I’m not exaggerating when I say that talking to Kristina Bing is like chatting with a bestie. Her energy is infectious, even via video chat, and I find myself laughing (LOLing, if you will) harder than I have in a while. Bing has an easy warmth and a genuine joy—two things that are tastefully evident in her Los Angeles home. Our spaces are always reflections of ourselves, but some of us are better at expressing it than others; Bing has an amazing design eye, and a beautiful sense of self. So it’s a no-brainer that those things translate to her dwelling, which combines lush greenery, natural light, soft textures, and strategic pops of color.
“I do love a clean, modern, white, crisp, super Scandinavian look. In my dreams, no one would be allowed to walk in my house because everything’s light and perfect,” she says with a laugh. “So I think I’m mostly rooted in neutral, but I am very colorful. When I look around, I’m like, ‘Neutral who?’”
Bing currently works in ecommerce for Justina Blakeney’s Jungalow home decor company, and credits the job love for helping her fall in love with design and discover her personal style. “I get to decide product placement on our website, and I get to decide what products go on—and I do some product photography as well,” she says. “So it’s a really fun, creative job.”
I caught up with her to get her advice on home design, where to shop for the best pieces, how to stay grounded at home, and more.
What are some design tips or tricks that you’ve picked up over your years?
I was just thinking about my studio apartment that I lived in three years ago; just looking at it on Instagram, I don’t think I knew what my style was. It was a little bit bohemian, a little bit not, but I was just trying to fill every space in the apartment with something. And I realized that you need to have moments of quiet and calm—especially because the outside world is so insane. You need to have moments of pause, even within your colorful world. So when I moved here, I was like, “Okay, I want to feel calm and quiet.” Our bedroom is very minimal, there’s nothing on the wall; it’s just bedside tables and a dresser, because I want to be able to be calm and quiet—not overstimulated—when I go to sleep.
I’ve also learned so much about plants and how they are sculptural—they can feel like art, almost. It’s something that you can watch flourish and grow. I bought this fiddle-leaf fig tree, it’s huge. I needed to fill that space with something, and I was going to buy a lamp—but there’s so much natural light in here, I don’t need a lamp. So I bought this tree instead. Bringing the outside in, it really helps. Being around all this greenery makes me feel amazing. So if I’m trying to fill the space with something, I normally start there. And then taking the time to buy stuff over time and not rushing.
And also, starting with neutrals and then adding color. That is a good place to start, just so you don’t get sick of things. I’m a Cancer, I’m very hot and cold; sometimes I’m like, “I hate all this stuff, I want all new stuff!” And then I’m like, “No, I just need to rearrange it in a way that feels fresh and new.” That way, I can fall in love with the space again.
I was going to ask you about the incorporation of color and how you do it, because your space looks calm and beautiful and put together, but it still has personality.
Cold Picnic and Dusendusen are my two favorite brands. They’re small businesses, family-owned, and they create slow products. They’re a bit more expensive, but the quality, I’m telling you! People are always fascinated by my rug, and I’m like, “I know—they make it look like an art piece.” Aside from that, a lot of people ask me about my coffee table and a mirrored pedestal that I have in a corner, and those two are both vintage. So I feel like also balancing like the old with new is a big part of it, too.
We wanted our statement piece of our living room to be our sofa, so we got this amazing modular sofa from Joybird, and we kind of worked around that. I knew I wanted this exact rug, I’ve wanted it for three years; so I was like, “Okay, the white sofa and this rug, and then I will build around them.” I’m going really slow with that.
What are some of your other favorite places to source things for your home?
I have some things in here from Jungalow. Our console is Floyd, which is another business that I really love; their designs are very simple.
What’s it been like for you the past year? What have you done at home to ground yourself?
Well, I clean every day. My friends are like, “Why do you have it so clean?” And I’m like, “I have nothing else to do.” I make sure to vacuum every day, and I make sure to open the windows every day. Even today, it’s cold here—cold for California—but feeling that breeze in here, it makes it feel fresh. And I always make sure to have fresh flowers in here.
And sometimes I’ll just move a couple of things around—because I have nothing else to do, but it also makes me feel like it’s new. Like this fiddle; it belongs near a window just so it can survive. I had it in one room, then I moved it here, and I’m like, “Maybe I’ll move it again.”
I also change my bedding once a week. That has changed my life: fresh bedding once a week. It makes me feel like I’m at a hotel.
It’s impressive that you have kept your fiddle-leaf fig alive. They are notoriously tricky.
Are you shocked? Because I’m shocked.
They’re very temperamental. And this is my fourth one that I’ve owned. I’ve watched two YouTube videos by Hilton Carter because he’s the plant daddy; he says things like, “Make sure you water her with warm water, and I’m like, “Warm water? That’s very extra.” But everything he said I’ve listened to, and she’s thriving.
What vitruvi products have you been loving lately?
I have two diffusers. I love them—please, let’s talk about them.
I have the Stone Diffuser in Terracotta. And I have a new beautiful blue Sea color. It makes me think of the ocean, it’s very beautiful.
I spend a lot of time in the living room, just because it has the best light. I’ll put on classical music and then put on Lavender with it.
Instagram is such an interesting platform—it’s got so much potential and opportunity, but it can also be a challenge and such a time suck. How have you found that balance?
First of all, I have a two-hour time limit on my phone, because more than that hurts me physically and mentally. Especially with all the violence going on.
Instagram is a weird monster, and I don’t want to be too reliant on her, because she could go away at any moment. I’m very aware of how Facebook and all those things run; in a moment’s notice, someone could decide to pull the plug on that. So I don’t want to put too much weight and emphasis on her, because I don’t want her to be in control.
Aside from that two-hour time limit, what else do you do to preserve your mental health?
I recommend working out. Even if it’s something very small. I feel like I’m going to go bankrupt because I have this amazing trainer and I want to see her every day—because then I feel like I’ve accomplished at least one thing for myself that doesn’t involve anyone else, and is for the wellness of my body. So I always start out with that. And then, showering, as hard as it is for me—I do crawl into the shower. And the two-hour time limit, I’m telling you, it will change your life. And also, I’m very intentional about who I follow. There’s a lot of stuff with Instagram activism where everybody’s just reposting the same stuff over and over, and that’s very triggering to me. For example, because of what’s happened here in America with shooting. And I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube and doing a lot of DIYs like punch needles.
I do have to make sure that my brain is occupied all day so that I don’t go into a spiral.
How are you doing with the news of Daunte Wright’s death?
Honestly, it makes me not want to have children. I know that’s a terrible thing to say. It makes me scared for myself and for my brother, who’s young, and even for my dad. It just becomes exhausting, because you see it every day, and then there’s a new hashtag with a new name. But then I also hate the Instagram activism. I’m like, “Are you donating money, or are you just reposting this show that you care?” I almost would rather people just continue living their lives, but also secretly doing what they’re supposed to be doing. I know that’s asking a lot, but yeah, it’s a tough place to be. My girlfriend is watching the George Floyd case, and I can’t even be in the room when she’s listening to it because it’s just so triggering. So I’m staying busy. I’m about to paint my nails.
Just clear. Because I just need to take off the nail polish that I have on.
I have a friend who lives in Canada and we always joke about how we’re going to adopt a kid together and then share custody. And he’s like, “There’s no way we’re raising a kid in America.” That’s the view that the world has. Obviously with the president we had before, things were not tight—and they’re still not tight. But you know, a day at a time. With my vitruvi.
And your rug.
And clear nail polish. And then I will be fine. Two-hour time limit. Watch a little YouTube. Go to bed at a good hour. Drink a little bit of wine or a mimosa before bed. And then all is well.
An evening mimosa?
I started drinking them at night, starting literally last week. And I was like, I “Why don’t I do this more often?”
That is the best.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.