Clare Sullivan, a 28-year-old content creator, transformed her friend Ben’s bare-minimum bachelor pad into a dreamy home in one day.
Clare Sullivan is known among her surplus of 1.1 million TikTok followers for creating budget-luxury videos that show how to live lavishly for less.
As well as offering low-cost interior design tips and home organization hacks, Sullivan’s videos demonstrate how she has redesigned various spaces, including a closet, a beach house, and, more recently, her friend Ben’s New York City apartment.
Sullivan told Insider that in May, with the help of her assistant, she transformed Ben’s apartment from an almost-empty bachelor pad into a personalized home. She said they achieved the redesign in a single day between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m, and documented the process in a TikTok video, which was viewed over 674,000 times at the time of writing.
Sullivan added that she spent time planning the space and created a thorough visual presentation for her friend ahead of carrying out the project.
Sullivan said Ben agreed to let her redecorate his studio apartment and told her to work with a $2,000 budget for the project.
Sullivan said her friend was keen for her to transform his home and set aside a $2,000 budget for furniture and accessories. She said that this was more than she was expecting but she was still required to “pinch pennies” as the apartment was so bare.
Sullivan said that Ben’s room consisted of a bed and lamp, his television, a table, his bike, and gaming equipment. She said she wanted to help her friend bring out his personality in his home, saying: “Sometimes men just don’t know how to reflect their interests and decor style in their apartment and living space.”
Having done previous redecorations, Sullivan said this presented a unique challenge because she doesn’t typically create masculine spaces.
A quick scroll through Sullivan’s TikTok page reveals floral arrangement videos and women’s jewelry organization, which may appeal to anyone, but Sullivan said she typically received online engagement from women.
With this in mind, she said it was a challenge to cultivate a masculine space. “We went neutral with it because Ben was intimidated by color,” she said. “We went with blacks, beiges, tans, some white, and then a pop of gold to bring in a glam touch.”
Sullivan said this bold color scheme and a jute fabric rug with bold geometric black lines added a sharp edge to the space. She said she added coffee table flowers and throw pillows to bring comfort and coziness to the space for balance.
Sticking to her budget-luxury methods, Sullivan said she brought life to the empty bed area with a peel-and-stick headboard.
Previously, Ben had a simple bed with no headboard and a blank wall behind it. Sullivan said she found a cheap way to tackle this.
“One of my favorite things that we did for him, which is good for budgets, speed, and ease of use, was we ordered a peel-and-stick headboard from Etsy,” she said. She also found a black vinyl arch that can be stuck to a wall to create the illusion of a headboard without having to assemble one.
Sullivan demonstrated the simple process of applying the arch in a June TikTok video that was viewed over 513,000 times. She then added black cushions and a throw to match, as well as a trio of artwork above the bed. She finished the bedroom area with two side tables and black-and-brass lamps.
Ben knew about most of Sullivan’s design plans but she surprised him with a giant palm-tree mural.
Sullivan said that Ben approved most of her design ideas beforehand but she refrained from telling him about the large mural she erected on his living room wall. Sullivan showed how she glued the mural of trees to Ben’s wall in a TikTok video shared in June, which has been viewed over 268,000 times.
“We started with the concept of a giant mural, going across the back wall of his space because it’s a studio, I just thought that would be really impactful,” Sullivan told Insider. She added that the 10 feet by 15 feet pastable palm-tree mural cost less than $200 in total.
Sullivan said: “It transported the apartment from being this stark, urban environment into something a lot richer and more interesting.”
Sullivan ensured that everything would fit in Ben’s apartment and look cohesive by using a 3D-design program.
While the redesign took a day to install, Sullivan said she had been planning it for weeks using SketchUp Pro, a design tool that allows her to create a digital model of Ben’s home.
“It’s really important for me to be able to visualize in 3D what a space is going to be like. I can’t work without that,” Sullivan said.
After this stage, Sullivan said she takes items from Pinterest and will use Photoshop to place them into the digital space to see what looks good.
She also said she typically keeps a collection of homeware items such as plants, baskets, and other props that she buys from HomeGoods, TJ Maxx, and Amazon, and uses these when redecorating a home.
Since sharing the transformation on TikTok, Sullivan said she’s noticed more male followers engaging with her interior-design content.
Sullivan said that since she posted the transformation videos to TikTok in June, one of which highlighted the finishing touches she applied to the living room area and received over 2.2 million views, she noticed more men commenting on her work.
“All these men were like, ‘Wow, I never had the inspiration to do this,’ or, ‘I guess I should put more work into my bachelor pad.'” Sullivan found it heartening that her work encouraged more men to take pride in their homes and learn interior design skills.