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oh joy gift guide: home decor

oh joy gift guide: home decor

We've all spent a lot of time at home this year, so here are a few things to make any space shine brighter for your loved ones...

1) Eliana Bernard dinner plates ($120), 2) My Someday is Now print by OK! by Angie Stalker (from $25), 3) Maison Rainbow print ($65), 4) Lily Glass ceramics tumber ($30), 5) Otherland Candles ($36), 6) Haand mug ($37), 7) Beelight Candle Crafts candles ($4), 8) Ceremonia Beaded Chandelier ($188), 9) Oh Joy! pillow ($53), and 10) The Neighborgoods dish towels ($45 for set of 3).

a few ways to give your home a fall refresh...

Oh Joy Fall Wreath

Let's face it. We've all been in our houses a LOT more than usual this year. And that work-from-home space that saw you through the first few months of the pandemic is starting to look a little drab. Or, you just need to refresh your space! Oh Joy! to the rescue! Here are some fun suggestions to mix things up for autumn and to fall in love with your space all over again (pun intended). From small decor changes and table settings to bringing bright pops of autumnal color, we hope at least one of these fun ideas will energize your inner interior designer for a fresh take on the new season...

Oh Joy! Interior Design Seating Area

1) A Cozy Seating Area - For a bigger change up in your house, try some fun changes to your common room (or living room or seating area)! Don't think of fall as just muted and dark jewel tones. There are fun ways to mix in different colors and textures to your space that bring the coziness of the season while also including spots that make you smile and bring joy. Check out all the tips for sprucing up this high-traffic area here...

Oh Joy! Fall Wreath and Door Decor

2) Fall Wreath and Door Decor DIY - A small change to your entry way and door can make a huge difference! Try out this quick and easy fall wreath DIY. And, if your door is smooth (glass or wood), some DIY decals also add a nice touch and make for a fun weekend activity. Find the how-to right here...

Oh Joy! Decorate with Yellow

3) Add Yellow to Your Space - Yellow is such a bright and cheerful color that most people associate it with spring and summer. But it also works so well in an autumnal palette and still brings such energy and warmth to your space. You can go all out like we did, or add smaller pops throughout. Check out this blog for more suggestions...

Oh Joy! Fall Office

4) Give Your WFH Office a Season Refresh - Take the opportunity to make some changes to your WFH space to bring some positivity that comes with a new season. That could be as simple as a print refresh or a new throw pillow. Or as big as a new rug, new wall colors, or a whole new everything! Whatever changes you make, find the ones that bring you real joy in the space. Find some more ideas here...

Oh Joy! Fall Table

5) A Fall Table - This year the holidays and celebrations might look different. But a great and low cost way to keep the festive spirit alive is a fun centerpiece on your dining table. With just a roll of gold contact paper, some jar candles, and small painted pumpkins, your table looks festive and fun! And, if you want it to last longer, try faux florals and ceramic pumpkins. There are even more ideas about how to make your dining space elegant and fun for fall here...

We hope these inspire you or spark your own ideas about how to make your home a little more cozy and comfy (and fun and colorful) for the fall! Let us know what caught your eye in the comments.

{Photos by Lily Glass, styling by Julia Wester, styling assistance and crafting by Jess Hong

plant tips from a former anti-plant lady!

How to Become a Plant Lady / Oh Joy!

If you spoke to me a year ago about houseplants, I would have told you that I couldn't keep ONE alive. Don't give me a plant as a gift, and don't try and make me have one in my house! Any plant that entered my house in the last decade succumbed to its unfortunate demise within just a few months. I overwatered, I underwatered...who the heck knows? All I knew was that I could not keep them alive. And, I found myself being okay with that. I had children and pets to keep fed and sheltered, and I didn't need anything else to take care of.

Well, it's now October 2020 and I went from having zero house plants in March 2020 to now having 45. YES. 45. And they are all growing and flourishing and loving their houseplant lives. Here's how it all started...

Back in April, I moved into our new house. Then in May, I moved out of our large studio/office. We had a ton of plants at the former office that were used for photoshoots, so I inherited about 20 of those. The timing worked to bring a bunch with me as I had a new house to put them in, and I was excited to bring these familiar plants to my personal home and have some of that life and warmth that plants bring. After that, I slowly grew my plant collection...a few here and there all summer and into the fall. As I saw that I could keep the first batch alive, I added more and more in spaces where I knew they could thrive. I now have plants in a variety of sizes from lots of small and mediums to some large (and VERY large like the one above). 

Now that I am happily an official plant lady, here are a few tips from me (a novice) about how I managed to keep these plants alive and happy in my home after a decade of thinking I could never do it...

How to Become a Plant Lady / Oh Joy!

1. Start with a once-a-week watering schedule. While plant experts will tell you that every plant is different and require various watering schedules, it would have overwhelmed me too much to think that I had to have different waterings days and times for different plants. Many of the plants that I inherited from our office, I had no idea what kind of light or watering they required. I wasn't about to search all the plant types online, so I kept it simple for myself. When my first batch of 20 plants were at my office, Jess (from the Oh Joy! team) was so good about watering them. She watered them every Friday, so I decided to stick with that day of the week. I added it as a re-occurring item on my calendar, and now I never forget. Over time, I have gotten used to how much water each plant needs—based on how much the pot can hold, when it starts to overflow, or how well it did from the previous week's watering.

2. Buy plants based on your typical sunlight and move plants around if they seem like they aren’t succeeding. When I began buying new plants over the summer, I was very aware to buy ones based on the light we have most of the time (not during a small window of the day). Most plants at a nursery or plant store have recommendations written on them. But if they don't say anything, always ask. If I see that a plant is starting to wilt, get brown/yellow leaves, or have other issues arising, I'll move it to a slightly less or more sunny spot and see how it does for a few weeks. I had a bunch of plants on a windowsill in my bathroom, and most were doing just great. But then I noticed one was always curling up it's leaves so I moved it to a less directly sunny spot, and she's much happier!

3. Trim when you water. When I do my weekly water, I will also trim and prune leaves that feel like they have shriveled, turned, or aren't thriving in some way. I don't know if you SHOULD do that, but I found that if one leaf had issues, more would have the same issue if I left it there. Whereas if I trimmed it, the rest would get better. It's as if the dead leaves were taking energy from alive ones.

4. Propagate if you love a plant that's thriving and turn it into decor in the meantime. I have some plants that seem to never have issues and have grown exceptionally well. These tend to be the climbing types of plants that often grow long tendrils. If you find a couple tendrils getting too long for the space the plant is in, it's a great time to trim them. You can also clip that healthy stem into making another new plant! This type of plant propagating is to clip a part of a plant and put it in water to allow new roots to grow before planting it into soil. They look so pretty in smaller bud vases you would normally use for flowers (like photo above)! And, they take the place of flowers nicely while lasting a lot longer.

5. Read some cool plant books! I only know what I have learned from my own experience, but for when I have issues with a plant or have no idea what is happening to it, a great plant book is your best friend. I also love ones that inspire plant life within home decor so two of my favorites are: Houseplants for All by Danae Horst and Wild at Home by Hilton Carter.

Some people made sourdough bread over quarantine, and I became a plant lady. There you have it folks...now you know anything is possible :P

a few things i'm loving right now for your closet and for your home...

Oh Joy / Fall Home Decor

Sources: Print by Paula Champagne*, Suku Home forest duvet set*, vase from The Styld Life*, Leanne Ford for Crate Kids lamp.

Oh Joy / Fall Style

Sources: We Dream in Colour studs*, OK face mask, Phenomenal Woman "I am an American" sweatshirt*, LemLem scarf/sarong*, Charlotte Stone clogs, Camp by JW jumpsuit*.

(*indicates BIPOC-owned brand/BIPOC-created work)

A tween room I designed for the Real Simple house!

Joy Cho Tween Room Design for Real Simple Home

After spending so much time sheltering in place this year, many of us have discovered just how important our spaces can be. For the third annual Real Simple Home in the October issue, they've partnered with designers and organizers to design a space in a real home and ideas for making every area inviting, calming, and ultra-functional. I'm excited to be one of the designers this year and share the room I created with you!

Joy Cho Tween Room Design for Real Simple Home

My inspiration for this room is a real-life 11-year-old living in NYC named Evan. She's artsy, a little edgy, and loves yellow. I wanted a space that felt fun and inspiring for a tween but also felt like she could grow into as she becomes a teen. Since the room is small, I added a large wallpaper mural to the focal wall behind the bed for impact.

Joy Cho Tween Room Design for Real Simple Home

New York City apartments and rooms are always on the smaller size, so I had to maximize the space with storage options that go vertically and allow her art supplies and sketchbooks to be stored off the desk. All of the major pieces of furniture are neutral (whites and light woods) with yellow in with a couple statement items like the peg board here and the wall mural by her bed. At this age, all furniture can be adult-sized so that she can use it for a while to come.

Typically this home could be toured in real life. But for the first time, Real Simple will be hosting a LIVE virtual event on October 1st to give you exclusive behind-the-scenes access to everything Real Simple Home. Be sure to register before October 1 so you can access the event page and get reminders via email.

This was such a fun project to work on since it's an age I haven't had a chance to design for yet, and I hope this gives you some fun inspiration for your own home. See the October issue of Real Simple for my room and more by all the other talented designers!

Bed Photo Sources: Wall Mural by Christina Flowers for Minted; Bedframe by The Novogratz; Yellow Round Pillow by Castle; Duvet Cover by Castle; Duvet Insert by Bed, Bath & Beyond; Sheet by Castle; Dotty Pillow Case by Castle; Scallop Pillow Case by Castle; Pillow Inserts by Bed, Bath & Beyond; Rug by Crate & Barrel; Nightstand by Urban Outfitters; Planter by The Jungalow; Faux Plant by Terrain; General Stationery by Poketo; Tout Est Magique Print by Hotel Magique; Floor Lamp by CB2; Curtains by West Elm;  Curtain Tie-Backs by Urban Outfitters; and Curtain Rod by West Elm.

Desk Photo Sources: Curtains by West Elm;  Curtain Tie-Backs by Urban Outfitters; Curtain Rod by West Elm; Desk Chair by Industry West; Desk by Oeuf; Desk Lamp by CB2; Pencil Cups by The Jungalow; Face Vases by The Jungalow; General Stationery by Poketo; Pegboard by Peg & Board; Arc Shelf by Peg & Board; Green Coat Print by Thee Bouffants for Society6; Peace Print by Sabrena Khadija for Society6; and Arc Shelf by Peg & Board.

(Photos by Christopher Testani, Room Design by Joy Cho, Styling by Sarah Smart, Location in The Marbury Condos)

making a guest room feel like home...


Do you have a guest room in your home? If you do...raise your hand if it's an extra bedroom that's well-intended as a guest bedroom but often gets used as a storage room for our extra junk or doubles as a home office/guest bedroom. (I'm raising my hand!) Since we can't have friends and family over these days, I've been taking the time to prepare our guest bedroom in a way that would be suitable for our future guests once they can finally come visit us!

making a guest room feel like home

We started with the California Closets x Martha Stewart The Everyday System which offers a beautiful way to customize closets at a lower price point than traditional built-ins. I love the idea of using the closet as a way to offer extra fun amenities, and things that would make their stay comfortable and provide them with things that might come in handy during their visit. Almost like the perks you would get at a fun hotel!

making a guest room feel like home

A mix of closed boxes allows you to keep some things hidden with open storage for making some things easily accessible.

making a guest room feel like home-4-blog

making a guest room feel like home

Some of the items to include that come in handy and will make your guests feel special include:
- Extra towels, blankets, pillows, robes
- Books about the local area
- Tote bags for shopping or beach trips
- Umbrella, sun hats, sweaters to allow for changes in weather
- Extra toothbrushes and First Aid items
- Snacks

making a guest room feel like home

While you may not be able to leave a guest closet filled with only items for guests, you can make use of boxes or bins to store things that you need as well and can easily be tucked away when guests are in town!

(Photos by Lily Glass)

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!-5-blog

Windows (and lots of them) were always a huge part of our home build design.  We love natural light, and sunny Los Angeles gives us some of the best and longest daily sunlight we could ask for! But we also knew, even as far back as our old apartment how important blinds were for sleeping through the night, keeping privacy, and controlling the amount of sunlight and heat in our house.

So we’re excited to partner again with Blinds.com to find the perfect window coverings for all the bedrooms in our home. While I can’t show you everything in our house just yet, I can show a couple of peeks at some options we choose.  And then I did some shopping for you, too!  Blinds.com has a large selection that can be daunting, so I picked some of my favorites for you to consider for your own home...

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

We chose Premier Roman Shades with the black-out option in mostly every bedroom in the home. I love that because you could have something like and bright (like the Gent Bisque linen shades at very top) or darker and more sultry (like the dark blue Luxe Velvet Lapis shades above).

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

I love these Flat Sheer Shades and Premier Flat Sheer Shades for rooms that get indirect light or rooms that don't require too much privacy, like a living rom or kitchen.

oh joy! builds a house: window coverings!

Also, ready-made curtains can be so hard to make work when you have extra high or wide windows, so I love that you can get them custom-made affordably here, too, like this Easy Rod Pocket Panel style.

Window coverings are one of those pieces that we don't often work into a design from the get-go, but it's important to make sure they work for you both functionally and aesthetically. One thing that is SO helpful to selecting window coverings is to chat with a professional that works with window coverings for a living. They have a great service and you can work directly with a designer to get just the right treatment for your home! 

I can't wait to show you how these shades work into our full room reveals!

(Top two photos by Lily Glass, Other photos by Blinds.com)

layering rugs 101...

layering rugs 101... / via oh joy!

Have you ever tried layering rugs before?! It's a great trick when styling with multiple smaller rugs, trying to cover lots of space, or when you want to define separate areas all within one room. Here are a few of our favorite ways to do it! 

layering rugs 101... / via oh joy!
Layering multiple rugs! Here, we layered three rugs to add texture and color to the room. We used one large rug under the table to define the dining area, and then we used two smaller rugs to differentiate the seating area in the corner. 
layering rugs 101... / via oh joy!

Layering rugs to define a space! This is a great example of using several rugs to cover one large area while also defining different spaces. This is a home office turned guest room when needed. The daisy rug helps signify the bedroom when the couch is pulled out, and the circle rugs help define the office portion of the room.
layering rugs 101... / via oh joy!
Layering rugs on top of each other! For this room, we layered a smaller circle rug under a large rectangle rug to cover more space. When layering rugs, we love to mix in different rug shapes, textures, and colors. The trick is to make sure they compliment each other but are different enough to make a statement. 
layering rugs 101... / via oh joy!
Layering rugs in a kids' room! Here, we took two rugs and laid one on top of the other diagonally. This is a fun way to separate the bedroom from the play area in the middle of the room. The middle rug is also a much softer texture which is perfect for kids! 
layering rugs 101... / via oh joy!
Layering rugs for texture! This woven rug brings in lots of colors while covering tons of space. We wanted to balance out all the color, though, so we added in a smaller, neutral faux fur rug on top. It makes a cozy spot for kids to sit on the floor and play! 
layering rugs 101... / via oh joy!

Layering rugs with patterns! For this living room, we used two rugs that incorporate patterns. We tucked part of the smaller rug beneath the large rectangle rug so that it's not totally covered but the two are still connected. 
What do you think? Do you style with multiple rugs? Let us know in the comments below! 
{Photos by Lily Glass. Concept/Production/Styling by Julia Wester, Production Assistance by Jess Hong. Written by Traci Michael.}

oh joy builds a house: paint!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Now that we've lived in our new home for a few months, it's been fun seeing how all the things we picked and designed are settling in and working in real life use! I was thrilled to use Clare Paint in our entire house for every wall (minus the ones that are wallpapered!). Clare is not only WOC-owned but their paint is also zero VOC and Greenguard gold certified which made me fall in love with the brand when they launched a couple years ago. Without giving away the final rooms yet, here are a few of the colors we chose that I love all in different ways...

oh joy builds a house: paint!

First, let's start with the most classic color we used. While I wanted some areas to stay neutral and let the decor bring in the color, bright white was too much in this new and modern home. So instead, we opted for Classic—a very pale grey that looks white but with a little more weight to it. We use this color throughout the house in the common areas, hallways, and ceilings, and I love it so much! For the rooms where we needed a slightly crisper white, we used Snow Day which looks exactly how it sounds.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Our Main Bath is a soothing and dreamy space where we chose Make Waves—a slate-like greenish blue that ebbs and flows with the sun. It's such a pretty color that it almost looks pearlescent when the sun shines on it.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

In our Girl's Bath, we chose Wing It which is a soft peachy-pink on the walls and Pop (a soft coral) on the ceiling and goes well with their mod cotton-candy inspired shared bathroom. The finish on the paint is already what's considered "eggshell" within other paint lines which makes it easily wipeable. The other day Coco got toothpaste on the wall, and it come right off with damp towel!

oh joy builds a house: paint!

Finally, for the darkest of the colors we used—Deep Dive was the color I most questioned but love so, so much! This color covers an entire guest room and makes it feel warm, sultry, and cozy all at the same time.

oh joy builds a house: paint!

We made sure to keep at least one can of each color in the garage which came in handy during these first few months as we were settling in and accidentally dinged areas of the walls (oops!) during move-in or when furniture was delivered.

I can't wait for you to see how the paint comes together with everything else in the rooms, but I hope that this gives you come color inspiration for any decor projects you might be working on right now!

(Photos by Lily Glass. Construction by Boswell Construction, Architecture by Project M+, Interiors in collaboration with Project M+.)

everyday dining combos...

Outdoor Dining / Oh Joy!

When we moved into our house a few months ago, I did A LOT of purging. After 10 years in our apartment, I was ready to upgrade many of the things that were ready to go. One of the areas that felt so nice and fresh to pare down and then add back to was our everyday dining pieces. I had mixes of old plates I loved and couldn't let go of and a single newer set that was never really enough to feed everyone because I had never taken the time to invest in enough pieces. 

Now, we have enough pieces of a few different styles that all mix and match well together which feels so great and so grown-up. Keep in mind...getting dinner plates is not the wedding registry expensive stuff from decades ago. Now, it's all about modern pieces that work for everyday. And, they should feel nice enough that you can use when friends are over for casual gatherings, too. Also, since our kids are bigger now, I cleared through a ton of plastic kid plates, and we have the kids use the same plates and glasses that we use most of the time. Sounds crazy but it honestly simplifies things a ton.

Here are a few combinations I love if you're looking to streamline and update your everyday dining, too...

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Summer Meadow. I love this versatile mix of mint with dark blue for a collection that feels fun but not overly feminine. By using pale green as a base and navy as accents, it offers a fun contrast and pops of color. Then add in a couple bright pieces as dessert plates!

(clockwise from top left) Urban Outfitters green speckle dinnerware set ($69 for 12 pieces), West Elm rose gold flatware (from $40), Ikea green glasses ($3 for 4), Year & Day midnight bowls ($44 for set of 4), Year and Day midnight mugs ($48 for set of 4), Articture Picasso plates (from $35), and Clare V for Anthro Oui side plate ($18).

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Pretty in Pink. While I love all shades of pink, having JUST pink dinnerware might be too intense for some. So mix and match by having your base dinnerware in pink with accent pieces in white or speckles or vice versa! I currently have pale pink glasses which are the prettiest shade that makes even drinking water feel luxurious.

(clockwise from top left) Year & Day pink serving platter ($50), Tiny Badger ceramic cups ($35), Urban Outfitters white speckle dinnerware set ($69 for 12 pieces), Anthropologie grain bowl ($18), Bormioli Rocco peach glasses (6 for $20), Clare V for Anthro side plate with lips ($18), and West Elm gold flatware (from $40).

Everyday Dining / Oh Joy!

Summer Splash. As we head into the outdoor dining season, I love plates that feel durable for outdoors that could be used indoors, too. We use melamine or bamboo plates when dining outside, but they also make great option to use as kid-friendly plates year-round. I love mixing those with regular utensils and glasses so it still feels adult and doesn't require you to buy another full set of exclusively outdoor tabletop.

(clockwise from top left) Xenia Taler bamboo plates ($48 for set of 4), Articture utensils ($139 for set), luster coupe glasses from Anthropologie ($56 for set of 4), West Elm acrylic glasses (from $5.50), and West Elm confetti glasses ($42 for a set of 4).

(Top photo has Articture utensils, Xenia Taler bamboo plates, and Concrete Collaborative countertop)