In my mind, Kathleen Kelly, the character played by Meg Ryan in the ‘90s classic You’ve Got Mail, has practically become synonymous with all things autumn. Given how much the Nora Ephron film romanticizes this time of year in New York City, the association is only natural. And the movie certainly isn’t an exaggeration: Anyone who’s visited Manhattan during the fall months knows how magical the city is when the weather turns crisp and piles of pumpkins appear outside every corner store. As soon as the temps dip below 70, I simply want to be Kathleen and live in her New York—and I know I’m not alone in that feeling!
While I actually do live in Manhattan, I definitely don’t reside in a spacious brownstone on the Upper West Side like Kathleen, nor do I plan on giving up my freelance writing job to open a children’s bookstore. But that’s OK: this season, I can still embrace my inner Kathleen through my interior decor. Any You’ve Got Mail fan knows that Kathleen’s apartment is majorly cozy and charming, so let’s take a page out of her book (pun absolutely intended) and borrow some inspiration from her NYC pad, shall we?
If you ask me, this is the perfect time of year for a little nesting anyway. Go ahead and give your space a bit of extra love before chillier weather sets in and all you want to do is snuggle up on the sofa with a mug of tea and your favorite comfort read. Below are eight simple ways to make your apartment feel a bit more like Kathleen’s UWS nest.
1. Adorn simple white shelves with your favorite books
Being the owner of a bookstore, Kathleen is obviously an avid reader. Her living room is filled with bookshelves that house all of her beloved novels, making this a key part of her aesthetic. Proudly display all of the titles you own on simple white bookshelves—after all, the books’ colorful spines will do the talking. Kathleen’s shelves are cubby-like, just like these.
2. Add cottage charm to the living room with a wicker chair
Wicker chairs aren’t just for the front porch, we promise. Kathleen has one sitting prominently in her living room, and we love the charming touch it adds to her space (our girl was clearly decades ahead of the cottagecore trend!). You’ll most certainly come across wicker chairs at vintage and antique stores, but if you’re looking to scoop one up in just a click, the below styles have got you covered.
3. Anchor your space with a striped headboard
While rewatching You’ve Got Mail the other weekend, I couldn’t help but notice just how cozy Kathleen’s bed looked. Her patchwork quilt and pile of throw pillows just scream comfort, so it’s no wonder she likes to plop down there and tune out the world after a stressful day of dealing with Joe Fox! However, what stuck out to me the most was Kathleen’s adorable striped headboard. While hers is somewhat shabby chic in style, I like the idea of embracing this look with a more contemporary-looking piece, like one of the headboards below. Stripes are a tried and true classic that will continue to be popular for years to come.
4. Use a classic wooden chest to store clothes
Any small space dweller understands the importance of prioritizing furniture that serves multiple functions. Kathleen perfectly demonstrates this with the wooden, vintage-looking dresser in her bedroom, which doubles as a vanity and looks right at home in her prewar apartment. Wooden chests truly never go out of style, and they’ll only get better with age. Down the line, you can always use one as an entryway table or bar cabinet if you wish.
5. Use a wooden table as a desk
In lieu of a traditional desk with drawers, why not turn a weathered-looking wooden table into your workstation? Kathleen often types away to Joe while sitting at an oversized dining table-like piece of furniture. It’s always nice to have space to spread out when working from home, making a table of this size an optimal choice. Even if your apartment is small, you can still justify a piece like this one, as it can serve as your dining area by night.
6. Hang plates on the wall as decor
Hanging plates on the wall is granny-chic in the best way possible. First, take to your kitchen cabinet to see whether you already own any plates that are worth displaying as art. If not, flea markets and thrift stores are great places to find beautiful ceramic plates, but you can shop for them on Etsy, too. To display them, you could either create a gallery wall with plates in various sizes and styles or copy Kathleen and simply hang a pair of plates, with one positioned a few inches above the other. A set of hooks like these from Amazon makes it easy to turn any plate into a work of art.
7. Soften your sleep space with plenty of lamps
Rather than simply flipping on her overhead light switch and calling it a day, Kathleen knows to surround herself with lamps galore, which are much less harsh and add cozy ambiance to her bedroom. Don’t underestimate the power of a simple, non-fussy lamp like the one on Kathleen’s nightstand. Or go with a more statement-making piece that perfectly suits her cozy ’90s vibe.
8. Go big on florals with a flowery sofa
Kathleen is not one to shy away from floral prints, and neither should you. Over the past few years, floral sofas have been back in a major way thanks to the popularity of all things grandmillennial. You can even get the look without having to part with your existing couch by simply adding a slipcover on top.