To look at decor magazines and home blogs, with their sleek minimalist rooms, you’d think no one ever had a houseplant--or an impulse buy from Cabo. 

For the rest of us who inhabit the real world, there’s L.A.-based designer Justina Blakeney. Her recent book, The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes, takes us into the homes of cultural creatives who make their colorful, cluttered lives look super-appealing. Here are tips for achieving this well-lived aesthetic for yourself.

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Pile on Patterns

Can’t decide which part of your textile collection to display? How about all of it? Just make sure that your colors are all equally vivid.

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Who Needs Frames?

Your child’s--or your--sketches become art for a gallery wall. Just stick them up with colored tape.

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Weathered Wood as a Display Case

Hang necklaces from a scavenged plank, so you can always enjoy them and have easy access.

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Pegboard Is Your Friend

Julia Child famously hung utensils on her kitchen wall; why not intermingle a plate and icon collection amid your cooking tools?

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Create a Neutral Backdrop

Keep large surfaces like wood furniture and upholstery monochromatic and let your display objects be the stars.

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Scarves Are Art

How clever is it to use a bannister as a handy rack for a rainbow of neckwear?

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Layer Rugs

Sure, lots of people put a smaller rug atop a larger one. But consider clustering a bunch of small flat-weave rugs to make one big statement.

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Go Green

Have a sunny corner? Paint your trim bright green and then even spindly plants will look like they are part of a cohesive design plan.

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Collect Good Karma

A group of similar hanging items like these God’s eyes look cool displayed in a row on the edge of an alcove.

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