See inside super-stylist Colin King's apartment, a minimalist masterclass in creating a space full of personality

Colin King's New York apartment is the perfect place to showcase his clever way with curation, using minimalist techniques to celebrate the very best of things

minimalist living room with neutral walls and indoor tree
(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

There is an understated cool to New York interior stylist Colin King that pervades everything he touches. Maybe it’s because he gets it all just right while looking like he’s not trying too hard. Everything he styles - and now designs - appears as if it was organically meant to be that way, including his own home.

Sought after as a creative director by leading brands such as Zara Home, Anthropologie and West Elm and with his own lines at Beni Rugs and MENU, he, and his work, come across as authentic and natural. He is a leading light of the new minimalism in interior design movement, which celebrates the best of things, rather than hides them away.

Self-taught, with creative genes that were always there - he was a ballet dancer as a teenager -  he believes in ideas evolving as they progress. 'I approached the decorating of the apartment by trial and error, similarly to how I approach most of my styling and creative work,’ he says. ‘I experimented over and over again with paint colors and furniture layouts until it clicked and the space felt like a home I was excited to come back to.’ 

colin king standing in his minimalist living room

The windows are deliberately left unadorned so the space doesn’t look too finished or ‘decorated.’

Walls and ceiling plastered in a custom color by Kamp Studio.

Existing mouldings and panelling painted in a custom matt color (to match the plaster), by Empire Painting.

Flooring, original pine boards

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

Colin found the rental, an historic loft-style apartment built in the 1890s as a dry goods store in Tribeca, the heart of downtown Manhattan, nearly two years ago. ‘I fell in love with the open layout, high ceilings, and gorgeous windows,’ he says of the sixth floor space. ‘Given that I travel frequently for work, I was searching for a place where I could reset and re-center myself when back in the city.’ 

living room window with table lamps

‘Rather than make holes in the walls I used hanging gallery rods that can easily be moved around to hang pictures,’ Colin says.

Walls plastered in a custom color by Kamp Studio.

Existing mouldings and panelling painted in a custom matt color (to match the plaster), by Empire Painting.

Antique Swedish gate-leg table, Anton & K. 

Lamp, Michael Verheyden.

19th-century painting, Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter 

Custom brass gallery rod, made by J. Pickens.

Vintage urn, Michael Trapp.

Japanese vessels, Gallery Dobrinka Salzman.

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)
Hanging gallery rods, $41.49 for five, Amazon

Hanging gallery rods, $41.49 for five, Amazon

Colin's genius trick for hanging art without having to hammer holes into the wall becomes part of the installation itself. 

Revamp-wise, it was more about peeling back the layers to restore the apartment to its original spirit, than a massive overhaul. Floors were stripped of their dark staining to reveal beautiful original pine floors; new doors were installed; living room walls and ceilings re-plastered in a deep bespoke beige, and mouldings and panelling painted to match. 

living room window with white daybed

‘The more I pared back the apartment, the more the beautiful original features like the windows, mouldings and flooring came back to life,’ Colin says.

Bespoke daybed designed by Colin, with woodwork by Oliver Westermeier and upholstery by Luccio Massa. 

Urn, (on plinth) by Casey Zablocki, Woodfired Stoneware.

PK 62 side table by Poul Kjærholm 

Lampadina Table Lamp (on side table) by Achille Castiglioni.

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

living room table with rocks and objets on it

Vintage Japanese bowl, and vintage vessels, all Casa Patina.

Vintage fibreglass rock lamps, Andre Cazenave.

Toio floor lamp by Achille & Pier Giacomo Castiglioni,  Flos.

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

His belief in the power of objects means it was important to surround himself at home with purposeful items. ’I’ve included several pieces from past projects, plus reminders of my childhood - such as rocks (referencing his childhood hobby of collecting stones), which add a natural element to an otherwise urban environment,’ he says.

indoor tree in a minimalist living room next to a white couch

A beautiful indoor ‘tree’ is placed like an art installation, catching the light and creating shadows as the sun moves around.

Painting by Milton Resnick, Cheim & Read.

Custom couch, Grant Trick.

Armchair, Axel Vervoordt.

Bespoke coffee table made using rocks from The Compleat Sculptor and wood from The Hudson Company. 

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

minimalist dining room with indoor tree

‘I invested in a large table so I can host plenty of friends and family for food and drinks,’ Colin says.

Walls and ceiling plastered by Kamp Studio.

Flooring, original pine boards

Ash bespoke table designed by Colin, made by J. Pickens.

Finnish T-back chairs, Galerie Half.

Etching, by Amedeo Modigliani.

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

The apartment is a moving feast, intended never to look too decorated or finished - even the tree in a pot has changed since this shoot, the leaves having dropped and it has become a twig installation. ‘I am constantly tinkering and forging new relationships with objects in a space as part of my work,’ says Colin, ‘and I wanted the freedom to be able to do that in my own home.’ In keeping with this career of ‘tinkering', he has just published his first book, written with Sam Cochran, called ‘Arranging Things’, which takes the reader through his very personal process of combining items and cultivating beauty in everyday life.

industrial kitchen in with chrome countertop

The kitchen space is enclosed in panelling so all the paraphernalia is kept contained, yet it also means it fits with the open plan theme of the apartment.

Cabinet on wheels designed by Colin, made by Rift Cabinetry. 

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

minimalist bedroom with dark walls

‘Rather than trying to make this windowless room light, I embraced the darkness with a warm, encompassing color,’ Colin says of his somewhat rustic bedroom.

Wall and panelling painted in Deep Reddish Brown, Farrow & Ball.

Painting by Malcolm T. Liepke, Gallery Dobrinka Salzman.

Shipping crate (used as bedside table), Dobrinka Salzman Gallery.

Akari table lamp (on top of crate) by Isamu Noguchi, Vitra. 

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

In contrast to the lightness of the living area, he embraced the dark, windowless bedroom and bathrooms by painting them in warm, moody shades. And because his apartment is a live-work space, he transformed a room once designated as a den into his home office

minimalist bathroom with brick flooring and shower cubicle

‘I chose to keep the existing tiles which felt kind of brown and muddy. Darker colors in small rooms often make them look bigger, especially when you take the same color up onto the ceiling which I did in both the bathrooms and the bedroom,’ Colin says.

Door hardware, izé.

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

minimalist home office with wooden table

The office is internal, so Colin used large glass-paned doors to let light flow into the space.

18th-century Swedish Baroque bockbord table, Dienst + Dotter Antikviteter.

Model 771 pair of vintage chairs by Joseph-André Motte, Demisch Danant Gallery.

Vintage Tuareg mat, Woven Abode

Akari 120A pendant light by Isamu Noguchi, Vitra.

Knight sconce (wall light ) by Colin King, Troy Lighting.

Tired man armchair by Flemming Lassen, Menu.

(Image credit: Future/Matthew Williamson)

Maybe because of his perfectionist personality, Colin says the whole project was somewhat outside his comfort zone, having never lived in a loft or space of this scale before. 

Finding that the furniture from his previous home in Brooklyn Heights looked like doll’s house pieces when moved here, he embarked on designing his own - ‘that was particularly nerve wracking,’ he says. But what he learned most from the project was that for him every single detail is significant. ‘I took my time and updated everything bit by bit, ensuring I didn’t rush the process. And I found that it’s OK to make mistakes but to not settle for them.’ Ultimately he says, ‘this apartment has been a wonderful teacher.’  

Arranging Things by Colin King, Amazon

Arranging Things by Colin King, Amazon

Colin's beautiful new coffee table book offers more examples of how to curate like him. There is plenty of advice and inspiration and it's well worthy of being a display piece in its own right.

Get Colin's look

A legendary houses editor, Mary Weaver held the job of Homes Editor on Livingetc for over a decade. She set the aesthetic for which the brand has become known. She is now a freelance stylist, art director and writer, regularly contributing to Livingetc and overseeing the brand's successful House Tours franchises of live and webinar events.