Bright & Bold: Emily Johnston Larkin

A Dallas designer, Emily Johnston Larkin, brings dazzling style to interior spaces with bright colors and bold patterns.

Yellow Dining Room Chairs

Browsing through Emily Johnston Larkin’s portfolio is a lot like looking through a kaleidoscope. Vivid hues and dramatic patterns shift and shine with every turn, as rooms come to life under this young designer’s capable hands. There is inherent happiness in every design, an exuberance that mirrors Emily’s own energetic personality.

Emily Johnston Larkin

Born and raised in Dallas, this style guru grew up with an equally savvy mother whose affinity for decorating—and then redecorating—the family home resonated with her creative daughter. “My biggest design influence—hands down—is my mom,” she says. “I always hear her voice echoing in my head, saying, ‘a room is never finished’ and ‘buy what you love.’” With Mom’s ringing
endorsement, Emily headed off to the University of Oklahoma to study interior design in the College of Architecture. After graduation, Emily worked for a few design firms, but she soon realized that sitting in a cubicle just wasn’t for her. With encouragement from her soon-to-be-husband, she walked away from her boxy confines and launched EJ Interiors in spring 2007. The kudos started rolling in immediately, as clients sang the praises of this color-loving designer, who describes her style as “classic modern with a unique twist.”

Blue Room

Emily loves mixing clean-lined, modern pieces of furniture with antiques and vintage finds to create an interesting juxtaposition of styles. The rooms are always polished and pulled together, but she can’t resist throwing in unique “wow” elements that are great conversation starters. Case in point: the bland TV-room-turned-swanky-lounge she recently completed for a young couple. She replaced the dated carpet with glossy black-and-white tile in a checkerboard pattern and installed a banquette covered in malachite printed fabric with pink velvet bolsters. The pièce de résistance? A metallic cowhide rug—after all, it was Texas!


A self-professed “magazine junkie,” Emily is constantly perusing design publications, tearing out ideas she likes and filing them away in binders organized by room. She loves to travel and stays in different designer or boutique hotels each time to experience the interiors of other cities, countries, and cultures. And as if designing and traveling isn’t enough to keep her busy, she also contributes to a blog with the catchy name Material Girls, which she produces with designers in five major cities, counting her own Big D.

Purple Bedroom

Truth be told, she enjoys every aspect of her chosen field—though one part holds a special satisfaction. “My favorite part of the business is the ‘room reveal’ at the end of an installation,” says Emily. “I love watching the reaction on the clients’ faces when they see their new room for the first time. That moment is the whole reason we do what we do!”

For information on EJ Interiors and the Material Girls blog, call 214-484-3570, or visit