Justina Blakeney is a design goddess. Her magical blog, The Jungalow, is a treasure trove of visual inspiration and good vibes. From her tips on creativity to her gorgeous bedding capsule collection for Target, her boho lifestyle and plant knowledge are one of the many reasons to adore her design blog.
I first heard Blakeney speak at The School of Hustle Summer Camp, and I loved what she had to say about running her business as a creative professional. When her latest book came out, The New Bohemians Handbook ($35), I decided to use it as my guide to make over my cramped home office. Her tagline, “Come home to good vibes,” sounded like an ideal way to approach my work space. As a writer, my office had turned into a dumping ground of paper, dust, and an endless to-do list. Instead of feeling creative, I felt like I was churning out work. Productive, yes. Creative, not really.
Before I started my makeover, I attended the LA launch party for Blakeney’s book. The event was like stepping into her blog IRL. I got a tarot card reading from Natalia Benson. I made a frankincense essential oil body spray and sweet orange body scrub at the Aura Cacia essential oils booth. The Unlikely Florist crafted colorful bouquets for guests. At the end of the night, I was truly inspired to dive into The New Bohemians Handbook and get my own good vibes going.
7 Steps to My Home Office Makeover
My home office before the makeover.
1. Do a deep clean. The first thing I did was deep clean my space, removing any items I didn’t love. Per Blakeney’s suggestion, I opened the windows, blasted some fun music, and scrubbed every surface.
A close-up of my work desk before the makeover.
2. Clarify your vision. For any room in your home, Blakeney asks a few questions to clarify your intentions for the space. She writes, “What is your vision for the space? How do you want it to look and feel? What do you do there, and who do you want to be?” I wanted my home office to be a place of creativity and inspiration rather than a zone of non-stop frantic work. I wanted to be joyful in my space. I wanted to ponder ideas. I wrote these three words as my intentions for my home office — create, persist, and joy. A friend had given me a beautiful illustrated Original Impulse Writual Blessings Card Deck ($20), and I placed the cards in a spot where I could see them daily.
3. Rearrange furniture. Years ago, I bought this fantastic sewing desk at a flea market. It opens into a larger desk, but I had kept it closed. I loved the openness of it, so I extended it for more work space and good creative vibes from its sewing functionality. One of the drawers has a space to hold thread spools.
4. Find your spirit animal. Blakeney shares that her spirit animal is the panda bear. As a kid, she filled her room with panda bear posters, and their distinct markings and love of bamboo inspire her to fill her interior with a similar vibe. My spirit animal is definitely a dog. I’ve loved them since I was a kid and made puffy paint T-shirts with “I <3 Dogs” drawn on them. I missed having a pup in my life, so my husband and I recently adopted a six-year-old pug who we named Chewbacca Tofu Hay. While I work, he sleeps on a bed behind me, happily snoring. Our daily walks together give me time to brainstorm ideas and get away from my laptop. Plus, his snuggles and snorts are top notch.
5. Find your spirit plant. Blakeney is known for her adoration of all things plants. I’m terrible with plants and kill all of them, but I’m attracted to succulents and air plants. I like their shapes and ease of care, so I bought an air plant and a succulent and really searched for plants in containers that attracted my eye. I set the plants on my windowsill for maximum sun. They’re right behind my computer, and I like to stare at them when I’m thinking — there’s something very peaceful about them.
6. Discover your spirit environment. There’s a fun quiz inside The New Bohemians Handbook to connect with what environment you love best — desert, beach, grasslands, jungle, or mountains. For each environment, Blakeney shares tips for how to incorporate that place into your space. My quiz score led to the beach.
For me, beaches are extremely calming, with the sound of the ocean waves, the soft sand, and the warmth of sun. This page in Blakeney’s book instantly reminded me of a fabric that I had stashed away. With beach vibes in mind, I sewed a curtain with fabric that had a turquoise blue, orange, and a sand color, similar to her inspiration photo. I also chose sand-colored vases for my plants.
7. Invest in crystal magic. The “Crystal Magic” chapter in Blakeney’s book features Vanessa Knight, the crystal curator at Able Ground, and her tips for bringing crystals into your home. I happen to live close to a crystal shop, so armed with Knight’s list, I bought some celestite, fluorite, pyrite, rose quartz, and a few other stones I was attracted to, and placed them on a Justina Blakeney Good Vibes Catchall Tray ($10) next to my laptop. Pyrite is the crystal for big picture manifestation, so whenever I’m working on something big that makes me nervous, I hold it.
My work desk after the makeover.
I love my work space now! Having my plants at a vantage point behind my computer allows me to wander, contemplate, and brainstorm.
I chose plants that I couldn’t kill and were easy to maintain. Blakeney suggests placing quartz in planters to get double the positive energy, so I added a few pieces of clear quartz to my succulent plant. During the daytime, sun shines through the quartz and reflects the light beautifully.
The crystals add fun color to my desk and give me moments of meditation throughout the day (and the sparkle they add makes the space more joyful). Sometimes when I’m having a stressful moment, I’ll pick up one of the crystals and turn it over in my hand. It’s a good way to reset my perspective during the work day.
Sewing a curtain connected me to my inner maker, and I really love the fabric, so seeing it every day makes me happy. If there’s a space in your apartment or home that is in desperate need of a revamp, I highly recommend Blakeney’s book, The New Bohemians Handbook, to inspire some good design vibes.
What space in your home do you want to makeover? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.
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(Photos of Justina Blakeney and The New Bohemians Handbook via Dabito; additional photos via Jennifer Chen.)