Emma Roberts' dolls are the real stars of her "storybook" L.A. home — here's how to create a similar display in your space

Creepy or charming, depending on who you ask, Emma Roberts' dolls have certainly got everyone's attention

Three vintage dolls in pink outfits on a yellow background next to Emma Roberts in a black long-sleeved dress standing in front of a baby blue gingham wall
(Image credit: CSA Images + Araya Doheny/Getty Images for Revolve)

If you have yet to become acquainted with Emma Roberts' dolls — Leggy Jill, Blythe, Drunk Cowgirl Barbie — you are missing the best part of her self-described "storybook" Los Angeles home. 

The actor and Belletrist founder recently welcomed Architectural Digest into her Pierce & Ward-styled abode, and virtual visitors swooned over Emma's cozy, chic living room with calming neutrals, deep burgundy accent chairs, floral touches...and the unexpected doll collection next to her desk. 

By far one of the most creative small living room office ideas, Emma's bookshelf of "dolly kins" has become a viral sensation overnight, so we asked designers how to create a dolly aesthetic of our own. 

See Emma Roberts' dolls — and style your own collection to match

Charming or creepy, depending on who you ask, the ample collection puts a unique, retro spin on Barbiecore. Not the typical buys from the toy aisle, Emma's plastic pals are likely fun comic book store collectibles or secondhand store finds, according to Real Homes staff writer Eve Smallman.

If you've already assembled a small bevy of dolls like Emma, including some that have a whimsigoth decor edge, others with an antique twist, and others that are plain old hot messes (we're looking at you, Drunk Cowgirl Barbie.), we know exactly where you can start with displaying your collection.

1. Choose an aesthetic

"Decide on the theme or vibe you want to convey, whether it's vintage, eclectic, or whimsical, and choose dolls that reflect this aesthetic," suggests designer Nina Lichtenstein. "Mix and match different types of dolls, such as vintage porcelain dolls, handmade cloth dolls, or modern art dolls, to create an intriguing and cohesive display."

Just like when you look for easy upgrades for a small living room, you'll want a mixture of fabrics, the same way you'd opt for a variety of dollies. 

"Look for dolls with interesting features, unique costumes, or historical significance," Nina adds. "Pay attention to details such as scale, color palette, and overall composition to create a visually appealing arrangement."

2. Find a good display area

The next step is finding a suitable area to display them. Emma has creatively chosen to place her dolls next to her desk and mood board, adding a statement-maker to her makeshift office area.

"Consider placing [your display] on a dedicated shelf, mantelpiece, or in a glass cabinet to protect the dolls from dust and direct sunlight," Nina adds. "Position the display in a prominent yet harmonious location where it can serve as a focal point without overpowering the surrounding decor."

Peruse our favorite cute bookshelves for small spaces to display your toys. If you really want to add to the charm, you can select a shelf from an antique store or build a bookshelf of your own. 

3. Add personal touches

What works particularly well about Emma's collection is that there are personal stories and meaning behind each find. Up the ante with heirlooms and the like. 

"Incorporate decorative elements such as framed artwork, floral arrangements, or vintage books to enhance the overall ambiance," Nina adds. "Consider displaying family heirlooms or personal mementos alongside the dolls to create a personalized and meaningful vignette."

If you're one for home DIY project ideas, why not take things back to yesteryear and dress your dollies?

"You could even give them a makeover, dressing them up in outfits to match your home decor," Eve suggests. "Hey, who said you're too old for that?"

Meet our experts

Selfie of Eve Smallman
Eve Smallman

Eve is a staff writer at Real Homes. She's here to bring you on-trend news pieces, product roundups, and styling inspiration. She lives in a rented Victorian terraced house and enjoys making it shine with pieces that are both beautiful and practical. When she's not writing, she's walking around local beauty spots, nestling into a book, or diving into a cheeseboard.

A picture of Nina Lichtenstein, a woman wearing a green jumpsuit
Nina Lichtenstein

When Nina Lichtenstein designs a home, it is more than just a house. It is a haven. One tailored to a family's distinctive tastes, daily rituals, special gatherings, and long-term dreams. It is a nest from which to launch lives and make memories for generations to come. Her use of diverse textures and elegant blends of stone, wood, and other natural materials are part of her signature style.

Looking for more ways to spice up your collectibles? Learn more about bookshelf wealth and creative, unique ways to style your books, dolls, heirlooms, and beyond.

Danielle Valente
Content Editor

Pleasure to meet you! I'm Danielle, a content editor at Real Homes who loves scoping out interior trends. I've specialized in lifestyle writing and editing for 10 years with a focus on events, food, and books, among other areas. When I'm not working, I'm usually cooking, reading, or searching for a new project for my apartment.