Justina Blakeney's Design Secrets Revealed: It's Okay to Break The Rules

Justina Blakeney living room warm terra cotta walls, plants, and colorful rug, pillows, and wall art for Jungalow

Jungalow

When it comes to decorating a space with texture and color, it’s safe to say that no one does it as masterfully as designer, artist, and author Justina Blakeney. In honor of the release of her latest book, Jungalow: Decorate Wild, we spoke with the Target Home Style Expert and founder/creative director of Jungalow on five ways we can make our homes wild, too.

As Justina said, “Decorating wild is all about tapping into your unique style, without inhibitions!”

Jungalow Decorate Wild book cover with Justina Blakeney

Jungalow

  • 01 of 06

    Start From Within

    Justina Blakeney living room warm terra cotta walls, plants, and colorful rug, pillows, and wall art for Jungalow

    Jungalow

    If you’re eager to get a little more wild in your decor, Justina says, “A good place to start is with yourself.” If this feels intimidating, don’t worry: Justina has lots of tips on how to tap into your wild side and your creative side.

    “Start by doing some creative warm-up exercises, like journaling, doodling, or creating a mood board on Pinterest. Once you get into the practice of letting your thoughts flow freely without judgment, it helps quiet the critical voice that can stifle our creativity.” 

    From here, the inspiration and creativity should begin to flow! “You may start having ideas about how you want to use your space differently or painting a room a slightly different color. When those ideas come to you, meet them with welcoming arms and start experimenting. All of us have that creative spark inside of us, we just have to invite, nurture and cultivate it so it can shine bright!”

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  • 02 of 06

    Find Your Inspiration

    Justina Blakeney colorful basket gallery, plus masks, statues, and dolls

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    Inspiration can’t be forced, but it can be coaxed. If you need help finding your source, Justina recommends starting with a place. 

    “Think about a place that inspired you when you were a child—whether it’s a physical one or a fictional one—or a place that you love now as an adult, and use that as your jumping-off point. Think about the colors, textures, shapes, patterns, and scents [from] your inspirational place, and incorporate those elements into your home."

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  • 03 of 06

    Find Your Light

    open shelving in kitchen with plants, figurines, and vases

    Jungalow

    When it comes to picking the best rooms for experimenting, Justina explained, “Rooms with abundant natural light are great because they will be the most dynamic throughout the day.”

    A living room that might be perfect for a morning cup of coffee can be the ideal spot for a cozy movie night—and that’s all down to the light. “Paint color can look bright in the daylight and moody in the evening.”

    Plus, a bright room makes for an ideal habitat for one of Justina’s favorite design accessories: plants! “Plants tend to do better when they are close to a natural light source, so placing them in a room with good light also changes up the energy of the room quite a bit.”

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  • 04 of 06

    Renters Can Go Wild, Too

    Removable wall paper from Justina Blakeney's Jungalow

    Jungalow

    When it comes to decorating wild, one of the main things that often stands out is the wall color. But you don’t have to be a homeowner to make a statement.

    “Removable wallpaper is a great way to make a big impact without losing your security deposit!” said Justina. “There are a lot of great removable wallpaper options out there now in beautiful colors and patterns (we even have some in our online shop at Jungalow!).”

    This suggestion also comes with a small warning. “Some renters may have textured walls which may not be wallpaper-friendly, so I’d suggest ordering a sample first to see if the paper you like is easily applied and removable with your walls.”

    If you find the wallpaper option isn’t working, Justina has an even easier solution. “You can always go a little wild with plants! It’s amazing the impact plants can have on an environment. They are not just decorative objects, but they are also fellow living beings! They purify the air we breathe, they remind us to slow down and have or give a sip of water, and they literally add life to any space.”

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  • 05 of 06

    Aim for a Cohesive Look

    wall of plants from Justina Blakeney and Jungalow

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    Even if you’re excited to decorate wild, there are still a few rules to avoid creating a visual mess. One approach is by grouping similar objects together - either by color or type. For example, I have an indoor container garden collection and in the book, I share how different groupings can create a completely different look,” said Justina.

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  • 06 of 06

    Look to Nature

    blue hexagon tile shower Justina Blakenly

    Jungalow

    “Another great tip I often use when I want a layered yet cohesive look is [to pick] a color palette that is inspired by nature. One of my favorite memories is from a family vacation we took in Lake Tahoe. The deep blues of the lake inspired me so much that I used that as inspiration for our primary bathroom, which has a lot of different kinds of tile and wallpaper, but all in the same palette, creating a soothing look.”

    As Justina pointed out, decorating wild is about creating a space that means something to you. “If you have a place you love, think about the colors you associate with it and try working within that color palette to give your space a harmonious feel,” Justina said.

Above all else, decorating wild is about having fun and pushing the boundaries, so go for it.

“Give yourself permission to get creative," said Justina. "Break some design rules, and get a little wild!”