Design Apps I Actually Use; the best and worst

There are obviously a ton of design apps out there, but I didn’t know if there were a bunch out there that I just wasn’t using because I didn’t know about them. Maybe, secretly, all these designers and bloggers use magic apps that shave time and legwork off their life, helping them gain followers fast, and just making them overall superior. But after doing some research, I’m not so sure. It seems like all the “designer-y” apps are just kinda silly and so much better on your actual computer, making the mobile app kinda unnecessary.

BUT, that doesn’t mean that I’m not using some that other apps that people don’t know about, so I figured I’d share what I’m doing so you can be in on it … if you want.


One King’s Lane: It’s a flash sale site — 3 day sales, no returns. What actually draws me to the site is their vintage market finds. Yes, in general these vintage finds are spendy — this isn’t eBay — but I like knowing what things are going for and who’s paying what for what. I can’t tell if I’m annoyed by their text messaging (which you don’t have to sign up for) or if I love it because usually I click on it. What sets them apart the most is the “Tastemaker” sales. As a designer, I don’t normally go trolling around to find amazing designers as much as i should. So OKL exposes me to their “Tastemakers,” which are usually designers or store owners, and then I start following them, check out their sites, and all kinds of stalkerish behavior. And yes, I have another one coming up March 10th, so start saving yer pennies.


Joss and Main:  Another flash sale site. Less expensive and instead of “Tastemaker” sales, they have more “curated” sales by designers, bloggers, and celebrities. Less vintage, more collections.

Fab: I’ve only bought from them twice, but I like to check it out in the morning to see what they are selling and for how much. Normally, they expose me to some designers I didn’t know about. They have more fashion, jewelry, and product design, less decorating stuff … did I just write “decorating stuff”?


Wunderlist: AMAZING TOOL. This app has totally made my life easier.


You can have a to-do list for everything. Check tasks off, priortize them by moving them around, share them with your assistants or kids/partners, and the lists are automatically updated on your phone. It’s totally amazing, has kept me way more organized and on task, and so many less emails back and forth to Orlando about what I need him to do. Get it.

iLevel:  A fun little app that tells you when something is level or not. Great for art or curtain rods. Nothing genius about it, just handy during installation.

Benjamin Moore Color Capture: Love this one. You take a picture of that wall color in a restaurant that you LOVE and the app tells you what it is — or at least the Benjamin Moore color that it is. This is exactly what an app should be.

You move the mouse around and it tells you what color it is, the different shades, etc.

CraftGawker: So fun. You can just peruse all these different projects and click on them if you like them and often they tell you step by step on how to do them. Of course, you can just do this online, but if you are at the airport and bored, it’s so fun.

Social Media

AfterGlow: Awesome photo app. You can pull pics from your phone or take new ones, lighten them, change exposure, add more filters, play with the borders, and then push “send to instagram” where you play with it even more and share it.


Instagram: Duh. But it’s my favorite. My user name is emhenderson, follow me.

Montaj: It’s the new video making app that I’ve been using and love. You don’t have to know any programs or even plug it into your computer – you edit it on your phone, set to music from your phone (or voiceover) and then share it like Instagram, with your followers. It’s awesome.


That’s a screenshot of a mini how-to I did about how I organize my magazine tear sheets. Riveting, I know. But basically, you just move the little five second clips around with your finger, shorten them to however short you want, and record your voice. Dunzo.


It just launched today, that’s why there are so few followers. Get it. I predict it will be very fun.

Here’s a recent one we did at the flea market. It’s the one set to One Direction so you may have already seen it last week on the blog:

Pinterest: Addicted, obviously. So long physical mood boards, you done got replaced. I don’t know where we kept all our ideas and inspiration before … oh right, cork boards. HA!!!!! I have my boards pretty well categorized now by “rugs,” “lighting,” “bedrooms,” etc., so it makes it so easy for me to find the ideas and products, and for others to do the same.

Facebook/Twitter: Facebook is a social media network that helps you connect with … JUST KIDDING. IF YOU DON’T KNOW THEN YOU MIGHT BE AN ALIEN. It’s still great, and such a good way to engage with people. Twitter is too, although less fun … I’m  a blabber.

Hootsuite: Schedule out your Facebook/Twitter posts. But when do I schedule my Hootsuite? It’s like if I was on top of it enough to actually schedule posts then I would probably just write them — although, I’ve hired a social media expert/assistant and she’s teaching me how to use this for more consistent Facebook posts (don’t worry, I still write them).

Houzz Interior Design Ideas: People love this; I’m just intimidated by figuring out how to use it and uploading my pictures and linking, etc. But I think if I had more time I would do it. My cousin said she redesigned her kitchen all from what she learned on Houzz. You follow people, get introduced to new products, find architects/designers. I think it’s shopping, tools, and social media all in one.

What I’ve Tried that is kinda ‘meh':

RoomHint: Nope. I tried to like it, and the theory behind it is good — you take a picture of something you like and it shows you other things you “might like,” but it came back VERY wrong and I was VERY offended by what it told me I liked. Like a bad pandora for decorating.


I took a pic of this lamp in my office and it showed me a crazy tacky chandelier. It says it has “designers,” but I’m assuming it just has spiders trolling the interweb picking up keywords like “lamp.”  So far unimpressed.

RoomPlanner: I’m bored just referencing this. It’s a room planning app that is soooo complicated you may as well be using Autocad. Pick up a pencil and draw the room; it’s soooo much easier. This is a good example of something that might be fine on a computer, but as a mobile app it’s just weird.

MagicPlan: Same as RoomPlanner. Too many numbers to plug in just to see if your sofa is too big for your room, when I think you can tell WAY better by just looking at it.

But most importantly, what do you guys use? What am I missing? What is going to make my/our life easier that I don’t know about?


Shopping With Emily & Orlando: Do You Have a Staring Problem?

Dear Emily’s Readers,

The other day Emily and I sat in the office ALL day, billing clients, designing new spaces, setting up meetings with vendors and design clients, and staring at Bearcat as she sat on our keyboards trying to get us to stop working. It was so hard. We are not office creatures. We are creatures of the wild that need to be free. Free to shop and drink coffee and laugh. Free to talk about our fears (Mel Gibson) and our dreams (Kelly Wearstler). We need to be free to shop because that is when we see the world and all the beautiful (and disgusting) things it has to offer.

We’ve come across some pretty cool art recently, and we are loving these hanging sculptures ($800) by Eric Johnson  at Shelter Half:

Shelter Half is a beautiful store on La Brea, the kind that fills you with frienzy and fear because you want everything but can afford nothing. For instance, I want all of these paintings:

Especially this one ($2950):

Painting 12, Shelter Half, $2950

After our Shelter shopping experience, I went home and trolled around on Craigslist until I found this awesome Japanese screen for $100.

The colors are beautiful and it’s printed on silk so lovely and golden it looks like it’s spun from Emily’s straw-colored hair.

Japanese Folding Screen, Craigslist, $100

My screen is exciting, but not quite as exciting as this screen:

Alas, someday … For now I’ll have to be satisfied with this little hand-colored photo I found at Rose Bowl for $15. It’s tiny. But you know what’s not tiny? The joy that fills my heart each and every time I look at it.

Hand-Colored Photograph, Rose Bowl, $15

Anyone who’s met me knows I’m obsessed with waves and Japanese art, so this piece at HD Buttercup ($1395) really got me going.

I can see this stone sidetable in my place, nestled between my lady chairs. Found it at a junk sale for $90 … Kinda want it.

Stone Sidetable from a secret junk sale, $90.

I bought these for a client to use as sofa sidetables. The brass accents are quite exciting, as are the double-ring integrated pulls. Glamour.

Side tables from Wertz Brother’s Antique Market. $275.

This rattan chair was also at that junk sale. $150. I can imagine sitting in it in my fantasy loft, drinking a cup of fantasy tea whilst reading a fantasy “book.”

Rattan Chair, Junk Store, $150.

Speaking of rattan … EXCUSE ME? This guy needs a little bit of a makeover (join the club, Buddy!) but has great potential:

Rattan Chair, Danish Modern NoHo.

You know how sometimes you get excited about something and then you see something else that’s even more exciting and then you forget about the first thing? And then you feel guilty for betraying the first thing even though the second thing is clearly better? Well, that’s exactly what Emily and I did with these chairs. First we were all about those rattan chairs, then we saw these and got excited. It feels like we cheated on the rattan chairs with these lucite beauties. Which made us feel gross, but also excited.

Lucite Office Chairs, Danish Modern NoHo

And what about this guy? Can’t you just see him in a minimalist Swedish country home owned by a couple named Sven and Ericsson? I can.

Bent Wood Chair, Danish Modern NoHo.

This. Reupholstered. In bright new velvet. That’s what I want for Valentines Day.

Modern Club Chair, Danish Modern NoHo

This leather lounger wants you to snuggle with it and tell it stories late into the night.

70s Leather Lounger, Danish Modern NoHo.

While searching for lampshades, we found this awesome sconce at Practical Props.

Axis Sconce, Practical Props, $199

Empiric, one of our favorite stores, is another place you go in and want everything, but feel like if you started buying stuff you might not stop until you were broke and homeless on the street. But would it be worth it? We found this delightful arc desk lamp there. I want to give it a hug.

Arc Table Lamp, Empiric, $595

Reminds me of this glamour lamp we used in Emily’s old office:

Finally, sometimes you see stuff and you don’t really know what it is but you know you want it. That’s how we felt about this ball thing. I’m still not sure what it is but I want to put it on my dresser and stare at it every day.

Ball Accessory, Inheritance, $95.

Inheritance sells mostly one-of-a-kind smalls, but they also have so editions worth gawking at:

Peace Soldiers, Inheritance, $300

What? You don’t have a golden bulldog sculpture? You’re in luck:

Reichenbach Gold Bulldog, Inheritance, $200.

I really want these cross-arrow candle sconces.

Arrow Candle Sconces,  Inheritance, $95/Pair.

Finally, do you ever long for something for so long that you don’t know how much longer you can long for it without dying? That’s how I feel about this globe. It’s huge, and pretty, and old. It’s also $950. Which is kind of a ridiculous amount to pay for a globe. But I want it. Like, so much.

Globe, Wertz Brothers Antique Market, $950

As you can see, Emily and I have done a good job of trapsing around staring at things to buy. Many of these things we hoarded. Many we left for you to go out and find. Half the fun of shopping is looking. So go out there and use your googley eyes to stare at stuff. It really is what makes life worth living!



Contributor Orlando Soria

View more posts about shopping with Emily & Orlando here, here, and here

How to plant a succulent garden

I’ve been playing around with this new video app, Montaj, where you can make videos 100 percent on your phone. It’s pretty addictive and totally easy. Technically it’s not released yet, but my friend invented it so they are letting me play around with it. So I made a little Succulent garden tutorial for you.

It’s easy, it’s inexpensive, and succulents make very good indoor plants. I don’t have a green thumb, although that does sound kinda adorable. In fact, in the video you’ll see that I actually have total sausage fingers, but very productive sausage fingers.

photo by Bethany Nauert

So even though it’s easy to make a succulent garden, it’s also easy to kinda mess up and not look amazing. So watch the video for some of my tips and secrets.


Thoughts? Feelings? Inner desires? Have you longed for a succulent garden of your own? Do it.

And thank you everyone for the comments yesterday. It’s good to know that there are so many people that can relate and have way better advice than mine. xxx

Reader question: How do you deal with negative criticism?

A while ago a reader, Amy, asked the question, “How do you deal with negative criticism or negative feedback?” It’s such a large one to tackle that I’ve kinda avoided answering it. But the answer has gotten simpler with more and more negative comments from mean people.  The internet is a total free for all and people LOVE to rip people apart behind their computers, so while this advice is specific to my blog, it’s general advice for facebook, email, twitter, or any general unwarranted criticism.

Let’s take a gander at this wonderful comment I received:

“You may as well smear my child’s sh*t and puke all over the walls and it would look better than what you do.”


That’s how I’m picturing him. He’s the worst.

Well, well. What a lucky child to have such a wonderful father setting such a great example for him/her. This was while he was watching last year’s holiday episode that I really enjoyed watching and was proud of … and then I opened my inbox.

Normally, that comment wouldn’t have really affected me too much because this guy is clearly a hateful imbecile, but he was determined to ruin my day and kept writing comment after comment, terrorizing me. Now it’s kinda funny because he’s a doucher toolbag idiot, but at the time it bummed me out — not because I think there is any truth to what he said, but that someone is hateful enough to write that and hope that I would read it and ruin my day.

Then there are the simple negative comments:

“Get over yourself.”

“You are a megalomaniac.”

… which hit way more close to home and made me question things a bit. Do I take myself too seriously? Am I self-obsessed? I don’t think so, but do narcissists really think they’re narcissists? Do crazy people know they are crazy? Do sociopaths know they are sociopaths? So while that comment is still hurtful, it’s also kinda influential. It made me look at myself and reevaluate the way that I project myself, because while I truly don’t think that I am a megalomaniac, the fact that two people have commented this way means that they are percieving me in a way that I really don’t want to be perceived.

But what do you do? Do you engage the negativity or not? My answer, as unsatisfing as it is, is “Not … most of the time.” It only enflames and excites them, and that is exactly what they want. Remember, they are often just haters and they love to hate and can’t wait to hate more. At first I did respond to negative comments, but then I found myself responding more to them than to all the positive comments and that’s totally effed up. I’ve tried shaming them, imploring them to ask themselves why they hate, and even defending myself, but it doesn’t help.

The two responses I wrote that did seem to work and gave me a little bit of satisfaction were:

“Dear so and so, You may be right. Emily.” Which is TOTALLY aggravating to them because that’s not what they want to hear.

or just,

“Wow.”  Which they don’t know how to respond to and it normally just shuts them up.

Do you delete negative comments (blog or facebook)? This is an interesting question and I don’t know how I feel about it. Negativity breeds more negativity so one would think to delete them so it doesn’t create more. But ultimately, I like my blog to be totally democratic and it seems weird to delete something that someone feels, because it’s their right to feel that way. And often it enflames other commenters and an interesting battle or dialogue normally ensues.  So in general, I don’t delete unless it’s something negative about someone else that is just cruel. There have been negative comments about clients’ houses or style and those I delete because I don’t want my client to read them and get hurt, especially if it’s something they love. You can say anything about me, my looks, style, and personality. I have thick skin at this point, but when people start getting cruel about other people, then that goes way across the line.


Ultimately, the most depressing thing about this whole subject is that there are sooooo many people out there that just love to sit behind their tiny little computers with their tiny little fingers and other little appendages and hate and hate and hate. I get it when it comes to religion and politics and things that effect many peoples lives, but I’m a decorator. I love making flower arrangements and fluffling pillows. Sure, I think that me and my style are probably annoying to a certain brand of person and that is totally fine; I’m annoyed at myself at times, but the hateful comments are just so strange to me.

Ultimately they are clearly more upset with themselves than others and just projecting that hate outward, and you just have to be grateful that you aren’t filled with negativity.  There was that phrase, ‘Hurt people, hurt people’, i love – the concisity is just perfect.

BUT sometimes they are telling … when I did the “15 do’s and don’ts to finding and keeping an internship/assistant post” there were 102 comments and like 80 of them were positive and supportive, but the ones that were negative really made me think. There were enough of them that said the same thing that clearly there was some truth in it. In that case, they were totally warranted and provoked an interesting diologue. So while they were hurtful, they were also not necessarily wrong and they were coming from a genuine place, not of hate but of personal experience. I did engage in the comments and even wrote a few back and forth emails with negative commenters to try to understand each other better. I still feel the same way and stand behind that post, but clearly I wasn’t projecting myself how I wanted to and for that I was sorry.

But all the “you suck,” “your voice is annoying,” “you should get invisilign to sponsor you,” “you just put garbage in a room,” “my three-year-old could design a room better than you,” etc. don’t really affect me too much anymore because I have a secret weapon and his name is Bill Cosby. Keep reading.

My advice to anyone that has to deal with negativity in any way (facebook, blogs, or general anonymous haters) is to remind yourself of this quote from the wise Bill Cosby:


Indeed. I’m certainly not an inspirational quote kinda girl, but I love this so much and this quote has literally helped me 100 times (when I’ve been bummed about mean people leaving negative comments).  I actually think to myself, “Good, because that means that I’m actually influencing someone emotionally.”  Having a point of view, being slightly controversial, and having a defined sense of self and style can be polarizing (although it’s not like I’m Bethenny Frankel or Brandi from RHOBH), but it’s also what sets you apart from the people that don’t have any of these things. It’s also what gets people to relate to you and love you. Ultimately, you can only be you and it’s just so much easier being you than trying to please everyone.

So thanks, Bill. I’ve loved you forever, but it wasn’t until two years ago that I read this quote and you really became one of my idols.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

And hey, all those haters out there, just stop. It’s cowardly and cruel.

My week in review; TGIF

Here’s what I did this week, via Instagram:

I bought a baby. I figure until I have a baby I’ll cuddle this painting. A strange man told me once that if you buy a weird $5 painting from a flea market and rub it all over your belly then you’ll get pregnant. I’ll let you know if it works and if it does expect a giveaway of a magic pregnancy-inducing baby painting. 

We shot at the Rose Bowl flea market with Good Housekeeping for a before and after feature that I’m very excited about. I be getting crazy DIY and crafty the next couple weeks. 

And yes, I bought these amazing chairs for my upcoming One Kings Lane Tastemaker Sale. Now to pick fabric … emerald green velvet? Methinks yes.

Watch the video:


On Tuesday we almost finished a 9-year-old girls bedroom that I’m very excited about, in partnership with Land of Nod. Check out the post and enter the giveaway (it ends today):

On Wednesday we shot at a house we’ve been working on for a year and a half and are totally, finally, 100 percent finished. Hey magazines, expect the story pitch in your inbox because it done turned out pretty. But only sneak peeks here:

I want this desk chair:

And this sofa and lamp:

Those instagrams are from my lovely photographer Bethany’s feed. Follow her on instagram @bethanynauert. Stay tuned for the real pics. 

Then yesterday I made some more decisions over at Bri’s house. This adorable little flea market find is going a crazy color. Can you guess?

And yes, we will both be posting the hell out of her house when it’s done. I mean, I don’t do this for my health. Be prepared to pin. 

That pic’s from Bri’s feed because she is WAY better at Instagram than I am so I steal her pics. 

And then last night I found this creature in my dryer:

I mean … BEARFACE YOU ARE SO CUTE. Do any of you just shout “YOU ARE SO CUTE” constantly at your pets? I know it’s not healthy to do to kids, so I need to get it out of my system. Cut to me dropping off my 14-year-old in front of the high school, screaming out the window, “EMILY JUNIOR, YOU ARE SO CUTE!!!!” Because she will be — until she stops speaking to me because I’m the crazy mom that shouts out the window.

All in all a very productive and fun week. You’ll be proud of me that I also shot two mini how-to videos on the new montaj app that is being released next week (more on that on Tuesday), and two behind the scenes videos with my videographer Tessa, and we are doing one more styling video today. It’s a new year here at Emily Henderson and I have so many new great people working with me, so stuff is happening. 

PLUS, Bri is done with my new blog design (what what?) and it’s being coded as we speak. Moving to WordPress friends and very excited. 

AND you’ll be proud to know that my book proposal is in the final round of sprucing up and then it will be sent out. New years resolutions all over the place.  

Got to run, shooting “How to Style Your Nightstand” today with Bethany because you know, everyone’s dying to know how you style your nightstand, which reminds me of this Instagram I took at the house we finished …

… because everyone uses vintage leather travel clocks to tell time these days. Obvs.