Design Mistake #2: The ‘Too Small Rug’

Biggest Design Mistakes_buying rugs that are too small_roundup_emily henderson_expert advice

America has been suffering for too long from ‘too small rug’ syndrome. I see it virtually every day and it pains me, especially when it’s so easily avoided. I’ve been trying to figure out how this plague came to be I think I’ve finally nailed it:

1. Huge rugs can be expensive and can feel like such a scary commitment. 2. A 5×8 or 6×9 rug sound big even though they often aren’t. 3. Catalogs and magazines are misleading. I’ve styled a lot of catalogs where we have to use the sample size (months before the actual rug is available) and its only 5×7 so we ‘make it work’ and in the shot it’s okay, but in actuality that rug is way too small for the room. I also think that retailers know that 5x7s sell so much more because they are cheaper so they don’t stock 8×10’s in the store, so when people go to purchase they think, ‘Well, this must be big enough because its the biggest one’.  Also ordering and waiting is less fun, so people just snag up the 5×7. Lastly nothing is more annoying than getting a rug home and deciding it isn’t quite right, then having to return it – so I think people just don’t.

Click through to see 25 8×10 rugs under $500  …

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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 …

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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):

emily henderson bedroom makeover 5

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):

emily henderson bedroom makeover 6

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:

emily henderson bedroom makeover 2

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.

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Design Mistake #1: The Generic Sofa

I get this question all the time in interviews: What is the #1 mistake that people make when designing (or shopping for) their home? After doing so many makeovers over the last 5 years of real people, I’ve found some consistent solid mistakes to avoid. So, I started writing a post about it and that post was like 15 pages long. I figured that obviously this could be a series.

Biggest Design Mistakes_buying generic furniture_roundup_emily henderson_expert advice

I’m not sure there is a #1 mistake, but buying cheap generic furniture is up there. So often I come into a house and the people have good taste, but they already had a sofa that we had to work with, and that sofa was bad. They didn’t want to replace it because it wasn’t that old and they didn’t mind it. I’ve had to break the news to them over and over, that with this sofa they will never get the room they want. Sure, we have worked with said sofa, and done the best we could, but trust me that a big bad sofa in your room is a bummer (and I’ve never even really blogged about those projects).

But just saying ‘don’t buy cheap generic furniture’ is kinda a dick thing to say. I’m not saying buy expensive sofas (at all) nor am I suggesting to buy super stylized sofas. No one loves a simple sofa more than me because they are so easy to style. But there are some sofas that transcend bad in a way that is hard to come back from; bad fabric, bad shape, weird curved legs or winged arms, multiple fabrics and just what I like to all ‘try-hard’ details. Those are the details that are screaming at you, saying ‘HEY!!! I’M FANCY! LOOK AT ALL MY TUFTS AND NAILHEADS AND CONTRASTING SEAMS, AND SHINY FABRIC, ETC’. Its like putting a hideous, yellow, 80’s bad prom dress on your screaming pet hyena. You are already embarrassed that you have a hyena as a pet, so you don’t really need to attract more attention to it, right?

Here are sofa shapes/styles that you should avoid. If you need more examples simply google image search ‘couch’. It ain’t pretty out there.

Sofas to avoid_roundup_emily henderson

Some of the things on that list could be fine, by the way. I really like this winged sofa, this winged sofa and I don’t mind this vintage two-toned sofa, so if your sofa fits into any of those categories and now you are crying, know that I’m speaking in generalities and it still depends on the sofa (and if you actually own one of these, I’m sorry!!).  Also some of those could be fine if the fabric was different, or if the legs were updated (see me backtracking?? I feel bad already).

I started to think about why people buy generic/bad sofas and I think its two different reasons: cost and availability. These are sofas that are generally inexpensive, and don’t have a long lead time – you can get them in under a week, not the usual 8- 10 weeks that even Pottery Barn and Room and Board have. They tend to be from those ‘furniture liquidation’ or ‘Dave’s Furniture’ stores that are in every town. You can actually go in and sit on them, make the decision together, get it within a week, etc. I get it. I can’t really solve that last problem – those stores just need to start carrying better furniture.

But, until stores across America start selling better furniture, I wanted to present to you some other super inexpensive options that you can buy online and have shipped to you. These sofas are all under $600. That, my friends, is crazy.

Best Sofas under $600_budget sofa_modern_midcentury_affordable_roundup_emily henderson

1. Target Grey Convertable Sofa | 2. Roscoe Grey Sofa | 3. Zuo White Sofa  | 4. Everett Sofa Grey | 5. UO Grey Convertable Sofa |6. Brown Leather Sofa | 7. Navy Convertable Sofa | 8. Grey Tufted Sofa | 9. Retro Chestnut Sofa | 10. Bradley Grey Linen | 11. Tufted White Sofa | 12. Light Blue Sofa | 13. Sienna Futon Grey | 14. Black Leather Couch

You can’t argue with those prices.

Have I personally sat on them? Can I vouch for their quality, comfort and the conditions of where/how they were produced? NO. But are they such better options than your average $500 sofa? YES. Plus, they are all available for purchase online with no lead time (besides delivery, obviously).

For those of you who can spend a bit more ($600 – $1000) I’d like to introduce you to some SURPRISINGLY good inexpensive sofas. Some are from fine retailers that you know (Cb2, West Elm, Target, Urban Outfitters, etc) and some are from surprising retailers that happen to have pretty good inexpensive sofas (Lamps Plus, for instance).

Best Sofas under $1000_budget sofa_modern_midcentury_affordable_roundup_emily henderson_revised1

 

1.Grey and Wood Tufted Sofa | 2. Grey Haze Sofa| 3. Cherie Teal Sofa | 4. Larson Grey Sofa | 5. Tufted Tan Velvet Sofa | 6. Pink Rue Sofa | 7. Albion Sofa | 8. Rachel Slipcover Cream | 9. Grey Wool Tufted | 10. Tufted Highback Blue | 11. Black Leather Sofa | 12. Grey Sofa Bed | 13. Tufted Grey Chesterfield | 14. Midcentury Modern Grey and Wood |

Of course my best recommendation for buying inexpensive but better quality furniture is to go the used/vintage route (Craigslist, KrrbLA, flea market) plus it’s better for the earth. A $399 sofa does provoke the question ‘How is that possible???‘ and I’m really scared of the answer.

But you know what always irritates me is when rich pretentious fashion editors advise us that we should simply save and ‘invest’ in that perfect $600 blazer or $1200 pair of boots that will last for 6 generations, Its like obviously, that is a good idea, if you have that kinda cash lying around in your walk-in LisaVanderpump closet. I remember being so broke in my 20’s that every time I read that in a magazine I would scream, YOU ARE RICH AND YOU PROBABLY GOT THOSE BEAUTIFUL ‘INVESTMENT’ CHLOE BOOTS FOR FREE!!!!! For us normal people when its Friday afternoon and you have fun plans to go out that night and you have $450 in your bank account, a trip to Forever 21 to buy a fun top whose hem will probably rip out within weeks, just makes you so happy. Same with your home – when you don’t have an extra $2 -$4k to drop on that awesome sofa, sometimes just having a new, simple, inexpensive one will make you so much happier when you walk through that door.  Then when you get rich you can buy this one (for me).

To check out the #2 Design Mistake which is buying rugs too small for your space, click HERE

Mixing pillows and patterns; 7 different ways

Today we are mixing a bunch of pillows (and patterns) and then you are going to vote for your favorite pillow combo (using our fancy voting poll widget at the bottom). The winning pillow combination will win a helicopter ride to Aruba, and then a chance at one-on-one hot tub date with Prince Farming. They are so excited and have been tanning and highlighting their hair for WEEKS, so please be sure to weigh each combo properly and vote with your heart.

Here’s how it went down: when I was MANIACALLY organizing and cleaning our house over the break I realized that I had approximately 47 decorative pillows, just hanging out in closets, on furniture, etc. That doesn’t even include what is at the studio. So, before I took them all over to the studio (some to keep for future projects, some for our EPIC garage sale that is coming soon) I figured I’d shoot a little pillow post.

We started with two solid 24″x24″ white linen pillows on both sides and just changed out all the smaller pillows. We didn’t have any big solid pillows to help anchor the corners (which is what you need on a bench like this) – but for most sofas you are fine with 20″x20″ or 16″x16″ even, as long as the other pillows vary in sizes.

Lets get into it:

Pillows_ Bench Midcentury Modern Emily Henderson_Blue and Green

This first one is the ‘Grey Gardens meets Steven Alan, with a side of subtle’. Hilariously enough, this might be the most masculine. And by masculine I mean, like Adam Levine, totally muscular but he would rock a floral shirt. And women across America would faint.

Cream Ruffle: vintage | Blue Floral: vintage | Grey and Yellow Geometric (no longer available) | Teal Blue Yellow Striped | Grey and Yellow Cross | Cream Linen

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