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Materials Girl #5 – Coral and Teal Fantasy


1. Wallpaper | 2 . Fabric | 3. Bowl | 4. Fabric | 5. Blue velvet | 6. Tile by B Zippy | 7. Door knob | 8. Blue tile | 9. Paint chips |10. Wood flooring | 11. Leather

I’m a big fan of fantasy moodboards (much like Fantasy Football) and while these don’t really translate into specific rooms, I just find them visually inspiring. I asked you guys recently whether or not you were into the ‘Material Girls’ series and I got a 60/40 with the 60 being ‘meh, I don’t know what it has to do with me’. So we are going to rethink the series, meanwhile we had a few more already shot and denying the 40% of you a pretty moodboard seemed criminal (plus its friday and its been an insane week of good posts and shoots and we weren’t quite ready with our scheduled rug roundup post).

For this one instead of telling you a fictional story about the girl who would have this style (which many of you found unlikable and I kinda agree) I’m just going to explain some of the design principles as to why this works.

1. There is a consistent color palette of coral and teal, with the addition of some highlights and lowlights (the dark navy and the light blue, #8).

2. The four patterns are all wildly different in scale so they don’t fight for attention, instead play off each other. Remember what I said HERE, that a trick is if you blur your eyes and you can’t tell the difference between the patterns then they are too similar.

3. There is a good mix of cool (blues) and warm (coral) tones keeping it feel balanced without being dated or cold.

4. The wood flooring helps it stay grounded (pun intended) and that grain becomes another texture.

Now, if I were to do this again knowing that the point of it would be to write tips based on it, I would probably have designed it a bit differently and given some other neutrals in there to help break up the coral/teal to make sure that it doesn’t go too young and silly.

If you still aren’t into this, don’t fear, because next week we have already 3 pretty EPIC posts being prepped (and you know that typically I don’t overhype posts). So stay tuned. Happy Friday, folks.

Fin Mark


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Dearest Emily. After yesterday’s post with the dreamiest flooring that even my husband fell in love with, and agreed to try to find somewhere in MN – you can do absolutely no wrong. Mood boards? Sure. Only (haha) 3 epic posts per week? Fine. Now excuse me while I continue to fantasize about that kitchen…..

I am so into that coral/orange color right now. I love the mix of it with blue. I am mixing it with green in my son’s bedroom makeover right now and I am so drawn to the orange. What a fun combo! I love fabric #4.

The way you styled this laydown is beautiful – you nailed the drape of the fabric on the right. Everything you do seems so effortless, but I love that you let us in behind the scenes, because it’s amazing to know how hard you are working to bring us such awesome content. I love everything you share, so keep it up. I can’t wait for next week!
xx Hannah

I just did a similar post today! I love mood boards and inspiration boards! This colour combination is awesome, but If I were to use it I think it would need to be paired with a lot of neutrals and the wallpaper would need to be an accent. I love the way this is presented, very inspiring!


Rug round-up?! Bring. It. On.


This is prefect as my 15 year old niece loves the color combination and want to redecorate her room. I esp love the different tones of blue and patterns. Thank you so much!


So much fun……..I went to ‘here’ and re-watched mixing patterns and then back to the mantle. Good way to end the week.
May I say Charlie was adorable on his last Instagram (although when isn’t he)he looked so concerned.


Thank you for everything Emily!

Jess Hartnett

I love the material girl posts and love even more that you explain the principals. I often find myself wondering, “what would Emily do?”

My guest bedroom is currently filled with teal and orange. It’s a bit too energetic and juvenile for my liking but I didn’t know how to bring in the calm and sophistication I wanted. (I was actually going to take pictures and send an email pleading for you to do a readers questions post on it). Thanks to this post I don’t think I need to now. Thank you!


The wallpaper link seems to be broken. Regardless, very pretty combo.


Changing the focus to why this works completely changes my vote from meh to yeah!. Now I am learning, which I feel is what makes your blog different/better.


I’m part of the 40% ! Thank you 😉


Hey Emily, I was part of the 60% and you brought it today with this mood board. I could visualize the neutrals used to break this up… and since I’m not super great with color and pattern mixing I really love that I can see this as a usable palette for my space (if I want to use these colors, y’know?). So much better than the mood boards populating pinterest with like, a desert landscape and then some colors pulled out of it. The textures and objects really help me visualize it all. I loved this! And your list explanation was great, thank you.


Love the mood boards thrown in there once in awhile! Totally into it as part of the mix. Read you every day, love the blog, love how you keep it real about the behind-the-scenes angst, want to steal Charlie, want to hire you (seriously-like right now). And hey-keep up the amazing work, but don’t burn out, woman! You’ll never ever please everybody. You’re awesome!


Love this! Also I really need fabric number two but the link just takes me to the online store not to the specific fabric — anybody know what it is?!


Just so you know Emily, I really loved those stories that went with this series. It shared that delightful, silly side of you.


Although, I love ALL colors I just don’t dig this combo, it feels off to me, and I am seeing a lot of it in magazines lately & I get the same feeling. It just feels very sports team jersey colors or something.


I’m of the 40% that said “oh yay!” when I saw the title! I love mood boards, because you can’t decorate a room for every design crush you have – we don’t have that many rooms! So this is designing without the room! I love the tips, but also miss the story of the gal just a teeny bit. They were always so funny!


I’m totally into this! Such a pretty color palette, and I love the mix of patterns. Very fun!


I think this is a great concept. Could these also be paired with some inspiration photos?


I liked this much better with the tips! I like learning from your thought processes. Thanks!

Coral and teal/bluish tones is the color scheme I want in my own home so I’m glad you blogged about this!


This post is definitely better with tips, but I still feel like this series is not helpful for me personally when decorating. I have very eclectic taste and really love seeing how you pull together rooms with different colors and styles. These mood boards are so perfectly coordinated that they feel one dimensional. Maybe I would like them better if you threw in some more objects like art or rugs?


That said, you should definitely post any other boards you have already made. No point in letting that hard work go to waste! Thanks for all the work you put into keeping us blog readers happy!

I like this! In general I really like your mix of story and tips. Design is about people living after all. And you’re funny, which gives me hope in a sea of bloggers obsessed with appearing ridiculously perfect!

I like this better! The stories were amusing, but this is useful stuff. Now, can I send you little scraps of the things I’m trying to force to work together in my own house (jute rug, vintage large floral orangey sofa, rattan chairs, a few beat-up midmod pieces) and have you work your fantasies out on them?

I’m part of the 40%. I find these inspiring! Even though not directly translatable to my life right now, the color combo is great. It can inspire a vignette, an outfit, a future design project, an art project–and I see these items laid out as an artwork themselves! Thanks for the helpful tips. I hope it helps readers see the relevance.


Loving the new useful tips on this series already…Looking forward to the rug round-up next week too! Thanks Emily!


Thanks for the lovely post! My one suggestion for the mood boards would be to add pieces of furniture or other “hard” inspiration to the mix. As a non-designer, it’s more difficult for me to visualize how these boards would take shape in a real room without some of those elements included.


I love this. It’s pretty, it’s got great design-think to it, and it helps me think outside the box in terms of color.

Can I also say, with lots of others, that I can’t get over how in love I am with yesterday’s kitchen. SO GOOD!!!


My husband and I have been looking/obsessing/getting our hearts broken over rugs for the past 6 months. Please get me that rug round-up soon – the situation is rapidly devolving. Also, thank you for hearing my telepathic cries for your help!


As a 60%er its mostly because I am a design newb and I dont get it most of the time. But I do see how pretty this is! Its inspiring. But I google “coral and teal” rooms and its one horrendous mistake after another. Im glad your explanations kind of point out why your mood board will work when others fail. But I still am not sure if I can pull this off.
P.S. Your work is amazing!

I love these mood/inspiration boards. It’s a nice break from the specifics of furniture and lighting, and just get inspired by some pretty colors and textures. In whatever manner you write them, please don’t completely get rid of these kinds of posts! -A 40%-er

40% er

I like this mood board. I would love a post on how a mood board translates to a room.


I’m ambivalent about the mood boards, but I wanted to pipe in to say that I really love how you ask for and really seem to listen to reader feedback. I think it’s pretty rare in the blog world and I, for one, dig it. It must drive you insane, though, to not be able to please everyone – hang in there 🙂


I’m another one who really enjoys these mood board posts – the tips are great for those of us who aren’t nearly as handy at pulling colours and textures together!


I much prefer this incarnation of the Material Girl posts, and not just because you’ve gotten rid of the really irritating material girl (I was one of the 60%). Seeing the “theory” behind the choices is really so so much better. Please do use any MG posts you’ve got stockpiled in this format, I would definitely click on them now!

I think this series ought to continue with design tips. You could teach us so much! A mood board with an emphasis on line…and colour. A mood board with an emphasis on shape….and color, etc.


Any chance of a link to the specific product for fabric #2? It just links to the general website, and after 20 minutes of searching I haven’t found it.So. Much. Fabric.


I really like that you added the “why” behind this board. I often have a hard time putting together colors/patterns and this is quite helpful!


I love this version of Material Girl. The tips are much more helpful than the girl description.


I love this! I was one of your Material Girls Haters, but this version is framed differently and so I really like it! Now, I can see how you are using different patterns and textures and versions of colors. I don’t know why the stories of the girls clouded that before, you’d think it wouldn’t really matter…but this I totally got. The different shades of blue and coral, the mix of warmth and cold. I can imagine decorating a room now using this as inspiration. I mean, that is, if I could decorate a room. Which I can’t really. But, you are my Sherpa and I’m getting better. 🙂


I wasn’t super fond of the stories attached, but I loved the overall idea of Material Girls! I have a hard time sometimes pulling different patterns and schemes together, and these help me look at things differently.

I especially love this one, as I have a thing for coral, blue, and sometimes a touch of mint. The tips are fabulous!


Love your teaching. I always learn something. That “blurred eye” thing is a trick that quilters use when putting fabrics together as well. Also they look at the patterns through a red colored lens which removes the color and focuses on the patterns.

How do you make the special effect where items are added and the whole process loops? Is there someone on your staff I could talk to about it? I am trying to complete something similar for a graduate course I am taking. Thanks!

I love the materials girl posts! The scheme is beautiful!


Fabric #2 info? PRETTY PLEASE … I really need that fabric. The link just goes to the big fabric website…

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