Greetings, Studio G Readers! My name is Elizabeth, and I’ve been designing outdoor spaces for over 12 years. I also have a background in production design (mostly stage and film,) so “setting the scene” is something that is very familiar to me. In fact, “setting your own scene” is the way I like to approach most of my designs. Since Studio G has long been one of my favorite places to scout for ideas, I’m thrilled to be with you today as a guest contributor!
I love, love, LOVE to scout for products. New/vintage, high end/low end, repurposed/thrifted—you name it, and I’m there. I truly believe that good design should be accessible to everyone, and it should not be something that only a privileged few can afford. When redesigning your space, the best way to start is to determine a realistic budget. Then, create an inspiration board of your favorite items (irrespective of the price,) and finally…get creative!
Today, I’ve pulled an ad from one of my favorite haunts—the Indie-boho hipster Mecca, known as Anthropologie. You guys…I love Anthropologie. I really, really do. I love being surrounded by outfits that make me feel like I’m an extra for the movie “500 Days of Summer,” or that I’m the new “It Girl” at Coachella. They burn those heady candles that smell like fields of English flowers, and their fresh-faced sales staff is more than happy to help me spend every last dime I own in their FABULOUS home section. Anthropologie embodies the style that I like to call “Hippie Chic.” (You could also call it “Boho Chic,” but just remember to pronounce it like “SHEEK,” so that it sounds super-fancy.) It’s a fun style…eclectic, and with layers of personality that—when done right—will give your space an enviable look, and cause all of your friends to take copious notes. The best thing about Hippie Chic is that its genius lies in its imperfection. It’s a style that demands a mix of patterns, textures, colors, and finishes, which gives you a lot of latitude when shopping for “what goes.” The downside of shopping at Anthropology is that “vintage repro” can be surprisingly expensive. No matter how much I love their selection, I have to get real about what is, and what isn’t within my budget. So, just in case you guys are in the same boat with me on this, I decided to show you how I would take a fabulous look from Anthropologie, and create that same look for much less. Ikat prints are everywhere, these days. In fact, bold graphics, and historic patterns are all making a comeback in mainstream decorating. For budget-conscious shoppers like me, that’s a huge plus, because it means that I can find affordable options for these designs in larger stores, and that’s going to help me keep a healthy bottom line. I scour places like Wal-Mart, World Market, Pier One, etc. for accessories that will help me achieve an authentic look at a fraction of the cost.
So, how do we start to deconstruct this look? I always go for the big pieces first, which, in this case, is the hammock. The one from Anthropologie has a bold color, and a nod to ethnic vintage, with its tasseled fringe. I found this Stansport Bahamas option at Target (and Amazon) that will work just as well, and it will do it for only $20! The color scheme on the Target hammock is a standout, and its pattern also doubles as our touch of ethnic vintage. Still missing the fringe? I totally understand. Just layer on a vintage afghan at the bottom of the hammock, or choose an affordable throw blanket that really lets the tassels fly! I super-love this orange and white chevron number from World Market, which is affordable, comfortable, and has a classic Moorish pattern in a color scheme that works with our space.
You’re going to want an eclectic mix of pillows to up the sophistication level of this space, and Wal-Mart has some great options in their outdoor section. I really liked the bold pattern of the Safavieh Indigo Hayden Pillow. It’s mostly a neutral item, which will keep your space from looking too “carnival,” and that teaspoon of blue in the pattern will tie it nicely to a variety of ethnic prints. Speaking of prints, I felt like I needed a punch of color for this space, so I also pulled a chartreuse from one of our other patterns and matched it to Boxhill’s Small Amber Wine Bottle Hurricane. Thoughtful, hand-made or vintage accessories like this will give your look instant street cred.
The main thing to remember about Hippie Chic is that there are no hard and fast rules. You want lots of layers, in varying prints, but the way to make them harmonize is to keep them within a cooperative color palette. (Look back at the Anthropologie ad…notice that there are many colors present, but they all fall within the same theme of orange-based reds, saffron-y yellows and greens, and navy blues. No meek pastels, here! That’s the effect that you want.) You want hard accessories in a variety of finishes, but be mindful of their shapes. Shy away from early Victorian, and focus on Middle Eastern, with metal and glass. Moroccan lanterns, brass serving trays, antique glass vessels…that type of thing.
With a little inspiration from the high end, and some creative shopping near the low end, there isn’t any design style that is out of your reach. Thanks for letting me share some of my favorite ideas at Boxhill, and for inspiring you to always set your own scene! -Elizabeth