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Dumbo Penthouse | via Karen Chien Inc

Looking to personalize your New York City apartment without breaking the bank? You’d be surprised what you can achieve with some strategic splashes of color and a few accessories. Here are seven do-it-yourself tricks from Karen Chien, one of the city’s premier interior designers. 

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Karen Chien is the face behind Karen Chien Inc, the esteemed interior design company based in New York City. Chien, who got her start working for interiors icon Thomas Britt, started her firm in 2005 with the goal to deliver personalized, custom service to clients. This Dumbo resident has since worked on such projects as a penthouse loft in her own neighborhood, as well as a Brooklyn loft and apartments in Park Slope and the Upper East Side. (See examples of her work here.) Below, she shares her insights on starting her own firm, when to hire an interior designer, and her most memorable project.

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A comfortable modern nursery by Karen Chien Inc.

Karen Chien Inc., a boutique interior design firm based in Dumbo, brings an innate understanding of the blossoming neighborhood’s needs to her projects. See, owner Karen Chien not only works in Brooklyn but lives, designs and finds much of her inspiration in the borough. Many of her clients, therefore, are also her neighbors so her empathetic approach is ingrained in her work.

Case in point: Chien recently finished a design project in Dumbo for a couple with a new baby. Their goal was to transform a space with bachelor furniture into a grown-up apartment — a common problem in Brooklyn. The result, pictured above, was a “comfortable modern” look that works for the whole family. Success!