Styling Adventures with Kyla Herbes of House of Hipsters: Part II

Last week we gave you the heads up about our styling adventures with blogger Kyla Herbes from House of Hipsters. We are excited to show you what came of it!

Remember, Kyla wanted help working pillows into her room, so we sent our Visual Merchandising Manager Lisa Boudreau out to her home to explore the possibilities. Kyla’s living space — which she shares with her husband and two small children — is a sea of neutral colors, interesting textures and original furnishings. Lisa saw the potential, and worked with Kyla to pick out pillows from Unison’s fall collection and group them in just the right places.

From left to right: Sailor Charcoal Throw PIllow, $40-65; Dots Black Throw Pillow, $40-65; Harvest Black Throw Pillow, $45-65

For Kyla, working with Unison was a natural fit. “I focus on mid-century modern. However, I don’t like my house to look like it walked off the set of The Brady Bunch,” she says. “This can be a fine line to walk. The home decor found at Unison is easily integrated into my style. It brings my 1960s-’70s vibe into the present. The black, white, ultra-modern with a bold hue here and there … it comes alive.”

Lisa agrees, saying, “Kyla has a great understanding of design and how to interpret current trends in a way that is unique to her and the architecture of her home.”


Read on for a Q&A with Kyla (and get tips from Lisa, along the way) to find out more about their styling adventure.

Unison: Let’s talk pillows. Why do you think they’re important home accessories?

Kyla: Pillows can transform a room. They’re a great way to interject you favorite color, pattern and, here we go again with that infamous word, personality. Look at your sofa and imagine it without pillows. Now imagine it with bright hot pink and turquoise floral pillows. Now picture them navy blue with white anchors. Now change that to stripes or polka dots or your most favorite color or better yet, your least favorite pattern. Pillows just give your room that extra pop of pizzazz. They can make your room look effortlessly chic. It’s like your space is the hot guy in high school, and he comes and picks you up in a red Camero. Now, if he showed up in a beat up, rusted out Pinto, you’d still think he was hot, but the Camero adds a bit of extra excitement.

Lisa: “I really do believe in the power of pillows. They quickly and easily transform a space and convey a mood. Adding warm or cool tones will instantly effect a space overall. They can also serve as a unifying element in the over arching design of the space. In Kyla’s room I styled a sofa with three different groupings of pillows. Each group worked great within the design framework already established by Kyla and complemented the space. However, the final group selected visibly lifted the space making it lighter, brighter and reinforced Kyla’s vision.


Unison: What have you learned are key pillow styling tips?

Kyla: Edit your color palette and patterns. Too many and it just gets too crazy. You don’t need them growing jazz hands, screaming, “Look at me! Look at me!” Don’t be afraid to take a couple back home and return what doesn’t work for you. I suffer from this disease, which is how I wound up with pillow problems.  Pillows can look completely different when you get them into the space. Oh, and don’t forget to throw in a solid or two to break things up.

Kyla’s pillow collection!
Kyla’s new, pared down pillow arrangement. Clockwise: Dots White Linen Throw Pillow, $62-88; Color Block Graphite Throw Pillow, $60-70; Harvest Black Throw Pillow, $45-65

Lisa: Take cues from your art and other accessories in the room. Pillows on your couch don’t have to necessarily be in the exact style or period as your art, but can help establish your color theme and ground the room. Pulling out the cool tones from Kyla’s artwork and accent pieces helped to unify the space. With the new pillows you could really feel the beech vibe from her mantle artwork fill the whole space.


Also, don’t be afraid to be bold and combine different prints and patterns, but keep the number of patterns lower to round 3 or 4. Consider color and scale. Take the time to consider complementary colors in your space. Consider the size of the pillows in each group but also the scale of the print.


Unison: We loved this project with you! What did you think of it all?

Kyla: Styling with pillows is truly an art form that is not easy to grasp. Not only do you have the colors and patterns but there is also oversized pillows, square, lumbar. So it’s great when you have experts like Unison to lend a helping hand. {The new fall pillows} worked with what I had and together we really made my room come together … a room where I’ve had a revolving door of pillows for years.

Unison: Do you have any “rules” you follow for designing and decorating your own pad?

Kyla: When something catches my eye, that thing that makes my heart sing, I snap it up! Rule número uno: Never leave it behind. Ever. This rule especially is true when shopping vintage. You grab that sucka and hold on to it for dear life.

Rule #2: Create Pinterest mood boards. This helps me to visually see if everything in the space is jiving before committing. If you can handle the criticism, share it with friends whose style you admire. Take only the suggestions you want. It wasn’t until I started to publicly share my home with complete strangers that I became incredibly motivated and inspired.

Rule #3: Buy items unique to you. Make your home a memorable place to visit. Make it special. Make it unique. It doesn’t have to be trending to be beautiful.

Rule #4: Don’t rush it. Let the pieces find you. Take your time and channel your inner patience. This is the hardest piece of advice to follow myself, but I’ve found that when I don’t settle and look for that one amazing piece to come to me, the space looks incredible. You will eventually find it.

Unison: What are your three favorite things in your home and why?

Kyla: First and foremost, I own a vintage 1960s Model 20 dip-n-dunk photo booth. It’s the best party favor ever and a great memory maker. I purchased it to document my family when my daughter was born.

Second is my collection of vintage mug shots. Yes, they are totally creepy, but incredibly unique. Guests usually gaze at them for quite some time, examining everything from the outfits, to hair, whether they are good looking or not. The first question is usually, “Are these REAL mug shots?” When I first bought them, I started to Google their names. I found a few along with their stories, and they suddenly became incredibly creepy. So that ended abruptly.

Ok, third favorite thing. It’s a toss up. Don’t tell my son, but he just bought this boss 1983 GMC jacked-up pickup truck, and I secretly adore it. Every time I drive it, I giggle like a little kid. I can also easily haul more furniture and decor to my home. The other really isn’t a thing, it’s a space in the house … so this is technically cheating. But I love, love, love my patio. We reno’d it a couple years back, and it finally all came together this summer. Even though we live in a cold weather climate, we’ve been able to use it as an extension of our living area nightly. Being able to enjoy the outdoors, away from technology and TV, well, it’s just an awesome place to hangout and reconnect.

Unison: Mixing things up with budget and style is always fun. What’s one “high” piece of home style you love or might have in your home, and one “low” piece?

Kyla: I’m an advocate of buying a higher end piece of art as an investment piece that grows with you. There’s nothing wrong with buying artwork that is trending, but I think there’s something to say for buying a unique piece that no one else has or a piece that few people have. And I’m not talking a Picasso original. But finding an original piece of work or a limited run is a great way to showcase your personality. My three “mug shot” photos by Lani Lee would be my “high end” piece. Three oversized, black and white portraits shot mug shot style of famous graffiti artists.

My “low end” piece is anything and everything I’ve thrifted or flea’d. I look around my home and everything is special. I think about their stories …where they came from. Right now I’m staring at a mug with the broken handle. It’s filled with used paintbrushes that belonged to an artist. I bought the mug and brushes at her estate sale for $2. They now sit on display in my living room. I’ll bet she would have never imagined that to happen. I also have a piece of hand formed, handmade pottery I snagged at a thrift store for $2.99. A vintage rattan chair I found online for $15. It doesn’t have to be super-expensive to be beautiful and perfect. These pieces may not be for everybody, but they spoke to me.


Thanks so much for sharing your home and incredible style with us, Kyla!

And, for all of you out there with style questions, please feel free to stop by our store with questions! We’d be happy to assist you.