Real Life Ruggish: Emily Auffrey’s Urban Jungle

How do you get the most out of 990 square feet of family home?

For inspiration, look to Emily Auffrey. Armed with spray paint, a glue gun and a green thumb, this New York City mom has created a bright and airy haven in her family’s Long Island City apartment. 

Sprinkled with plants (about one per every 12 square feet — yes, we did the math!), Amazon finds and carefully selected pieces from Black-owned businesses, Emily’s “colorful Afro Bohemian jungle” home is warm and welcoming to kids and adults alike. You can take the virtual tour and learn more about her style philosophy in her feature on Apartment Therapy.

A dedicated plant mom, Emily fills her Instagram feed with budget decor finds, upcycling ideas and tons of houseplant care info, including some mindblowing hacks. Did you know you can help correct an overwatered plant by sticking a tampon in the soil?

Plants aren’t the only things growing at the Auffrey house. When it came to creating a space for her son Max, Emily approached it as thoughtfully as she did the rest of the apartment.

“When designing our son's room I wanted to make it super inviting to creativity and play,” she explained. “The dress up clothes, table and playmat fostered this!” Ruggish’s Cali play rug provides a perfect spot for five-year-old Max to draw, imagine and create.

As much as we love Emily’s picture-perfect home, our favorite thing about her is that while she’s serving up inspiration, she’s also keeping it real. In one recent Instagram reel, she shared the state of her apartment one morning — cluttered counters and furniture piled with stuffed animals — joking in the caption, “Who closed last night?!”

“Go easy on yourself!” Emily added. “A home is meant to be lived in! Creating beautiful memories and strong bonds with your family.”

Keep up with Emily’s vintage finds, plant tips and NYC adventures on Instagram: @emily.auffrey.

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