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The One Room Designer Emma Beryl Will Never Forget

Living room with neutral accents.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

Interior designers and other experts in the home industry work on an impressive number of spaces throughout their careers. But even if some of the makeovers and redesigns start to blend together after a few years, there are some rooms that are just truly unforgettable. 

So, to give designers a chance to revisit their favorite projects—and to bring you plenty of inspiration for your own home—we’re sharing the one room these pros will remember forever. For some, there’s a sentimental connection, for others, there was an obstacle they never thought they’d overcome. But no matter what, these rooms are worth remembering.

Designer Emma Beryl is no stranger to beautiful interiors. Known for her bright and personalized designs, Beryl has made transforming drab rooms into warm, welcoming spaces her business. However, there’s one room that will always hold a special place in her heart and aesthetic—a small New York City living room filled with beautiful design elements and memories. 

“I have so many memories in this space because it was our own living room in Brooklyn,” Beryl explains. “Living in a small—even by NYC standards—apartment, the living room is where we spent most of our time, and I’ll always remember it as the space where we took our daughter home from the hospital.” 

I always gravitate towards warm neutrals, and I really love the way that this space felt light and bright but still warm, comfortable, and layered.

Beryl says that what initially drew her to the apartment in the first place was the natural light in the living room and its wood-burning fireplace. “I knew when I was designing this space that I wanted the fireplace and the built-in next to it to really stand out as a feature and that I wanted the space to feel very comfortable and relaxing,” she says. 

Overview of living room.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

The entire two-bedroom apartment was under 600 square feet, so Beryl says it was important to maximize function and storage in every possible way.

“The living room has a high ceiling, which makes it feel a little bit larger, but it doesn’t really have a place for any hidden storage besides a single cabinet beneath the bookcase,” she explains. “One way I snuck storage into the space was purchasing a slipcovered sofa—we actually hid folding chairs under it so that if anyone ever came over for dinner, we could pull the dining table out of the corner and seat more people.”

Corner of living room with chair.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

To ensure the room felt airy and bright, Beryl chose a palette of warm, creamy neutrals. “The walls are Benjamin Moore Cloud Cover and the trim is Distant Gray,” she says. “I’ve used this combination in several projects now because Cloud Cover has a depth and richness to it that allows it to read gray or taupe-y or almost white depending on the lighting and time of day, and Distant Gray is a really crisp white that compliments it well.”

For visual interest, she used different textiles throughout the room to forge a layered effect. “I always gravitate towards warm neutrals, and I really love the way that this space felt light and bright but still warm, comfortable, and layered,” she explains. 

Fireplace mantel with wicker basket next to it.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

To play up the pre-war charm of the living room, Beryl opted for simple décor accents and organic elements that allowed the decorative molding in the space to shine.

“I love little details in a space that help to tell a story about it,” she explains.  “I especially loved the wood-burning fireplace with the decorative mantle and slate hearth—even just having the firewood in the rattan wood-holder added a layer of coziness to the space.” 

Side view of fireplace mantel.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

To help open up a cramped corner in the living room, Beryl mounted a mirror over a bulky radiator. “It reflected some of the view from outside making that space feel less closed in,” she explains.

However, her favorite piece in the room is an antique Oushak area rug she scored at NOLA Rugs while visiting New Orleans. “Depending on how the light hits it, it can look either gray-blue or silvery beige and has a lot of detail to it,” she says. “It’s really like a piece of art.”

Living room with neutral accents.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

To protect her bright white sofa from spills and stains, Beryl used a slipcover that could quickly be replaced if necessary. “I learned firsthand that even with a baby, you can keep a white sofa white,” she says. “The upholstery was a performance fabric, so it could be wiped down really easily, and since it’s white and slipcovered, we could always bleach it if something stained really badly.”

Entry view of living room.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

To draw attention to the living room’s intricate ceiling medallion, Beryl hung an eye-catching vintage crystal chandelier that belonged to the previous owners of the apartment.

“It added such a beautiful, soft, sculptural element into the space and felt true to the pre-war characteristics of the building,” she explains. 

Eating nook with wooden chairs.

Design: Emma Beryl; Photo: Nick Glimenakis

Beryl also made sure to keep the furniture lines simple and streamlined, especially in the dining nook, where she employed dining chairs with open frames that created the illusion of more space. 

“I really wouldn’t change a thing about this living room," she says. "We loved living in this space and it was perfect for our family at the time. It was also a great project for me to get to put some of my small space tactics to practical use, and I learned a lot from that perspective.”