There’s nothing Lena Dunham creates that doesn’t bring us a little sense of wonder. She’s crazily creative, funny, clever, quirky, and provocative as well as incredibly driven—all the qualities we admire. Needless to say, when the creator, writer, and star of Girls invited us for a tour of her dressing room in New York, we jumped at the chance—eager to see what kind of dreamland both inspires and rejuvenates her during her downtime.
How Dunham spent her time in the pastel pink lounge is very simple, she tells us: “40% work, 30% nap, and 30% snack.” Spending as many as 18 hours a day at the studio, she wanted “desperately to be able to retreat, meditate, rewrite, secretly snack, and yes, nap HARD,” she says. “I also love gathering my castmates and writing staff, or just gossiping with my partner Jenni Konner.” To that end, she tasked her assistant and friend Liz Watson with helping her to create “a serene yet playful space that felt like home.”
This personal dressing room was also a unique opportunity for Dunham to express her aesthetic. “This is my house on steroids,” she says. “I would love my whole life to be pinks and patterns (and for the most part it is), but I also share my home with a male partner [musician Jack Antonoff], and while he loves pink, he has his own design ideas. Let’s just say when he moved in he brought a bronze bust of JFK and about 600 records.”
With layers of pastels, pops of vibrant color, geometric prints galore, spirited accessories, and whimsical original artwork, the room feels decidedly Dunham—flirty and strong, but also lighthearted, youthful, and carefree. She puts it perfectly: “I love the chance to make a space feel like the inside of your mind.”
One of our favorite moments is her collection of colorfully framed drawings by artist Grace Miceli, who she discovered through Laia Garcia, the associate editor of Dunham and Konner’s shared editorial venture, Lenny Letter.
“Long before Laia was my co-worker, I saw her on a red carpet at a Girls premiere in an amazing sweatshirt and demanded to know the woman behind it, and that woman was Grace,” she says. “I feel deep kinship with her aesthetic: playful yet provocative, pop yet moody. I selected these images from a collection of girls she has already drawn, and she threw the one of me in for free, which was an honor.”
An admitted bargain hunter, Dunham tells us she loves Etsy “the most” when it comes to design resources. “I love searching everything from ‘lamb pillow’ to ‘baby blue trunk’ and seeing what happens,” she says. “The deals I’ve found on there have been mind-blowing. Also, several times I’ve tried to buy a couch or chair at a shockingly low price, only to realize it was dollhouse furniture.”
Her love for Etsy has also created a challenge of sorts: editing. “My boyfriend would argue our home is my own personal Etsy graveyard,” she says, “and that my issue is paring things down and making choices—hence our eight ottomans (they were cheap!).”
Dunham looked to curated online vintage marketplace Chairish to find statement-making vintage furniture and décor, such as her pink-striped Knoll chairs, which bring the space unique character and one-of-a-kind style. For on-trend pieces, Dunham turns to shops like West Elm, CB2, and Anthropologie. “It’s the way I get my fix of faddish things (ikat, tons of Lucite) without regretting the expense.” And for playful accessories like needlepoint bargello pillows and “Prozac” cookie jars, she says, “Jonathan Adler is a king to me!”
Creating a welcoming workspace has had a transformative effect, she says. “You simply can’t expect yourself to perform to the best of your abilities when your days are spent in a windowless room with buzzing ceiling lights and a moldy sink,” she says. “I was always scared that the moment I decorated, we would get canceled. But why not enjoy every moment of the ride? And that means adorable pillows and sexy jars for my Excedrin.”
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Ed. note: This post was originally published on September 11th, 2015 and has since been updated.