How To Create A Design Plan

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Running a small business as a creative person is like a baby giraffe walking across a log, over the rapids, in heels – it’s unnatural, precarious, immensely comical, yet totally possible. Figuring out how to pay yourself and others to do something we would normally do for free is so challenging, and the learning curve is high. 

But, one thing we do know over here is how pull together a design plan – for your home, office, studio, conference room, store, dressing room, etc, no matter what your project or business is. Trying to get employees to be excited, to work hard, to come up with new ideas, and the biggest ‘get’ of all, TO CARE in a really stale and uninspiring office space is extremely difficult. I should know, we used to work in one. 

So, today we are going to walk you through our design process; how we go from the blank (or uninspiring) ‘before’ space, to a real design plan for that space. We partnered with Epson to create a video about the process, and just telling you the steps seemed boring, so we instead made it a one day challenge. It’s like an episode of 24 over here. We all know that each design plan takes days, if not weeks (or months) to produce, but that would be a very long blog post. So watch the video to see what happens then keep on scrolling:

For this project we’ll use our client, we’ll call her Kate, because that is her real name. Here’s her space before we got there:

Epson_Emily Henderson_before

First we take measurements, ask lots of style and color questions, then (once the contracts are signed) we get on it and the fun begins.


Materials Girl #5 – Coral and Teal Fantasy

Materials board

1. Wallpaper | 2 . Fabric | 3. Bowl | 4. Fabric | 5. Blue velvet | 6. Tile by B Zippy | 7. Door knob | 8. Blue tile | 9. Paint chips |10. Wood flooring | 11. Leather

I’m a big fan of fantasy moodboards (much like Fantasy Football) and while these don’t really translate into specific rooms, I just find them visually inspiring. I asked you guys recently whether or not you were into the ‘Material Girls’ series and I got a 60/40 with the 60 being ‘meh, I don’t know what it has to do with me’. So we are going to rethink the series, meanwhile we had a few more already shot and denying the 40% of you a pretty moodboard seemed criminal (plus its friday and its been an insane week of good posts and shoots and we weren’t quite ready with our scheduled rug roundup post).

For this one instead of telling you a fictional story about the girl who would have this style (which many of you found unlikable and I kinda agree) I’m just going to explain some of the design principles as to why this works.

1. There is a consistent color palette of coral and teal, with the addition of some highlights and lowlights (the dark navy and the light blue, #8).

2. The four patterns are all wildly different in scale so they don’t fight for attention, instead play off each other. Remember what I said HERE, that a trick is if you blur your eyes and you can’t tell the difference between the patterns then they are too similar.

3. There is a good mix of cool (blues) and warm (coral) tones keeping it feel balanced without being dated or cold.

4. The wood flooring helps it stay grounded (pun intended) and that grain becomes another texture.

Now, if I were to do this again knowing that the point of it would be to write tips based on it, I would probably have designed it a bit differently and given some other neutrals in there to help break up the coral/teal to make sure that it doesn’t go too young and silly.

If you still aren’t into this, don’t fear, because next week we have already 3 pretty EPIC posts being prepped (and you know that typically I don’t overhype posts). So stay tuned. Happy Friday, folks.

Best Online Art Resources

The Best Sources for Art Online_modern art_online roundup_affordable_emily henderson_photography_cheap_revisedheader

Like a wrinkle on a cover model’s face after 15 hours of retouching, good art is just VERY hard to find. It’s constantly the thing that holds us up the most when wrapping up a design of a house. Furniture needs to be functional and decorative, lighting should be functional and decorative, but art is PURELY decorative and because of that there is just such pressure for you to really love it. It’s insanely personal and can be so expensive, so often buying art can take years. Well, at least it used to.

Gone are the days of only buying expensive art from galleries or at auctions. We can now buy art, from our own sofa whilst watching Bravo …. if you know what websites to shop from, that is. So we did a bit (and by a bit we mean A TON) of research to collect all of the best online art resources for your purchasing pleasure (in no particular order).

Click through to see the whole EPIC roundup of online art resources …


15 bedrooms – You Choose

The other day I was googling myself, as you do, looking for an old project to reference, when so many other old projects popped up – projects that I’ve even forgotten about!  Ginny and Brady were like, ‘You did that? We’ve never seen it before!’ Some of them I’m proud of and some of them I’m really not. Since a lot of you are new and probably haven’t seen 1/2 of them I figured I’d do a roundup of some of my favorite bedrooms that I’ve designed – and see which one you would live in the most, if any (poll at the end). Some of them are a bit controversial and there are definitely some things that make me want to shove my hand through the photo and change, but all of them I really like for different reasons. It’s incredibly hard to be objective about your own work, though. Also my feelings towards the client always effect how much I like/dislike the space.

I’m very curious about all your thoughts – so here you go:

Vintage romantic Canopy bedroom (from 2011):

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This one was from Secrets from a Stylist and while I could lose that intense orange, I just love that bed and that bedroom so much. See full post here | Photo credit: Bethany Nauert

Hollywood Regency Master bedroom makeover (2013):

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Sometimes I seriously regret selling them those teal rams head lamps. I’m doing another project for them soon so I might, you know, steal these for myself. See full post here | Photo credit: David Tsay

Curbly’s bedroom makeover 2014:

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The Curbly makeover is still one of my all time favorites – and YES, that is a Target bed. So good. See the full post here | Photo credit: Melissa Oholendt

Click through to see 10 more.


1 Dresser styled 4 different Ways

Much like my love for Fresca, Vietnamese food, marathon-ing tv shows (strangely into The Arrow and The Affair right now) and thrifting, my love for mixing all styles together never wanes. Sure, there are times when one style get more attention, or a new style captures my eye, but ultimately as long as its good, I don’t care what style it is. Of course mixing them together does get tricky at times (which is one of the biggest chapters in my upcoming book), but it can be done.

Welcome to 1 dresser, styled four different ways:


Click through to break down these style and vote for your favorite!