Bedroom and Night stand styling: 1 room, 3 different looks

OK, folks. I styled my bedroom with three different night stands (that I’ve been hoarding) three different ways, but using the same styling rules and elements. Now you choose which one you liked most — and watch the video at the end.

1. Cooky Vintage Hollywood:

This one is definitely the most feminine, but it’s also the most exciting. So the question becomes: Do you want your bedroom to feel more calm and quiet, or a little more stimulating and exciting. Ahem.

Resources: Vintage deco rug from Bette Midler’s estate (1930’s, but she bought them in the 80’s and stay tuned since I’m selling two more similar to this on my One King’s Lane tastemaker sale March 10th). Vintage Milo Baughman night stand from the flea market. Vintage headboard recovered in new peacock blue velvet. Bedding: Garnet Hill Hotel Collection (and it’s VERY soft). Underneath all that is a Legget and Platt adjustable bed so’s I can blog in bed. I’m efficient like that.

I have five go-to accessories for nightstand styling. Here are the first three:

1. Lighting, obviously. You want to fill the vertical space on top of the night stand and you want convenient lighting so you aren’t having to go to the wall to turn off lights. Whatever happened to the clapper? Sometimes genius is never truly appreciated.

2. A tray/bowl or box for jewelry. I’m a last minute jewelry-taker-off-er so I like to have somewhere to corral my jewelry.

3. Something that smells nice — be it a candle or flowers. This is more for a guest bedroom and less important for the day to day, but why not treat yourself like a guest in your own house sometimes and put something that smells nice next to your bed? It sounds fussy but it’s just so lovely to have a bedroom that smells sweet.

Candle from Illume (whose candles I’m increasingly becoming obsessed with). Tray from CB2 but three years old. Moroccan tea glass/vase from OpenSky.

2. Global, eclectic and clean:

This bedroom is quieter and calmer with less “hot” colors, but still with warmth since I brought in that wood jewelry box (and of course that wood shoe.)  I like this one a lot because it is calming, quiet, and more masculine, but it lacks a little bit of the “crazy” that the first one has.

In this one I enlist two more of my go-tos:

4. A cute alarm clock.

5. A water decanter/glass to avoid middle of the night trips to the kitchen.

Resources: West Elm elephant lamp. Nate Berkus rug from HSN (no longer available). Vintage campaign style Baker night stand. Throw from Target, I believe.

Clock/water carafe from West Elm, but discontinued. Vintage shoe from Inheritance. Jewelry box from the flea market.


3. Cool, Unexpected, Eclectic:

This room just became a lot more interesting by not using a traditional night stand or a traditional lamp, but it’s also less functional without that storage. I still love it.

You’ll notice the same elements apply: An untraditional vintage accordion lamp still fills that vertical space, but I’ve added a sweet plant below to help fill the in-between empty space. A tray corrals the jewelry and the candle in one. I needed one more item (because things work best in threes) to make everything work together, so I brought in a brass plane, of course.

Resources: Vintage burl wood table. Vintage brass plane. Blue and white polka dot platter from Nickie Kehoe, candle from Illume. Planter is vintage from the flea market. Throw is from West Elm (and it is VERY soft).

Accordian lamp from the flea market, but I think I’m going to sell it on my next sale … stay tuned.

All of these nightstands utilize my main styling tip, which is: Always have …

1. Something with height — in this case, lighting.

2. Something solid and horizontal to ground the table, like the tray/box or books.

3. Something sculptural to soften the difference between the vertical items and the horizontal items.

Watch this video we made to demonstrate how these three looks came about:

My new intern, Tessa, and I made it right after we shot the photos. Thank you Tessa. And thank you so much Bethany Nauert for shooting all the nightstands.

So which is your favorite nightstand?

1. Cooky, Vintage, Hollywood

2. Global, Eclectic and Clean

3. Cool, Unexpected and Eclectic.


And for bonus votes, guess which one I’m actually living with right now, which may or may not be my favorite …

How one man survived Alt Summit and lived to tell the tale

Dear Emily’s Readers,

A few weeks ago, I found out I was going to Alt Summit with Emily. For those of you who don’t know, Alt is a three-day conference in Salt Lake City for design and lifestyle bloggers. “Alt” is short for altitude, but it’s also code for “Alternative,” meaning there are a lot of hipsterbloggers in attendance. Salt Lake City is kind of a crazy place for a conference, especially considering that the airport closed the day we flew in because an airplane was, like, doing 360s all over the runway. Thankfully, no one was hurt. Also thankfully, I wasn’t on that flight. Because if I had, I would never fly again. (I’m already a nervous flyer.) Here I am at LAX, minutes before our bone-chilling flight:

The terrifying flight was worth it. Because our hotel was beautiful and old and filled with history. Like your mom. It looked like this:

The Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City

After settling into our room and playing with our hair and talking about our feelings for two hours, we were ready to party.

Alt had a million parties, one of which was based on the board game “Clue.” Everyone dressed in bright colors (i.e. Miss Peacock, Professor Plum, etc). The “Clue” party was the first party we went to, and the first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was that I was one of, like, 8 guys in attendance. Which was fun because ladies are more fun than men anyway. What I wasn’t anticipating was the everyone and their mom would be wearing crazy hats made out of flowers and chiffon. I had never heard of this before, but apparently these things are called fascinators. There was not a lady in the house without one. And they were all awesome. And terrifying. And awesome.

Of all the fascinators, this one fascinated me the most:

It was worn by the ubercute Brittany Watson Jepsen from The House That Lars Built. Here she is with Emmerz:

This cool cat dyed her hair to match the flower on her head. That’s dedication.

Oh hey look, another dude. The Man in the Yellow Hat.

Because sometimes a fascinator isn’t enough, this lady showed up in a full on peacock mask. (Sidenote: what’s up with peacocks? Like all the sudden in late 2010 we all got obsessed with them and now we can’t calm down.)

Speaking of birds, check out this luxurious giant swan that Land of Nod had shipped in for Alt.

Naturally, Emily and I had to play in it.

Emily spoke on a panel called “The Future of Design Online” with Heather Armstrong from Dooce.

The panel was moderated brilliantly by (GASP!) a dude, Maxwell Ryan from Apartment Therapy. He’s a super smart dude and it was fun to hear everything he had to say about creating a sucessful blog. Also, since he was one of like 1.47 straight guys there, the ladies were on him skanky dresses on Jennifer Lopez.

This lady was pretty awesome. You gotz to give props to anyone who can pull off an enormous Mad Hatter hat.

I wandered into a workshop that seemed pretty normal at first. Just a cute girl talking about bright colors whilst wearing flats with tights.

And then, like, out of nowhere a balloon fight broke out. Just imagine 200 pretty hipster girls throwing balloons at each other. It’s what I imagine Zooey Deschanel dreams about every night.

This is Anna Passadori, a fantastic girl we met who is a product designer for Land Of Nod. We met their whole team, including their CEO and they were all intimidatingly hip. It was weird, this brand that designs cute stuff for kids is run by totally awesome ladies that wear cutting edge fashion and oversized beads. They were all super nice and super pretty and I kind of want to be them when I grow up.

When you are one of very few men at a conference, it’s best to make new friends. For example, I made friends with more than one dirty martini.

This girl was totally adorable, and one of many fans that approached Emily at Alt. It was pretty fun to be surrounded by so many people that recognized Emily (and sometimes even me!) from HGTV. Lots of friendly comments and words of encouragement, which we don’t get every day as we sit in the office together plotting whose house we are going to decorate next or how we are going to find the best vintage pieces to sell on One Kings Lane.

Alt was kind a of a crazy blur. You meet so many people and spend so much time gabbing that when you get home you kind of want to curl into a ball and sit in silence. The conference is super informative and super fun, and also like entering into a “Twilight Zone” full of cute girls that all know tons about style and are all perfectly coiffed. I’m actually kind of impressed with myself that I didn’t magically transform into a woman after being surrounded by all that estrogen and feminine fashion. Next year, I’ll make sure to bring a fascinator. At Alt, you’re nothing if you don’t have a strange and mysterious object perched on your head.



Contributor Orlando Soria,







49er themed Superbowl party; styling with red/white and gold.

A girl rooting for the 49ers because their outfits have a better color palette is like a dude liking Jacob over Edward because he probably has more powerful lats and could challenge him in a arm wrestling contest; it’s just all wrong, and totally beside the point and YET, you can see it makes a bit of sense.

Red/gold and white are pretty colors together; they just are. So, this is how I would style my casual, rustic and oh-so-very masculine Super Bowl party.

A little bit organic, a little bit of glam. Casual enough for Brian but with just enough femininity for me.

1. Tessa Ivory/Gold Porcelain Irregular Tray, $237.60, 2. Root Platter (Medium), $13

3. Colorblocked Baguette Board, $198, 4. Egg Platter, $19.95

5. Threshold Appetizer Plate Set of 4, $14.99, 6. Ticking Stripe Placemats/Napkins Set of 4, $160/$128

I pretty much only drink beer from Stella glasses. I’m VERY fancy like that. I love the mix of the footed wood platters with the gold and white bowls. I also love dip, mainly because they are like fancy condiments and plus you can say the word ‘dip’ all the time. For instance, “Pass me that onion dip” or “What is in this nacho dip?” So fun. It’s a party for your lips.

1. Glass Yorkshire Dispenser, $19.99  2. Stella Artois Chalice, $14.99/set of two

3. Shallow Salad Bowl, $125  4. Falcon Plate Set, 24.99 GBP

5. Diamond Cut Nesting Bowls – Gold, $99  6. Blonde Wood Pedestals, $24.50 – $89


I have that white enamel bowl with the red hearts and I love it so much. The straws might be a bit fussy with your beer, but they’ll look very good in a cup on your bar and that’s really what the party is about — your bar cart styling skills.

1. Paper Straws – Red and White Striped (144), $8.59  2. Reusable Knork Red Set of 24, $10

3. Heart Enamel Bowl, $49.50 (already sold)  4. Acacia Wedge Server, $21.95

Do you also base your football picks on their outfits color palette? ALSO I’M KIDDING; I root for the team with better hair.

Sunrise Senior Living Redesign giveaway

Hey folks, remember last year when I partnered up with Sunrise Senior Living to share style tips on how to decorate with the needs of seniors?  Well, this year we are upping the partnership and I’m actually going to redecorate one lucky member’s space, all expenses paid. Keep reading.

Emily Henderson Suite Style Contest 2103

When Sunrise first approached me, my gut reaction was that I generally get sad when I go into nursing homes, so was hesitant to forge a partnerhship with one. BUT I figured I’d visit one to see what it’s like. I loved it. It truly didn’t feel like a nursing home — all the residents were just so happy. I spent the day visiting with them, touring the space, eating the food, playing with their pets, and generally getting a feel for the community.

I honestly don’t know much about any other retirement communities, but I was totally impressed with Sunrise Senior Living. The rooms can be personalized any way the residents want, to really help them feel like home. It feels NOTHING like a hospital or any other nursing home I’ve ever been in. They’re encouraged to bring their pets and whatever else they wanted to make sure it feels like home and there are like one million activities a day for the residents to do together. The food was good, the classes were fun … everyone just hangs out with all their friends all day.


So here’s what’s happening: One lucky resident is going to win a $3,000 makeover from me for their Sunrise Senior Living space. Sunrise will fly me to where the senior is and we’ll do a design consultation. After I plan everything, I’ll come back and makeover the space. The idea is that just because you share your home with many other people doesn’t mean that you lose your individuality and personal style.

I’m not sure how many seniors read this blog, so this is for you guys who know seniors — your parents or grandparents, etc., that live in a Sunrise Community. You can nominate them and they don’t have to do any work.   

Fill out the nomination form here and review the contest rules here.
All you have to do is write a short essay about what living in a Sunrise community means to you (or your senior) and why you/they would love a home makeover. This is really what is going to get you to win. The more personal the better and I don’t think it would hurt to tell your story (or the story of the senior you are nominating).
If you want to nominate a family member or friend, you can write the essay on his or her behalf.
Just think about how much fun it would be for them. It’s not too intrusive and it won’t take long, and after just a few days they’ll have a space that they love even more and reflects their style. Plus the whole process will make them feel so special. I’ll keep anything that they love or have sentimental attachment toward and incorporate those pieces into the design.
I feel pretty strongly that after a long life of working hard and raising families that seniors should get to live somewhere that makes them really, really happy. I know Sunrise isn’t cheap and probably costs more than nursing homes, but it’s 100 percent worth it to know that they are having fun, all their needs are met in a really warm, inviting, activity-filled home. As a massive fan of communal living, I’d totally be into it.


Click here for all the design tips on designing for seniors, and check out the mood board and list of resources that I used and recommended.

Who out there has a family member at a Sunrise community? You have until March 1st to enter and then the winner will be announced. Think about how surprised and happy they would be. I’d fuss over them, take lots of photos with them, and generally make them feel so special. Enter away!


This week in instagrams

Oh, so much happened this week. Just so much. For instance, I bought these chairs:

Oh yes i did. I wish the upholstery was in good condition because the color is so great, but it has some stains … Has anybody tried getting furniture professsionally cleaned and has it worked? I can’t tell if I’d be wasting my money or saving my money.

Speaking of upholstery:

I turned a pretty dull but nicely shaped chair into this masterpiece. It’s for Bri’s house, and it screams chicnesss, oh yes it does.

Then I had a photo shoot:

Yes, that’s a photo of someone taking a photo of me. We also had someone taking a photo of the photographer taking a photo of me, and a satellite photo being taken of all of them taking photos of photos. It’s super meta. That is the lovely David Tsay, although I’m sure you’d recognize the back of that head anywhere.

This was for a magazine where I’m re-doing all these kinda junky flea market finds to something VERY awesome. Or that’s the idea. From garbage to gorgeous. From smelly to sparkly? From meh to omg?

They’ll just get transformed, and we’ll leave it at that.

Then I put a dickie on Bearcat. Decorative cat collars are HUGE this year, trust.

She looks like a little judge from a weird French cartoon movie! I don’t object!!!

Then we hopped on a plane and came to Alt Summit to speak. Last night the party was awesome and “Clue” themed with everybody wearing the color of one of the Clue players.

Orlando went Peacock and I went Scarlet, natch.

I caught up with some of my favorite bloggers, like Jordan and Paul from Oh Happy Day and a ton others, but my stupid phone is refusing to email myself the photos right now. I’ll have to post them next week.

I’m speaking today with Maxwell (founder of Apartment Therapy) Heather Armstrong ( Scott Kurnit ( and and Aaron Gowalt ( about “The Future of Design, Online.” We are going to predict how we see the internet changing the design/editorial world. My thesis as of right now? Partnerships are the new advertisement, but is this good or bad?

Have a killer weekend. Come back next week for Orlando’s male take on Alt. He’s gone undercover, in drag, to get the scoop!