Is there anything cooler than a classic Brooklyn brownstone? Beyond the iconic brick façade, the appeal lies in the elegant architectural moldings, spacious design, and period accents. The demand is so high for these historic brick row houses that it’s sparked a brownstone bonanza, and prices have skyrocketed in the trendy Brooklyn boroughs of Cobble Hill and Park Slope. And we can see why. They have the ultimate curb appeal and stylish interiors to match. Hip Brooklynites have been lounging on the ornamental stoops of these heritage homes for generations, but you don’t have to be a local to experience this sophisticated look. Scroll down for a few tips on how to create this cultivated, eclectic style at home.
There’s nothing quite like the transformative power of luxurious lighting. From the classic crystal-cut styles to the edgy sputniks, chandeliers seriously elevate any room, and Brooklyn brownstones are renowned for them. They add an air of sophistication or an eclectic modern vibe to the intricate crown molding details on the ceiling. There are two ways to mimic this look in your home: A crystal chandelier will give it that traditional brownstone look, or a contemporary fixture will add a strikingly modern feel. Both options are equally lust-worthy.
We like to think of accent chairs as “the statement shoes of a room.” If you want to add allure or make a dramatic statement, these stylish seats are your go-to. Aside from lighting, accent chairs are one of the most striking ways to add color and visual interest to any space. For the Brooklyn brownstone look, add a cool midcentury modern piece such as the Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair; we guarantee it will be the talk of the room.
If we had to pick the most iconic décor item that defines the Brooklyn Brownstone interior style, it would have to be the mirror. Throw a gilded French floor mirror into the living room or a ceiling-grazing style above the fireplace and you'll have the look nailed.
Let’s be honest: Decorating with color can be daunting even for the most skilled interior designer, but thankfully, the brownstone look is geared toward the color-averse. Mastering neutrals is simple because most of these shades go together without any clash or fuss. Minimalists, rejoice—and then mix and match to your heart’s content.
Now that you have all your quintessential pieces, it’s time to pull them together. Enter the humble rug. This interior staple is in every designer’s tool kit for its unique ability to bring any space to life. Use a rug to add texture, pattern, color, and personality to your neutral brownstone room and watch it va-va-voom.
While we love to shop for new designer pieces, we can’t resist the history and patina of vintage. These rare, one-of-a-kind treasures seriously amplify any interior with that enviable high/low mix. Besides, shopping for vintage antiques is half the fun. From those hole-in-the-wall emporiums and secondhand markets to our favorite online curators and, of course, Craigslist, we love to trawl them all. For that classic brownstone look, mix different vintage chairs with a modern marble table in the dining room, or blend multiple eras and pair some French chairs with a modern coffee table. The fun is in the experimentation.
A brownstone wouldn’t be complete without art. These original and unique works are quintessential to the Brooklyn look. Why? Just like your clothing says something about your personality, wall art speaks volumes about your interior’s identity. To get the look, create a gallery wall of your favorite photographs and framed children’s drawings, or hang a large-scale abstract painting of your favorite local artist.
Every brownstone has a bookshelf or two brimming with the spines of its owners’ favorite authors, poets, and scholarly scribes. Not only does it add charisma to your space, but it also makes the greatest accent wall ever! It injects much-needed personality and color to the mostly neutral space, creating an intriguing vibe. We promise you’ll want to dwell here for hours. If you don’t have an entire wall to dedicate to your love of literature, then you can still achieve this look on a smaller scale with just as much style. Invest in a stylish bookcase that fits the room, and make sure it’s brimming with literary masterpieces and conversation-starting spines.
Is any brownstone complete without a freestanding bath? There’s something so nostalgic and magical about these clawfoot waterholes that dial our dream-o-meter into overdrive. This historic bathtub contrasts beautifully with the old-world feel of a brownstone home. Even if you don’t have the architectural detailing and period moldings in your own home, this signature piece will re-create the look—just make sure you include antique brass bathroom taps and era-specific hardware.
What do you love most about the Brooklyn brownstone style? Do you have any tips for re-creating this look at home? Share them below.