Styling with matching pieces of furniture

Well folks, when we asked for reader questions we got them – over 400 to be exact. We received questions that ranged from how should i arrange my flowers, to should i paint my bathtub, to how can i incorporate my old dorm room furniture into my existing space without it feeling like a dorm. So to say that it took a little while for us to sort through them is a bit of an understatement. I have tried to gather a few of the most common questions that I feel could help anyone improve their space.

A question that came up a few times is:

How do I Incorporate my matching furniture set into my living room so that it does not look like a showroom? Its ironic because I also get the question “how do I make disparate styles work together in a room to make it look cohesive?” which has a different answer obviously, but I know that so many people are in the same boat – they bought a set on sale, and now it doesn’t really represent their personality and are struggling to make the room look as interesting, fun and full of personality as they are.

matching living room furniture

These photos are from readers’ homes (Molly, Jessica and Tiff) struggling with matching furniture. Let me first say that having some matching furniture is not a bad thing. Do you want your sofa, loveseat, side chairs, tables and coffee table to all match? Nay, but some of them could and it can help make a space feel cohesive.

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I mean, I don’t necessarily feel that bad for this house below, clearly they have some awesome stuff (sofa/coffee table, etc).

living room with sofa

Unfortunately we do not all have unlimited budgets (myself included) to go out and buy all different pieces that juxtapose but work together to form the perfect little family of eclectic furniture in our living rooms. A lot of you wrote in and said that you bought a matching chair, couch and ottoman set, while your local furniture store was having its semi-annual sale or have had the same set for years that matches and now don’t know how to make it look fun and eclectic. Thanks to Molly, Jessica, and Tiff for sending in your questions as well as some pictures.

There are a few things to mix it up and make it feel fresh that can easily be done on any budget.

Step 1: Coordinate pillows so that they look good together (on both pieces), but contrast off the sofa.

Most furniture sets come with pillows these days but for the most part they aren’t awesome so chuck those loose pillows and grab a few solids, coordinating patterns and smatter them around the room evenly. My rule is usually 3-4 pillows per couch (1 or 2 in each corner) I also try to get a couple of solids mixed in with a stripe or a pattern to add depth/texture and interest to the space.

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for more pictures of our makeover with Cup of Joe click HERE

mismatch pillows

 for more pictures of this living room makeover click HERE

Step 2: Add throws to break up the monotony of the sofas.

Its such a good trick. You can really transform a couch by adding a throw, blanket or tapestry fabric to the back of the couch. You can drape it over one side, you can fold it up and lay it nicely, or you can even open it up and spread it across the entire back of the couch so that it covers the majority of the cushions.

couch blanket

 for more images of this living room click HERE

You don’t want to necessarily try to fool people, or hide the sofa by throwing the blanket over the whole sofa, but it can really break up the solid back or cushion of the sofa. Just make sure to bring the color of the throw onto the other matching piece.

couch tapestry

 for more images of our makeover with Oh Joy! click HERE

At Joy’s house (above) I put one on the bottom (mainly to be kid friendly) but something like that could totally work to break up a set. And the throw that I used below was a vintage camping blanket which added a lot of interest to the long simple sectional.

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for more images of this living room click HERE

Step 3: Add something weird/vintage.

So you have your matching larger pieces of furniture and now its time to bring in some vintage/eclectic/weird pieces to help shake it up. Add in a vintage side table, a crazy piece of art, some weird lighting, etc.  Your side tables can match each other, but they shouldn’t also match your coffee table. Make sure the scale works – if you have a large set of leather sofas like the middle reader pic then get larger scale tables, too so your big matching pieces are dwarfing everything else and making them even more glaring.

Below you can see how I added some ‘weird’ pieces which always throw off furniture, in a good way. Its like, ‘oh so you thought I was all predictable?’ Well, boom, that vintage painting of the worst president ever definitely shakes things up.

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for more images of this living room click HERE

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for more images of this living room click HERE

A gallery of eclectic/vintage art definitely draws attention away from any boring furniture and makes the room look instantly interesting. Also I realize that these rooms have awesome furniture as well, but you get my point.

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for more images of this living room makeover click HERE

Now its tricky  because you don’t want a piece to be jarringly different to where it looks like an accident or worse, really ‘try-hard’, but keep the color palette consistent, keep the pieces in scale and follow those tips and your matching set will just look cohesive and meanwhile all your pretty pillows, throws and accessories will make the space look interesting.

I think next reader question i’ll try to address one particular readers problems with pictures attached and pretty much redesign the space, so send your questions with as many pics as possible to brady@emilyhendersondesign.com

Styling your entrance and some more organizing products …

Hey guys, for my second post with 3M I played around with the Home Collection and styled up my studio entryway with the product and of course some of my vintage props that i’ve been hoarding, just waiting for their blog debut. The whole idea is to clean off your surfaces and get things up on the wall – visible and yet accessible. For me (being the worst at anything organizational) I have to be able to see it to deal with it because this brain be SCATTERED, and I need all the help I can get.  (See my first post about getting things off my desk, here)

So here’s what you need to style your entry/exit perfectly: 

1. A beautiful vintage modern brass hat and scarf holder. Duh.  (From the flea market and I’m obsessed with it). But seriously, something to hang your hat on – literally. Especially since hats are back. I thought it was just me because i’m a but mom now and doing my hair is a fete reserved for special occasions like when Chris HArrison invites me and my friends to Men Tell All – BECAUSE ITS GOING TO HAPPEN THIS YEAR, I PROMISE!!!!! Meanwhile, until that night i’m seriously wearing a lot of hats these days and having somewhere to put them keeps with my ‘off the surfaces onto the wall’ rule. Also if you aren’t into hats, jackets apply. And if you aren’t into hats or jackets then you could hang your judgement about people that wear hats and jackets here.

Entryway

2. An adorable little console or piece of furniture to put your pretty books and flowers on (we like that Target piece from the Room Essentials line).  Ideally its something with storage because you’ll need somewhere to shove the one million lip glosses and catalogs that you can’t throw away because you haven’t properly combed them yet, but you can’t really leave them on the coffee table because they are catalogs and not magazines and you don’t want to look like a hoarder that just keeps every piece of mail you get (you are, me too, its fine).

3. A lamp that is the perfect height to turn on/off as you are sneaking in or out to meet your secret boyfriend. I’m actually installing an outlet in my entrance (in my house not the studio) because I want to be able to put a pretty lamp there. Its just so nice to walk in and throw on a lamp instead of a huge overhead light and that way you can leave it on for anybody that has yet to come home.

Cute lamp

3. Something that smells nice like candles or a perfect $80 Tom Dixon brass encased candle (it was a gift! do you think I would buy a 90$ candle? … but MY GOD it smells amazing). But seriously, something that smells nice is never a bad idea to have greet you as you come home from work or to mask the smell of kids and cats that you may or may not have. (I do)

4. The most adorable little tray to hold your assistant Brady’s most amazing steam-punk inspired glasses.  Shame on you for having such boring glasses, world. A tray will also hold such things as coins, keys, and general garbage that you will undoubtedly accumulate. You know how I feel about trays – we all need them A LOT. They are the character actor in our blockbuster – under-rated but relied upon greatly. That metaphor might have been a stretch but I live in LA, so what can you expect?

3m home collection

5. Some things to make your chaotic life a little easier. This could include items that help you remember to take the mail with you, like this Post-it Dry Erase Grip Tile or the Reminder Tile, or shopping list/reminders, etc. Now this is sponsored content, clearly, but these things are STRANGELY useful. I suggest you use it in your back door/mudroom not your front door because they are very utilitarian, but having something right by the door that I can shove things into is extremely useful. I actually put things for Brian in here – mainly mail that needs to get dropped off and it works. Again, its off the surfaces and onto the walls – and the less I have on my surfaces, the less chaotic my life feels.

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This little lucite holder can hold one million things – not at a time, clearly, but it could hold your keys and phone, that lip gloss that you are constantly looking for, or in this case dry erase markers for the reminder tile. 

entry console

 

flowers

entryway

One more thing.

Now these things below are called the View and Go Pockets and basically they are pockets that are adhesive on the back so that you can constantly see what you need to deal with – its in your face. For me this is best for invoices, bills, or things that I need to deal with – like canceling a credit card or transferring health insurance.

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You can put these on front of your cabinets if you really need them to be in your face, but I do like them on the inside so i’m forced to see them often but not all the time.  Kinda like your relatives that live an hour away – its good to have them close by but you don’t want Aunt Flossie checking up on Charlie in the middle of the Bachelorette. No you don’t.

Alright folks, the items featured in the post are the Post-it Reminder Tile, Dry Erase Grip Tile, View and Go Pockets, and more  and check out Post-it.com/home for the rest of the Home Collection by Post-it Brand, Scotch Brand and Command Brand.

*This post was in partnership with the Home Collection but all the words, pictures, and ideas are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me/us creating original content. 

Photos by the always lovely and talented Zeke Ruelas, styled by me. 

Time to get organized, folks …

If I could ask a magic genie for one trait it would be to be more organized … well that and the ability to tan. Not really dark, just a light golden glow that would cover all my bruising, veins and make me look a little less like Sissy Spacek in Carrie and a little more like Cate Blanchett.

Anyway, amongst many other new years resolutions (that I didn’t exactly succeed at) I resolved to put my business credit card in a slot in my wallet after using it. My little sausage fingers LOVE nothing more, apparently, than shoving it in the side pocket of my purse, throwing it in the vortex that is my diaper bag, sliding it in my back pocket or even just leaving it on the counter of the store. The amount of avoidable stress it causes me is insane (it gets lost, I have to cancel and relink all of my accounts all the time), and its such a small  easy thing to do – just put it back! You have your wallet out, just put it back!!!!

Point being organizing isn’t my thing so any sort of elaborate organizing system would be lost on me. It would be like a fast food eating child all of a sudden being asked to go paleo; It might last a day or two but ultimately its not the right fit. I’m actually WAY more organized when it comes to business stuff (well, I have Ginny and Brady to help) then with home stuff (like paying bills, dealing with mail, parking tickets, etc) so clients out there, don’t worry. I got you. I just need help on the home front.

blue waterfall desk

So, when 3m showed me their new Home Collection (by Post-it® Brand, Scotch® Brand and Command™ Brands) I was interested but skeptical; The design is simple, sure, including gray and blue colored products (amongst other options) which I appreciate, obviously. What I found out later was that it is based off of a ton of consumer (mostly mom) testing about what they needed and what they felt wasn’t out there. Well, I’m a mom, and kinda a messy/scattered one at that so any help I can get I’ll take.

 

post-it home collection

So, I started playing with the pieces (namely the Display Rail and the Grip Board) and I was surprised how smart they were. I’ve realized that in order for me to keep my every day (and timely) paperwork (bills, invitations, parking tickets) from getting lost (and then me getting sent to collections) I need to be able to see it and access it really easily. Previously I had just piles of paperwork on my dining table but the pieces on the bottom were really never to be seen again.

For the shoot we set up this desk scenario  in the living room (I actually deal with all of this stuff in the studio, but its a TOTAL disaster right now as we are shooting like 9 things down there right now).

blue lacquer desk

I had been hoarding this desk for a while (for sale soon, via Chairish, probably $375) and have wanted to shoot it for the blog before I sell it – you know, so I can hoard the photo of it instead. Its an 80′s waterfall style table and we had it lacquered this awesome blue. So we set up a cute little desk scenario for the post and started playing with the Home Collection (from Post-it® Brand, Scotch® Brand and Command™ Brands).

3m display

At first I thought, “why would you use this Grip Board instead of a bulletin board?” and then I realized that a. I always put things NEAR my bulletin board, but they rarely get actually pinned to them because inevitably I don’t have any extra push pins and b. these take up way less space so you can have them in more accessible areas – while still making everything visible. The Grip Board is soooo easy, guys, you just shove any paperwork in there and it sticks, without a puncture or getting lost on your board. You could have one near your door and then put your outgoing mail or shopping lists there, or on your fridge or even a few in your office area, you could do one per kid or divide it up on subject – like one for social things (invites), kids stuff, home and bills.

3m home collection

The idea is to get things off of your surfaces and in view – to not pile paperwork on top of each other because everything gets lost – namely business cards, tickets, parking tickets, checks that need to be deposited, bills, dr. reminders, etc. The Post-it Grip Board and the Display Rail (again, my two favorites that I found to be extremely smart) are just so easy to throw things into and keep them visible and accessible.

3m home collection2

Next to the Grip Board is a pad of Post-it Full Adhesive Notes that you can write things like: ‘Don’t kill your plants’ or ‘Put on eye cream!!!!!’, two things that I consistently forget to do.

3m office

You can shove things on the bottom of the Display Rail, too, so that items can be displayed on the top and the bottom. And by things I mean your vintage stamps, polaroids, Gerard postcards and perfectly collected business cards – you know, your ephemera that you’ve been hoarding for years from every flea market you go to. Duh. If you want to create a collage of a few items, you can use the Post-it® Display Cards (above) and slip them in the Scotch® Display Rail. Either option works.

desk organizing

And that, folks is The Home Collection by Post-it® Brand, Scotch® Brand and Command™ Brands, check out the whole collection here. May we all stay a little more organized this summer – and therefore a little more sane. xx

Photos: Zeke Ruelas, Styled by me. Thanks Amsterdam Modern for letting me borrow that amazing office chair for the day.

*This post was in partnership with 3M, but all content ideas, creation and words are mine. Thank you very much for supporting the brands/posts that keep us creating original content. 

Guest Orlandopost: I Love it When We’re Styling Together

Photography by Tessa Neustadt

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Dear Emily,

A lot has changed in the past few years. I started my own design practice. You and Brian made a human baby with your bodies. I become the West Coast Creative Director of Homepolish. You started ruling the world and representing Target. It’s been a crazy few years, but super fun. And one of my favorite things about our new careers is that we still get the chance to collaborate every once in a while. So when the chance to play in your dining room arose, I was stoked. The space is amazing, bright, high-ceiling’d. But it needed some life. It needed art.

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Enter the Tappan Collective. Tappan and Homepolish have oodles in common; they make collecting cool art from emerging artists a breeze and Homepolish makes interior design affordable and accessible to all, armed with our dear nation’s best and brightest designers. I want like everything on Tappan‘s site, so needless to say I jumped at the chance to help style the new dining room around this awesome piece by Molly Berman Emily chose for her space. And lucky you, if you pop over to Homepolish right now you can enter to win a version of this exact piece for your own pad!

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There are a few things to keep in mind when styling around artwork. And I’d like to tell you about them now. In list form. Because I am incapable of talking like a normal person. I can only list things.

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1. If you have lots of bitsy things, put them on a tray. This makes the whole scene feel less busy and more in control. For example, if the alcohol and glassware above were just sitting there on the credenza, they would look totally junky and disorganized. Like me on a Saturday morning after a hard night out (just kidding I literally sit inside eating pizza on Friday nights these days, alone, in Garfield pajamas). If you have too many small objects on a surface and they’re not corralled somehow they’ll look crazy. And then you’ll feel crazy. And then you’ll actually become crazy. And all your friends will hate you. Let this be a lesson to all of us to invest in trays so that our collections of objects (or booze) will look neat and organized.

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2. If you are having a styling party, make sure your styling partner is pretty and laughs at all your jokes. That’s why I love working with Emily so much.

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3. Make sure there’s enough light. Emily will be adding a ceiling pendant to this room, but having some nice lighting at eye level is never a bad idea. I love these cute lamps Emily snagged from Target.

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4. Cluster things in groups of 3. Or 5 if you really must. This helps them look natural and collected. Just like Julia Roberts when she’s wearing that red dress in “Pretty Woman” and she looks totally like a classy lady even though like a week before she was wearing crazy boots and a cheap blond wig. Another thing to remember when clustering is to make sure the heights are distinct from one another. Above, we used a tall vase, a medium vase, and low planter to make a happy family.

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5. Make sure you choose items that accentuate the mood of your artwork. This Molly Berman piece from Tappan Collective has such a quiet, peaceful mood. Thus, we chose accessories that complimented the color palette and feel of the beautiful photograph.

With these tips, you will get rich, find the man of your dreams, and get rock hard abs by the time you finish reading this sentence. And you’ll have me to thank for it. You’re welcome.

Love,
Orlando

OMGPS: You can totally WIN the awesome Molly Berman piece from Tappan Collective that Emily has hanging in her dining room. Well, a smaller, more managable version of it at least. CLICK ON THIS LINK to enter. Right now. Or Else!

Resources: Dresser and dining table are vintage from the flea market, lamps from Target, tray from Target (vintage = 2 years ago), vase on dining table from Target (discontinued) and dining chairs from Mid-Century LA (and vintage, but they have more). Vessels are vintage. Morse code rocks glasses from ShopClass in LA. 

Tips to bookshelf styling

I have so many long drafts of 1/2 finished really good posts that just need a couple more hours of work on them, but after I work all day and put Sir. Charles to bed (which is a lovely 3 hour process the last three nights … the little guy is sick and stubborn – we are transitioning out of the swaddle and it sucks) I just stare at the posts with the blankest of thoughts. I simply can’t put so much effort into them and then just hit publish without making them awesome so they just sit there as drafts – taunting me.

So, thank god I remembered that I had another Redbook column from a couple months ago that I never posted. This one is more about styling, less DIY. Its a house that I designed 2 years ago that I still haven’t revealed to you because I wanted to pitch it to a magazine, then I was hoarding it for good maternity leave content, and then writing those posts (before, process, after) are so daunting that I just keep putting them off. But, here’s a sneak peek. The style was french country meets hollywood and its more traditional than I’ve done before and yet I totally still loved it.

emily henderson redbook

The photo is by the lovely Bethany Nauert. Thanks, B. I promise i’ll blog about the rest of the house sometime in the next year or so. I have 3 houses hoarded, ready to post … which leads me to …

The good news is that we found help – after reading through like 120 resumes and interviewing 23 people, (over four days – Ginny did most of them, THANK YOU GINNY!!) we have hired a lovely man named Brady. He is tall, blonde, from Utah, full of skills, creativity, brawn, enthusiasm and very nice necklaces. We are going to get back on our feet, design my house, set up shoots, create some awesome content for you, AND most importantly make all of our wonderful clients and partners even happier. The blog always ends up being last priority because there is no client asking for deadlines and monitoring content (except the sponsored posts, of course) and its solely me writing it (while I do have help with the content and uploading the pics, linking, etc), but its what got me here and you guys are what has literally made it and me a success, so with more help we’ll be able to put it back up to the top of the priority list and blow this sucker out. We have the ideas, just needed  more help .. Welcome to the team, Brady (and thank god for you always, Ginny). xx