Shop Designer Jenna Pilant’s Rainbow-Disco Home + Learn to Flip Furniture Like a Pro

Inspired to create your own quirky paradise? These products and practices can take any space (or sad-sack piece) from “blah to ta-da,” as Jenna would say.

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June 04, 2024
Woman in peach suit on green and yellow banquette.

Designer Jenna Pilant in Her Colorful Sunken Living Room

Sticking the landing on, say, a polychromatic sunken living room might feel like Olympic-level decorating, but it’s as simple as following your heart. “People think that they’re afraid of color and they’re really not; they’re afraid of making a decision and living with that color,” Jenna contends. “So I really just hope to bridge the gap on people’s fear of using any sort of boldness within their home. Working with color sparks joy every day for me. I mean, how can I not be happy working with these bright, beautiful colorful palettes?”

Photo by: Sean Rosenthal

Sean Rosenthal

While there’s no official evidence that Jenna Pilant sprang into existence after lightning struck a lava lamp in the middle of a Nebraska cornfield, there’s no proof that she didn’t, either — and given how the farmgirl-turned-polychromatic-designer electrifies furniture and spaces, all that sizzle needs an origin story, right?

If you’re ready to join her in the battle against beige, this arsenal of eye-catching pieces from Jenna’s place will give you the tools you need to get started. Want to get even weirder? Read on for a closer look at some of her most dazzling before-and-after furniture flips, then arm yourself with that swagger for your next visit to a thrift shop or flea market.

The Dining Room

Dragging this space out of neutral, traditional doldrums meant giving the built-in a coat of bold paint and a hand-applied disco-ball backsplash, creating a feature wall with a vertically striped mural plus personalized neon, then bringing in key midcentury pieces to make the dining room feel eclectic rather than like time capsule. Jenna’s MVPs? A Herman Miller conference table repurposed for dining, a colorful array of molded plastic Eames chairs and, to dangle from the existing chandelier, glass monkeys (those funky monkeys). Echoing the classic game pieces, these cheeky chimps can be tough to find on the resale market, but if you’re lucky enough to score some, they’re worth their weight in fun.

The Formal Living Room

The massive, neutral marble fireplace at the center of this space was not Jenna’s cup of tea, to put it mildly (or blandly, if you will); in lieu of sinking time and money into ripping it out, she invited LA artist Ruben Rojas to tag it up with his iconic "Love" script. She gave a pea-green circular sofa one of her signature glow-ups by reupholstering it with black velvet and Peter Max-inspired backing fabric, then sprinkled joyously colorful accessories around the room.

Large room w/ graffiti fireplace, round sofa + chairs, + bright rugs.

Formal Living Room With Fireplace Mural and Colorful Circular Sofa

How, then, to go about making this stone feel precious? “I commissioned muralist [and] artist Ruben Rojas out of Los Angeles to come and graffiti up with his iconic love signature,” designer Jenna Pilant explains. “What I love about this mural is it adds a permanent, unexpected art feature within the space.” Like Jenna’s reupholstery projects, Ruben’s mural breathes new and vibrant life into a timeworn piece — and it sidesteps the hassle of renovation.

Photo by: Sean Rosenthal

Sean Rosenthal

The Family Room

This quirky, cozy space is all about large-scale color blocking, beginning with a spectacular orange version of Ligne Roset's iconic and ultra-versatile Togo sectional that frames a green area rug riffing on Virgil Abloh's WET GRASS. A sculptural red bookcase is right at home between the windows, and a playful array of retro games and curios arranged like spokes on the coffee table demonstrate that thoughtful styling can make anything look chic.

The Bathroom

Remember that time using the bathroom made you feel like Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes — or Madonna riffing on her in the “Material Girl” video, or Ryan Gosling riffing on her at the Academy Awards? No? Jenna’s got you covered, and this Seletti mirror will change the way you primp. (There are both smaller and much larger versions, if you want to test-drive before making a big commitment ... or cover a whole wall.)

Powder bath with subway tile and mirror with hands holding lipstick.

Eclectic Bathroom With Dark Subway Tile and Art Mirror

Remember that time using the bathroom made you feel like Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes — or Madonna riffing on her in the “Material Girl” video, or Ryan Gosling riffing on her at the Academy Awards? No? Designer Jenna Pilant’s got you covered, and this Seletti mirror will change the way you primp. (There’s a smaller version, if you want to test-drive before making a big commitment.)

Photo by: Sean Rosenthal

Sean Rosenthal

The Bedroom

Inspired by The Saguaro Palm Springs and her own space’s dramatic ceiling, Jenna laid purple carpeting and created a custom-upholstered headboard that pulled tones from swirling abstract wallpaper she installed opposite the bed. (Pro tip: When you find a pattern you love, use it as a cheat sheet for the rest of your room.) Graphic pops of lettering and text layer the design even more.

Upholstery 101: Recover a Chair

Now that you’ve got a sense of the cut of Jenna’s jib, get ready to follow along through the cut of her fabrics (and the paint of her dressers, and so on). Dip a toe in the world of furniture-flipping by turning a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it side chair like this one into a major design moment.

Create an Upcycled Mushroom Ottoman

We couldn’t include shopping info for the cute-as-pie, ‘70s-inspired mushroom ottoman between Jenna’s living wall and sunken seating area because she created it from semi-scratch with a clever combination of a 5-gallon plastic bucket, pre-cut wood rounds and tricks of the trade like webbing and Dacron fiber batting. This DIY project yields a sturdy piece that’ll go toe-to-toe with pro-produced pieces.

Transform a Basic, Thrifted Dresser

Fancy a bit of freestyling with paint and dimensional detailing rather than custom fabric? This showstopping dresser upcycling project is a budget-friendly and utterly spectacular way to create bespoke bedroom furniture that complements a feature wall like it was (re)born to do it.

Turn a Tallboy Into a Statement Piece

This tallboy was no charmer when Jenna plucked it from thrift-store obscurity; its statement back then was "your flight won't be boarding for another two hours, so you might as well pay 20 bucks for a sandwich." Now, with wooden rounds that transform its silhouette and a cherry-red coat of paint it's a postmodern heartbreaker.

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