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  • Writer's pictureJCB

5 Ways I Bring a Little Soul Into My Home

Updated: Jun 20

What does it really mean when we say 'soulful living'? How do we add soul to our homes and why is it important? I've been talking a lot about it lately but not really giving answers on the why, so I'd love to share what it means to me, especially now as an interior designer helping others to create their dreamy soulful homes.

When I was in my twenties and early thirties I put a lot of focus on shaping my life and home environment, thinking it had to look a certain way for it to feel 'finished' and perfect. I never seemed to get there. I would keep buying things and filling it and changing it and moving and shaping and correcting and was a big dissatisfying cycle of spending, arranging, moving and discarding that nearly made me penniless and divorced. I was not in a good place and it was a cycle that had to change or I would lose it all—and I nearly did. Now that I am much older and wiser, living slower and more importantly buying slower, I have learned to shape my environment in a way that I build upon rather than grow tired of and replace. I know now what I truly love and value in my home and also learned what is meaningful and valuable to me–not just in a monetary sense but in a personal sense.

This didn't mean I was now just buying expensive things—in fact, a sofa that is currently in my living room is from IKEA. It's about fifteen years old and really comfy. Instead of tossing it because it's IKEA or because I didn't want a grey sofa anymore, I spent a little bit of money (less than a new sofa!) and got a simple, chic, white cover from Bemz and changed the chunky square legs to sexy round legs from Pretty Pegs and poof! It's a new updated sofa. Where we spend our money is where our priorities lie and this is different for everyone. I happened to find a comfortable sofa at IKEA and that's ok. I think sofas are something, however, that are worth the investment of spending more. Quality and comfort are key. For our household, art and rugs are a priority and that's where we like to put our money. Good vintage pieces are also worthwhile as they are one of a kind and create a specialness that cannot be duplicated by anyone.

My living room is a combination of IKEA, Target, vintage rugs + furniture and very expensive art (lol).

  1. Buy Vintage Things.

I absolutely stand behind vintage furnishings for the home. This is 100% the way to add age, soul, history and unique, quality pieces to your collection. And anyone can do this, it's not just reserved for the rich. You can, however, go wrong with vintage. For me, anything too kitchy, bulky cheap furniture from the 80's and broken things that you'll 'someday repair' are a no go. I usually buy vintage rugs from trusted sources and stay away from 'fake vintage' rugs! I love mid century chairs, primitive stools and pottery. To save a buck, try salvage yards or unplucked thrift stores first. The trendy shops with 'curated' collections and pieces tend to be more, but they also do the work for you and they need your support too! Facebook marketplace is also lousy with good finds.

These chairs will be with me til I die. That 80's coffee table was a steal at $30. Rare and wonderful. I love vintage. Also, heads up! I'm not a minimalist...

2. Invest in Real Art.

I have a mix of art in my house that ranges from very expensive gallery work to flea market/yard sale. I am not a snob when it comes to art (yes, you can mix it up with some mass produced pieces from Target and no, it doesn't all need to be gallery expensive) but I do believe in supporting artists directly. Buy from artists in your town and visit galleries. Fall in love. Feel the craft. Watch a wall come alive with something that was made by hand. Mass produced art has its place sometimes, especially if you don't have the money to buy something original. It's ok to start with a few pieces just to bring some life to your walls, but try to save some wall space (and money) for the real deal. Get it when you can. It's worth it.

My office gallery wall is a mix of original work by my husband Drury Bynum, friends who are artists, found objects, old photos, kid art I bought from a fundraiser and a giant animal skull. Weird and random, but it works. No one believes me, but that abstract on the left is a prop I got from a photoshoot for WAL MART. Yes, Wal Mart. & you know what? I like it and that's all that matters.

3. Go with a Rich Color. Somewhere.

I'm not saying everywhere, but when every wall and every cabinet is white, it tends to get a little sterile and, sorry, boring. There, I said it.... And I LOVE green. It's no secret. I love green! I think I love green because I want to be bathed in nature always, but I can't, so the next best thing is to paint a room the color of a deep green forest. Sometimes, not all the time, but sometimes it works and it feels good. It adds a cozy layer that gives you a hug. If you need hugs as much as I do, paint your office deep, warm, green (see above). If you want to bring the sexy into mealtimes with friends and lovers, give your dining room a dark moody green or blue. Cabinets in dark green create a strong foundation that will contrast well with white, if you do love those white walls...

This is a client kitchen renovation we designed. This combination of green millwork and natural clay Zellige tiles is so comforting to me (and the clients!).

4. Bring in Nature with Plants.

I haven't always had a green thumb, but over the years, through my good pals who do have green thumbs, (like this guy and this lady) I have learned a lot about plants and plant care. I can't always say I've got it down to a science (it's more like, I feel like that droopy guy needs some water now), but plants add so much to my space and support to my psyche that I couldn't imagine life without them.

My kitchen's ever-changing open shelves and greenhouse window. Sometimes I say 'I love you' to my plants and sometimes I whisper 'I'm sorry'.

5. Texture is Key.

Texture can happen in so many forms. We can bring texture in through vintage pieces—a vase with patina and weathering, or a shearling pillow or rug or through art with 3D tapestries or wall hangings or through natural fibers of grasscloth wallpaper or woven Roman shades or with lime wash paint. Texture is key because it adds another dimension to surfaces that play with the layers of a room. Why is this important? Layers in a room add depth and character, breaking up the flat, smooth, boring and one dimensional. If your room is feeling flat, add something textural. Start with a jute pouf or a nubby pillow!

So much texture in this room! The wooden bowl with found shells, the shaggy rug, the basket vases on the hutch, the woven hat hanging and the woven chandelier are just a few ways we brought texture into this beach house.

Juniper House is a full service interior design studio helping clients realize their dream space. Contact us if you want us to help create your dream!


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