, it’s important to create a bedroom that serves as a sanctuary and showcases your personal style. What were some of your goals when designing this space?
A family friend once told me that when it comes to decorating, buy the things that make you happy, and that stuck with me when I was decorating my room. I wanted this space to be filled with my favorite things, from my matchbook and Vogue collections to my disco ball (that gives the best sparkle in the morning!). My bedroom is also my office, so making sure I had a space that felt calming, comfortable, and organized was key. I have lots of hidden storage—like black canvas bins under my bed—to keep visible only the things I want people to see. Everything slowly came together to create a fun, colorful space!
You have such beautiful white bedding. How on earth do you keep it clean?
My rules are no daytime clothes, shoes, or food on my bed—ever! The best feeling is taking a hot shower at the end of the day and jumping into my bed, so that always helps in keeping them extra clean!
What items have a permanent place on your bedside?
The TV remote (I fall asleep to Friends or Sex and the City every night—yes, it’s bad habit, I know), lip balm, and my latest needlepoint project.
You launched your own business early on during the pandemic—congratulations! What has it been like working for yourself?
Yes, thank you! Truly the biggest blessing in disguise was losing my job week one of the pandemic, as it led to me starting my own influencer marketing business that same month. It’s now coming up on two years, and I’ve never loved a job more than this. Being your own boss and a one-person show definitely has its challenges, but I love how I am able to build my own schedule and only work with people I want to work with. I have some incredible women as clients, and it’s been a fun journey seeing both my and their businesses grow!
You have such a great gallery wall above your desk. How did you approach designing it and where did you source your pieces?
Similar to my approach with my room overall, I’ve collected most of these pieces through the years because they just made me happy! My gallery wall is a mix of sentimental pieces and then also fun prints I found online.
Some of the pieces I used are Gray Malin prints of my favorite places (The Parker Palm Springs hotel, colorful umbrellas in Florida, and a beach print from my hometown in Northern Michigan), a framed matchbook of my great-grandpa’s restaurant from the 1960s, and a “CHILL pill” needlepoint project I made. I also added fun prints I found, like a Stevie Nicks poster, a Jennifer Ament piece I had my eyes on for years, a cheeky tennis print by SJ Johnson, and my JFK print I’ve had for a few years from Art.com.
The final touch was my Samsung Frame TV, to which I added a Palm Springs screensaver by my friend and photographer Allie Provost. As an avid TV watcher, I love how it blends in easily with my gallery wall and can go from TV to art with just one click!
Tell us about your collection of Vogue magazines. When did you start holding onto them?
I was given a subscription for my 16th birthday and just never got rid of them! I’ve always been someone who loves to flip through old magazines and save them, and somehow these just stuck and I couldn’t get rid of them. I love how organized and uniform they look on my shelves, and it feels so good to finally have the space to display them!
And we have to ask: How do you move all of these magazine issues?
My parents were not the happiest with me when I first moved to NYC and asked them to send a few boxes! And as my collection has grown, I’ve become very grateful for strong movers here who moved them to three different apartments!
The champagne corks on your shelf look so chic—is there a story there?
I always saved champagne corks from important events, such as my 21st birthday or new jobs or apartments, and I wanted to find a fun way to display them. I decided to frame all of the ones from each apartment I’ve lived in NYC and just used a shadowbox and wrote the date and place on it. It was a super easy DIY, and I love how they turned out! They’ve also become a favorite gift to give my friends for their special moments, too!
How did you approach styling your bookshelves? Is there a story behind the books?
I’ve collected coffee table books since I was about 15 and have loved growing my collection through the years. For this apartment, I decided to organize them by size and color, and I love how they pop against the white bookshelf. I also added personal touches to the bookshelf, like my extensive matchbook collection, a needlepoint pillow I made, and then some of my favorite candles.
That is a dream closet! How do you keep it organized?
Thank you! Not going to lie—the closet was a dream come true when we found this apartment. For hanging clothes, I switch out most of the items seasonally and organize by item type for easy searching. For all of my folded sweaters and sweatshirts, I organize by color, which just makes me happy to look at! I also love having my dresser in my closest so I have all of my clothes in one space. Finally, bins at the top are great for extra storage and storing seasonal pieces.
We also love your shoe collection. What are some of your faves?
Since I am taller, I would say I definitely reach for flats, so my biggest designer purchases when it comes to shoes have both been flats. My two-tone Chanel ballet flats were my first big designer purchase when I got a raise at my first job, and I still love how classic they are. I also love my black Gucci slide-on mules, which I for sure have gotten good use out of! I’m thinking of picking out a new pair in red for fall!
If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
Kim Kardashian. People love to hate on the Kardashians, but one thing is for sure: Those women are amazing businesswomen, especially Kim.
Go-to cocktail? Negroni
The one piece in your home you could never give up? My matchbook collection!