While some of us were bingeing Netflix shows and baking sourdough during quarantine, Justina Blakeney wrote a whole dang book. Jungalow: Decorate Wild, out now, distills the designer’s signature “Moroc-Cali” style moves into five elements: mixing styles, colors, patterns, natural elements, and imagination. By visiting all the places she’s lived, from Florence, Italy, to Brooklyn to her bungalow in Los Angeles, the 272-pager explains how to find your own colors, seek patterns out in nature, and bring the outdoors in, whether you’re in a villa in Jodhpur, India, or a one-bedroom apartment in NYC. Here are a few of the insights that have us rethinking our interiors.
The Right Palette for the Right Person
Most of all, Blakeney’s book is about breaking down the conventions of design—the biggest one being color. Rather than advising readers to throw caution to the wind, she recommends finding “your colors” by looking at your passions outside home. For the author it might mean saturated blues and creamy sage greens, which remind her of Morocco, but that’s not the case for everyone. Blakeney suggests closing your eyes and going to a happy place. “Do you love Joshua Tree National Park, autumn, and your gold jumper? Maybe you long for a space colored with deep red and terracotta, or accents of gold and green,” she explains. “Or maybe you’re more of a winter wonderland type, who loves snowy mountains and off-white cable-knit sweaters. In that case you might prefer a space with a palette of whites, creams, and silvers.”
The Best Patterns Come Naturally
Rather than combing through Pinterest for the perfectly patterned blanket, try exploring your nearby nursery. Plants have boasted naturally occurring dots or stripes long before any textile was painted with one. Begonias, Song of India, and caladium all feature unique patterns on their leaves, from squiggly lines to lattice grids, that break up a blank wall, not to mention bring some mood-boosting nature into your apartment.
If You Can’t Find a Pattern, Make It
For layouts without the natural light to support plants—or just people lacking a green thumb—Blakeney suggests dressing up walls with decoupaged pages from nature magazines. Blank peel-and-stick wallpaper costs just over $30 on Amazon, and vintage National Geographic issues can be bought in bundles on eBay for cheap. Armed with a can of spray adhesive and some scissors, the DIY can be a fun afternoon—Blakeney did this project in a hallway with the help of her 7-year-old daughter, Ida.
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