Anyone who’s ever dreamed of escaping from the day-to-day to their very own tropical island would be right at home in blogger Kelli Collins’ house. In her time in the Coast Guard, Collins visited all seven continents, collecting art and inspiration along the way. Now, she styles products and manages content for companies across the globe, all while raising her family in the playful, artful abode she calls Mango Manor. Here, Collins shares how to decorate your house to reflect a life lived in full color.
Collins compares color to music, where each hue is a single tone that sounds more beautiful when harmonized with other notes. “When the combination of color you select sings to you, all that matters is that you like what you hear,” Collins says, rejecting the recent fad of minimalism in color.
To find the right colors for a room, Collins recommends taking a chance and just painting. “The only way for me to envision how a color will look in a space is to slap it on the wall!” she shares. Such was the case for her master bathroom. When the shade of yellow she painted on the walls turned out different than how she had envisioned it, she considered changing the color. But as she added decor, the room became her favorite in the house. “I love walking into a sunny, yellow, happy bathroom in the morning!” she adds. “Nothing says hello like yellow!”
When it comes to furniture and art, Collins encourages seeking out beauty where it’s least expected. “Sometimes the whole concept and look of a space will be based on a single object around which the rest of the decor will revolve, and typically those pieces are found in seemingly innocuous places; garage sales, flea markets, roadside knick-knackeries,” Collins says.
Take her favorite piece, for example: A Tree of Life that was taken from a temple in Bali in the 1930s. Discarded behind an antique shop in Hawaii, it went unnoticed for years until it caught Collins’ eye. “No one had even given it a second glance,” she says. “I was ecstatic to find this piece!”
For a boho home like Mango Manor, plants mean more than just decoration. “We have designed many of our environments to steer us away from nature which is essential and fundamental to us as humans,” Collins imparts. “I love the idea of connecting nature with people and bringing the outside in.” To further the indoor jungle ambiance, Collins, with the help of her daughters, keeps bromeliads, monsteras, birds of paradise, elephant ears and more. She gets most of her plants from Emerald Nursery and Rockledge Gardens.
Kelli Collins’ 5 Tips for Designing a Nurturing Space
- Declutter the floor space. “Clear the space of all the unnecessary items and fill it up with all the things that bring you joy,” Collins explains.
- Balance. If you have a gallery wall on one side of the room, keep the other walls simple.
- Make comfortable reading or lounging spots in every room.
- Bring the outside in- plants can instantly warm up a room.
- Use plenty of textures and layers. “Stimulate your senses,” suggests Collins. “Candles, music, incense, lighting, favorite colors, lush textiles….it can really make a difference.”
In addition to writing and serving as Assistant Managing Editor for Space Coast Magazines, Heather Motro writes the sustainability blog The Blergh, manages social media for the Marine Resources Council and was co-Editor-in-Chief of Holy Trinity High School’s award-winning yearbook, The Tigrium. She is a member of Clemson University Honors College Class of ’24 (go Tigers!).