Decorate Wild: Q&A with Justina Blakeney

The woman at the forefront of boho decor is Justina Blakely. Founder of The Jungalow and author of the book The New Bohemians, Justina has a flare for all things patterns, colors and indoor plants. Her knack for bright, eclectic decor has inspired many, like ourselves here at Beyond Yoga, to have more fun with home design. That’s why we were beyond excited to team up with Justina for a limited edition collection! We recently got a chance to chat with Justina about her unique style, and what it really means to be “bohemian.”

How did you get interested in interior design, especially bohemian decor?

My style and interest in design, is a combination of the many of the places I’ve been, and the people I’ve grown up around. Being raised in a multi-culti family that loved to travel, our home was always filled with objects from all over the world: Hamsas and African masks, Ethiopian paintings and Ashkenazi artifacts, Indonesian shadow puppets and Mexican textiles. Experience all of these diverse cultures and observing similarities and differences and the beauty in diversity fuels my imagination wildly.

Playing around with dollhouses was my first experience with decorating. I remember saving random pieces of paper for wallpaper. My parents gave my siblings and I the creative freedom to rearrange the furniture in our bedrooms – painting and repainting our rooms–even building our own furniture pieces. Sometimes I would borrow items from the living room and put them in my bedroom.

We are obsessed with your book The New Bohemians! What inspired you to write it, and how did you find the people whose homes are featured in the book?

Thank you! When I first pitched the project, there were no home decor books that really focused on the way that I loved to live — colorful homes that were very eclectic, collected, full of life, plants and creativity –and any books that did feature homes in similar styles were more photojournalistic, but did not give readers help or guidance as to how to achieve a similar look in their homes. We found the people mostly through social media and by tapping into our creative community, friends of friends and through boutique owners who could help us locate homes in areas we were less familiar with.

To you, what makes someone “bohemian”?

Someone who embraces a life of adventure and creativity, who has an insatiable need to create, enjoys the natural world and surround themselves with wild and beautiful.

How would you describe your signature style.

It’s all about decorating wild. That means different things to me at different times, but when it comes down to it, my signature style is decorating with color, pattern, and plants. It also has a lot to do with the way various objects, colors, and patterns contrast each other with creative tension and/or harmony.

Speaking of, let’s talk indoor plants. How much of your style is influenced by indoor greenery? And what do you love about indoor plants?

The more plants the better. I believe in the healing power of plants, good light and fresh air. Have an odd corner that gives you a design headache? Stick a plant in it. If there aren’t plants in a room, it doesn’t belong on the Jungalow.

We are BEYOND excited about the Beyond Yoga X Justina Blakeney limited edition collection! What was your inspiration for the print?

When thinking about what patterns to use for the collection, I thought about not only which ones represented my style, but the environment that the collection would be used. I imagined yoga in a plantastic studio, biking/running along the river, hiking in lush woods, or visit to the nursery, or shopping the farmer’s market! I wanted a pattern that felt modern, lush and energetic — and now write when I slip on my JustinaXBeyondYoga gear I feel that extra little spring in my step!

When you start designing a new space or textile, where do you begin? How do you find inspiration?

I step back and think about the intention of the room: what are the activities or that will be taking place? What will the energy of the room be – a calming respite, or a energizing space for creativity? What is the story that is being told? The same philosophy is applied to my artwork that gets translated into fabrics, wallcovers or–yoga pants! It’s all about the mood and vibe I’m trying to convey. I find inspiration truly everywhere but I find I’m the most open to receiving inspiration when I’m traveling.

Any advice to novice decorators who are designing for the first time?

I would tell them not to be afraid of making mistakes. The only design mistake you can really make is to live in a space that doesn’t reflect your personality, your desires, and your dreams. Then I’d tell them to pre-order The New Bohemian Handbook (that is coming out in October) to guide them thru the process!!

In your opinion, what is the most important element in a room?

In my opinion, the most important element in a room is windows. Windows connect us to the outdoors, invite in light and fresh air, help us to nourish our plants, and ourselves.

What is your favorite room of the house and why?

My favorite rooms change all the time. It depends on what activity I’m doing, who I’m with and how I’m feeling.

What is your design motto?

Decorate wild!