Emily Henderson

Extreme Makeover: Orlando Edition

Dear Emily’s Readers,

My apartment has been having a bit on an identity crisis for the past year or so. It used to be all “I’m rustic eclectic!” and then one day my boyfriend moved in and he was all “I like modern!” Then, slowly, my apartment started to look crazy. Like there would be a Milo Baughman chair next to a rustic crate. Much like sitting Courtney Love next to Kelsey Grammar at an awards dinner, placing a Milo chair next to anything rustic doesn’t end well. So I decided it was time for an update.

Emily and I teamed up with West Elm to add some fresh elements to my previously not-so-fresh apartment. Below are the uber-glamorous results:

gallery wall above navy sofa

In the living room, we switched out our vintage sleeper sofa for a beautiful blue sofa. The new sofa is super comfy and perfect for snuggling, so it’s perfect for a night in watching New Girl, trying to figure out of Zoey Deschanel is good-cute or cloying-cute (thoughts?). We’ve gone back and forth with the gallery wall, sometimes replacing it with giant art, but right now I’m really feeling it so I think it’ll stay for a while longer.

Resources: Rug from Ikea, $299, Dunham Sofa ($1499 in performance velvet ink blue), Abstract Art Piece ($179), Ombre Pillow ($34), Giraffe Accessory ($24)


One thing I love about my apartment, and the reason why I will find it difficult to move, is the great light I get. The giant windows in the living room make me so happy. In order to keep them as open/unobstructed as possible, I placed a low waterfall bench in front of them. I found it at St. Vincent for $60 and had it reupholstered in grey linen for $150.

gallery wall above navy sofa

Another update was this Raw Edge Coffee Table ($399). Like me, the table is both woodsy and modern, gritty and streamlined, rugged and refined. OK, I’m done. The art above the sofa, with the exception of the, like, totally awesome Abstract Art Piece from West Elm, is stuff I’ve been collecting over the years, mostly from art school friends.

gallery wall above navy sofa


I found this vintage terrarium at a thrift store and put an air plant in it. Wanna hear a fun fact about air plants? Anyone who says they are easy to take care of is lying. Mine are SO thirsty. Like they wake me up in the middle of the night crying because they are so thirsty. It’s annoying. If you have air plants you have to soak them at least once a week or they’ll die. I know this from personal experience because I’ve killed, like, thousands of them. Sorry, air plants.

succulent centerpiece on rustic coffee table

I’m digging black and white right now, so I have black curtain rods, white drapes, a black and white rug, and a giant black television. The television color I can’t take credit for, but I will say that having a lot of black elsewhere in the room makes me less depressed that my TV is sitting there staring at me all the time.


 Harmon Kardon Sound Bar System ($799)

I’m big into having people over for dinner, so my dining room is one of my favorite spots. I host dinner parties, laugh with my friends, and discuss important topics like clothes, shopping, guys, and the mall.

dining room with john vogel table

In the dining room, we replaced our awkward rectangle table for a round John Vogel piece. The shape is way better for the space and I’m in love with the asymmetry of the base. Let this be a lesson to all of us: If you have an awkwardly small/pass-through dining room, get a round table. They take up less space and are easier to get around. Also, make sure you can push your chairs all the way in. And get a glass table, it takes up less visual space and reflects light throughout the room making the space look bigger. Like your mom.

The chandelier is one of my favorite things in the world. I bought it at a flea market, installed it myself, nearly killing myself in the process. I feared for my life the entire time, convinced I would be electrocuted. But now every time I look at it I appreciate it more. Because I risked my life for it. Have you risked your life for any of the design elements of your home?


One of the main reasons I added shelving to the dining room was that my boyfriend and I are hoarders and had too many nicknacks to display. Now I can gaze upon them each morning as I drink my coffee, thinking about how annoying it’s going to be to move all of them when I have to dust.

john vogel dining table with abstract art

Dining Room Resources: John Vogel Dining Table ($599), Chairs by West ElmVeneer Sphere ($16), Geometric Vase ($29), Shelves from Ikea, $70 (Everything else vintage)

By day, I’m a designer, artist, friend, and helper to Emily. By night, I’m a rotisserie chicken that rolls around and around and around. I have terrible insomnia, it’s just part of my neurotic personality. Thus, I wanted to make my bedroom a soothing, quiet place. Because if you are going to be freaking out about not sleeping you might as well do it in a place that is beautiful, serene, and inviting.


The bedroom greatly benefitted from the screen my boyfriend found on Craigslist for $100. We drove all the way out to Whittier (a charming LA suburb where I’m told “the girls are prettier”) to pick it up. And it makes me happy every day. I stare at it for hours and hours, thinking about the long walks I want to take with it on the beach, the laughs I’ll share with it whilst drinking wine, and how, no matter what, it will always be there for me.


I’m totally obsessed with these amazing affordable sconces from One Forty Three. They cost $145 each, which is totally a steal for a handmade, unique, elegant sconce. When the State of California makes it legal for people to marry sconces, I will be the first person at the courthouse, marrying these sconces as hard as I can.


Bedroom Resources: Linen Cotton Duvet ($149), Standard Pillow Shams ($29), Euro Pillow Shams ($34), Sunset Throw in Grey ($49), Brass Swing Lamp $145 One Forty Three, Rug from Ikea, $249, Simple Low Bed ($249). (Everything else vintage.)

All in all, I’m super excited with how my apartment turned out. Everything in it makes me happy and I love staring at all of it for hours on end. Which is what I’m going to do now. Bye!



This post was produced and art directed by Emily Henderson, space designed by Orlando Soria and all those beautiful photos shot by the amazing Zeke Ruelas. This post was in partnership with West Elm, but all opinions, designs and words are ours.

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  22. OMG! So similar to my apartment. I have a navy blue sofa from IKEA, the same rug, pictures in the wall, white chairs. The big blue picture in the wall, I have one similar from the ocean (IKEA). I will take a look in the West Elm dinner tables. I have a clear/transparent CB2 coffee table instead of the wood coffee table. The console, I still thinking which option would be better. My boyfriend would like a gray wood console, what is your advise? thanks

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  24. LOVE The sofa! Was actually considering this. what model is it? Dunham? Also, do you feel it’s deep enough? worried about it not being deep enough with those big back cushions