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  • (Photo: Michael Partenio)

Erin Gates : Designing a home and a life

Some know her as the beloved voice behind the uber-popular blog Elements of Style, while others have seen her featured in places like O Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and Canadian House & Home. Some are lucky enough to have had the Boston-based Erin Gates’, principal of Erin Gates Design, breezy design magic in their own homes.

Her new book, Elements of Style: Designing a Home & A Life is more than a coffee table topper – it’s a pretty, cheeky, totally engaging guide to whole house design with beautiful photography and signature Gates personal essays.

When it came to designing this guest room in her own home, Gates says it was partly about making a dream come true. “I have always wanted a pink room,” she says, “and using the black and ivory with the pink made it more husband-friendly.” Gates says she also wanted to mix modern and graphic elements with soft and feminine colours to achieve an unexpected result. The angular bedframe was a risk. (It used to live in a different home, which had high, sweeping ceilings.) But Gates had a hunch and found that sometimes even a small room appreciates a bold gesture!


The bold graphic rug contrasts with the pale pink wall, resulting in a soft, inviting room with strong character.

Be Picky with Pink

Pink usually looks much more saturated on walls than you expect. Go lighter than you think you’ll need to.

Layering Patterns and Textures

Mix patterns and textures for visual interest: florals, stripes, bohemian prints and embroidery.

Go big

One big piece – like the simple, angular bedframe – can change the whole dynamic, making this small room seem grander.