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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.

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.

Who Needs Frames?

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

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?

Create a Neutral Backdrop

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

Scarves Are Art

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

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.

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.

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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