My guest room makeover

Let’s just make it official: My days of being conservative in my house are over.

At this point I’m just using it for design experiments — a testing ground to try out weird stuff and a place to push myself creatively. It’s hard to convince clients to do crazy stuff; most don’t want to do anything that is too far out there, which I understand.

But for me? I’m no longer scared of doing something totally nuts in my more temporary rooms in my house (aka guest room, hallways, bathrooms, dining rooms — less so in bedroom and the main living spaces). I’ve gotten very dramatic in the last year and it’s not letting up anytime soon.

When we moved into the house I had to pick the paint colors in like two hours and I wasn’t ready to commit to really saturated colors. I had no idea what direction I wanted to go in. So I chose a pretty neutral for this guest room that ultimately isn’t doing it for me. It looked like this:

benjamin moore agean teal

No, drug addicts do not live here.  Obviously there was bedding on the bed and a lamp or two, but we cleared it out to paint, m’kay?


I have a whole wall of closets with mirrored fronts from Ikea on the other side of the room (we had a serious lack of storage) so this room is like 1/2 guest room and 1/2 my closet/parlour. And when we make a baby then it’s probably going to be the baby room, so I wanted to do something fun for that little one to start brainwashing bright colors into his/her little penetrable brain as early as possible.

I’ve been crazy inspired by Miles Redd lately and his totally insane use of color. He takes risks that I’ve previously been scared to. See?


So exciting and bold, pushing all color boundaries.

But it’s kinda terrifying to put such bold colors on the wall, so when Valspar told me about their “Love your color guarantee,” I was interested. Right now they have this thing where if you don’t love your first color, then you can get your second color for free (up to two gallons) until Oct 8th. This is the time to take the risks, friends. Besides your labor, there is nothing to risk. Just go for it.

I chose Valspar “Four Leaf Clover” and “Deep Sea Diving.” They are both super saturated (meaning full of pigment). There is nothing neutral about these two colors.

valspar paint clover green

I decided that I wanted to try the two-tone-wall-painting-thing that I’ve been loving everywhere, and play with painting the door and moldings. So I taped the wall like so:

taping off walls for painting

I knew I wanted to do the room mainly in the green, but I wasn’t sure if the blue would be on top or if I should just do white. I kinda played it by ear. The height I chose was fairly arbitrary — I knew I didn’t want it to be low enough that it looked like a chair rail, BUT, I didn’t want just a stripe around the top, so I chose something in between. It’s around 5’7″ — slightly taller than I am.

emily henderson painting valspar paint

And then I started painting. I can’t stress this enough — painting is actually super easy, and the easiest and fastest way to change the look of your room if you are bored. Two gallons cost around $40 and even if you are slow at it, it MIGHT take one day. This project took a full day because we had three colors and we were working with semi-gloss, which takes longer to dry.


OK, the green was up. And boy was it up. It was GREEEEEEEEEEN, and I was happy. But if you aren’t, just buy a different color because for the next two months they have the whole guarantee thing, which is awesome.

At this point I realized I definitely wanted to do the top white to brighten the space and use the blue on all the doors and moldings. You heard me. I chose semi-gloss because the room is kinda dark and I wanted to brighten it up and bounce some light around. Plus, I’m loving the look of glossy walls right now. I’m not sure if that was the right choice — in person it looks pretty great but it was sooo hard to shoot because of the reflection. You’ll see.

clover green valspar paint kelly green

So much better.

kelly green first coat

I’m absolutely loving this green. Again it’s “Four Leaf Clover” by Valspar.

After playing around with the styling (I’ll show you the out-takes next week), I finally finished the design and decor.

Drumroll please …

blue green pink bedroom-1

green stripe wall

lands end blanket

Bearcat is totally in love with this room, too. Although, man, with only one window it was super hard to shoot. This is why people hire professional photographers, but I like the challenge (and splurged on a camera so there is no going back now).

green and white walls

hot pink headboard-1

Let’s talk sources:

1. Headboard: I found the fabric at Michael Levine and gave my upholsterer a drawing with the dimensions. I wanted something more custom than just straight across, but I didn’t want anything too feminine because it’s in pink already, for god’s sake. The making of the headboard was $250 (I know, super cheap. I went into the valley to find a new upholsterer whose prices are ridiculous). There are some places where the fabric pulls weird because it’s kinda stretchy. It would bum me out if it were for a client, but since it’s for me, I’m kinda fine with it. Lesson learned — don’t try stretchy fabric in a tricky shape, especially with a language barrier. But I’m OK with it; it was cheap, and it’s for my guest room.

I love pink and green together, and wanted to take a risk with this bad boy and I love it. I put it on a standard metal frame with a bed skirt. Upholstering the whole bed would have cost wayyy more and it wasn’t a priority.

pink and green

2. Lamps: All lamps are vintage, from the flea market, but stay tuned in September for my One Kings Lane Tastemaker sale because I’ve been collecting, nay, hoarding, a ton of regency and ’70s Palm Springs lighting to sell in the sale.

3. This vintage painting is from the flea market for $70 and I absolutely love it. I don’t know who she is or anything about it, really, but those colors and the way that it’s abstract, but not, draws me in. I had it framed at Hotel De Ville in Echo Park and I’m obsessed with it. I think the framing cost $250.

blue and green bedroom

4. The drapery: I love this print and have wanted to use it for awhile, but Brian’s not on board with it so it was relegated to the guest room. It’s Tommy Bahama if you can believe that (once I saw that printed on the fabric I had a wave of regret, but then I was like, No, Emily, if you like it, you like it. And I love it.) It was $20 a yard and I could only find 3 yards (which is why there is only one panel, but I’m kinda OK with it.)

5. The pillows: Strangely enough HomeGoods had a pillow in the same fabric. I couldn’t tell if this was a great idea of a bad idea, but I took the risk and bought it. The blue pillow is from Lands End (as is that throw, which is my favorite — so chunky and warm and doesn’t shed) and the gold pillow is from West Elm.

6. The rug is from Cost Plus for $29.99. I’m on the fence about it and might move my other rug into here … I’ll never stop playing. But for now it works and was a good cheap option.

gold pillow

tommy bahama fabric-1

These chairs, you know I got at a thrift store for $60 each. Eat your vintage heart out. Yes, that button needs to be replaced but I’m too lazy to get around to it. The brass chinese lamp is from the flea market for $15.

mirror shot

Weird shot, I know, but it was so hard to pull back and show you the context of the room, so I had to do this weird mirror shot. I love a pair of chairs at the end of the bed and these two were almost too perfect. The color is literally identical to the wall color — which I’m just kinda going with. It’s a crazy room, so why not have your chairs match your walls? Normally I’m a big fan of a bench at the end of the bed, but when you can find two matching chairs that are low enough, go for it.


That door is non-functioning (it opens, but no need to), and the layout of the room was extremely limiting due to the wall of closets and the bathroom in the other corner, so I’m just kinda pretending that the door doesn’t exist. That lump of black is The Bear.

  lands end pillow

pink and green I love that pink and green combo.

Things I learned or general tips:

1. Using semi-gloss looks good in person, but if I were to do it again I would probably use flat. Miles Redd has all his walls professionally lacquered (not even sure how to do that) and that’s why they are sooooo high gloss, but the semi doesn’t really give off that look and it’s hard to shoot.

2. In darker rooms (like this one) you need to paint the room a color as opposed to a white or beige. It’s counter-intuitive, I know. But pretty white walls are only pretty if you have light bouncing around, otherwise they look dead. This room has so much life now, and it feels bigger in a way.

3. While I love the blue door, I’m not sure about the blue molding. It’s fun to shoot, but I’m going to live with it for a month and see how I feel, and then possibly paint it white. Because painting is just that easy.

4. At first I had yellow mixed in here (I’ll show the outtakes tomorrow) and it was cuckoo. When dealing with such bold (and kinda primary) colors, stick to three strong colors — anymore and it starts to look absolutely nuts, accidental, and really unsophisticated.

blue green pink bedroom-1

Again, the colors are “Four Leaf Clover” by Valspar and “Deep Sea Diving.” I love them both, a lot. I strongly encourage you to experiment more in your house with paint colors. Sure, maybe y’all aren’t as obsessed with decorating as I am and have other priorities (work, children, sleep), but it was so fun and satisfying to do … and it took one day of painting and one day of styling/decorating. Now every time I go in that room to change clothes, I get extremely happy. It’s bold and crazy, but pulled together enough (with the paired back color palette) to not actually scare anyone. It’s totally me.

So who wants to be my guest? And check out all the details at

***This post was happily sponsored by Valspar Paint. And thank you for Valspar paints for sponsoring this because I never would have motivated to do it without some encouragement. Sponsored posts = better content, I promise. 

  1. I'll come stay! I love the room, job well done. These posts I love the most. I wish I lived in an area with better thrift shops, because you find the best things. May I suggest getting a camera strobe light to brighten up your photos? I would love to shoot for your blog, too bad i'm in Florida :(

  2. decorbuddy

    What a difference furnishing make! Although I am not opposed to bold color and plan to do some in my own home this summer, I wasn't sure where you were going with all of that Clover Green. When you added your furnishings, it was amazing! You are so talented and inspire me to continue my eclectic journey through life. I wish you had a shop in No. Cal (Sac area) where I could purchase all the wonderful things you find. You have a great eye. Keep it up. Continue to inspire us.

  3. Looks absolutely amazing! At first I wasn't sure about all that green but you really pulled it off in the end. Lucky guests!

  4. I LOVE it. I just did a crazy color and headboard in my room. It makes me happy! And so does your guest room. I want to come and stay for sure.

  5. Wow. This looks so beautiful! I'm especially in love with the painting–all the greens in her dress look so beautiful with the wall color.

  6. Shannon

    I love that you painted the door frame blue, too. It's unexpected but reads in a very current, color-blocking sort of way. I think painting over it in white would be a bummer! Love everything, especially the way the semi-gloss shows the character/ age of the walls. It's something that some designers would hate, but it's something I love!! why fight it?

  7. Kai

    Wow! I recently painted my bedside tables a glossy emerald green and they're like jewelry for my otherwise neutral room. Now I'm thinking I might need a bright pink headboard!

  8. mosey

    I love anything green and this room with the added awesome blue and pink looks fantastic! Of course that bed looks scrumptious too. Now I need to try to find the guts to play with my brand new home. I'm such a wuss.

  9. So bold and so amazing! Love the pink headboard against the green. I also used the tommy bahama fabric in my kids' bath. has them if you need more( and it's cheaper!)

  10. Elyse

    This is one my favourites of yours. I absolutely love that green, and have actually been saving pics of this exact green and pink colour combo for a future post, so you'll definitely be included! It's incredible that you have managed to create a room that has bright pink headboard and yet is still very masculine.

    I agree with you about the rug, but don't think it detracts from the room. I'm kind of loving the blue moulding though – it's daring. I'll be interested to see the pics of the yellow splashes!

  11. So, so good. You are a genius.

  12. I have to admit I thought you were crazy until I got to the photo with the pink headboard against the green wall. It just works, and it's bold and awesome. I have a very dark guest room as well, and I painted it dark gray to make it cozy, but it'd pretty blah. I hate it so much that I keep the door closed and avoid going in there at all costs. Maybe I'll paint it teal (loved that new episode of SOAS, by the way).

  13. vel

    OMG! it is gorgeous! I honestly was a little "scared" of the green but when I saw the final product – wow! Only a person like you can pull off something really unthinkable at the start then come out with a bang! great job emily!

  14. You are an f@ing genius. This room is sick sick sick! Love everything you do.

  15. dana @ hotel de ville lifestyle

    Emily! The painting looks so great with the green wall!!! Bravo m'lady!

  16. that fantastic painting makes the room. I recently found a great kinda abstract-y vintage art piece and thought of you when I bought it. it's in navy. I can feel your jealousy from here. donna

  17. Jenny

    Gorgeous and totally inspirational! I am sooo impressed. I loved watching this room progress. Thanks for sharing

  18. Wow! I love it. Can I come stay? I am in love with that shade of green right now. I love how you stopped it at that height, it's more interesting than if it had gone up to the top. Not sure about the blue trim (but I love it on the door) but I think that's just me.

  19. Samantha

    Luuuuuuuuuuurve it.

  20. I love it! Lucky, lucky guests!

  21. Kimberly

    I am blown away by how awesome that room looks. Once again I was reading and looking at the pics and was a little scared, especially when I read you were going to do the blue doors/mouldings with the green paint and then you get it all together and styled to perfection and my jaw drops by how incredible it is. You are truly amazing. I love it!!

    By the way, I'm still hoping to hear back from you on that chair that I fell in love with in the SFAS episode called Eclectic Artsy Odyssey. I know your blog said that you purchased it at 45 Three Modern Vintage but I'm just looking for the name of that style/manufacturer or something similar. I love that it has a wood base and ottoman that matches and it looks like a comfy little cradle. Anyways, I've sent a couple E-mails but I'm not sure if you're getting them so I wanted to try a post. I'm desperate for any information on that chair that can help me locate something similar. Thanks!!

  22. Mixy

    Fab room.

    Would not want to sleep under that weird skull…

  23. Lizhavens

    I came across some outdoor chair cushions similar to the tommy bahamas fabric at (and don't write me off for this) Walmart:
    The colors may not be as vibrant (and who knows how they would look in person vs. online), but if you're looking for something similar for the outdoors, there you go.

  24. This post is soul food! I love the mounted steer head (I'm just pretending that I know what type of animal head that is) and the art work so much. I'm so inspired by your courage to go bold. Heck yes I want to be your guest!

  25. Lesley

    Whoa…that green and pink combo is to die for. This room looks so full of life yet relaxing at the same time. If you let me be your guest, I'll fix that damn chair button for you:). If I may quote you back to you….it's dope! Love when you share your rooms!

  26. renngrrl

    Me! I will come down and we can go to PCC swap at the crack of dawn. Back in my day, the trick was to get there before the shoppers from disney arrived on site. oh the memories…

    ps you're brave to go bright and semi-gloss on the walls but the green totally works on camera.

  27. 1. I am in love with that green. Good work.
    2. I'm a BIG fan of the blue trim! I especially like it around the blue door. Keeeeeep it.
    3. Good colour use tips. Thanks.

  28. rebecca

    cool. totally love it. i'm totally into saturated colors these days too! also love the tip about not painting a small dark room white cuz it will look dead–lurve it and gonna try going cray cray in one of my small rooms! totally motally man.

  29. decorbuddy

    Have to say I also loved the 2nd inspiration pic you listed of your inspiration designer. I also clipped that pic in hopes of upholstering my hallway doors. Love the b&w flooring and the whole hall, overall. I have never been so inspired by an individual designer (until you, of course) but rather am inspired, in general, by what "hits me" in a photo. I am rarely impressed by a person I don't know. It's the art, girl. Makes me feel fine. I love to see what you are doing next. If you ever get back to the Fair Oaks area for a project, please advertise. I'd love to come visit a local store where you might be giving a presentation.

  30. Kate

    Love it. Seriously it's awesome. I've never been a lover of colored trim, but kudos for trying it! Did you think about painting the door the same as the walls? I'm not a designer by any means, so that could be a no no, but it seems like it would work.

  31. Emily this space is so freaking gorgeous!!! I am in love. Amazing work. I wish we could have shot this for the book.

  32. Lori

    Awesome color choices. I had the same semi-gloss experience. Plus the wonky walls in my ancient house became even more noticeable which I thought might be cool but not so much. Miles has the budgets to perfect walls first obviously :) Calico Corners also has that leaf fabric.

  33. Tonia

    Total eclectic sexiness!! I'm in love with the pink upholstered headboard. I think it really sets the tone for the space. BRAVO!! I love it.

  34. Mary

    This is fucking beautiful and totally amaze balls. I'm in love.

  35. christa

    Love it.

  36. Lucy

    So pretty! What sells it for me is the headboard, painting and that fab gold (or brass?) bamboo side table. BTW- as someone who checks out One Kings Lane on a daily basis I am really psyched about your upcoming tastemaker collection. Can't wait to see what you've curated.

  37. Julia

    I love everything about this room! I've never considered green for a wall color but it looks great, especially with the pink

  38. Wow, no words- it looks amazing! I love the treatment of the walls with the green/white. Looks amazing!!

  39. What a great post! Usually I would think that bright green walls with a pink headboard would be nuts, but you can make anything look good!

  40. belinda

    Emily you constantly amaze and inspire me with your posts and shows. This room is ridiculous goodness.
    Loving your work, your style and I think most of all I like your generous and cheerful personality, best wishes all the way from Melbourne Australia.

  41. Mary

    It's an interesting idea. I do love the pink with that green color. And call me crazy, but I like the curvy lines in the headboard. I am on the fence with the white and green breaking on the walls. I get why you did it, but not sure about the transition between the two. Love the styling, as always.

  42. Ann

    wonderful wonderful..
    shows that paint is only part of it- styling styling styling…
    and you do it so well…
    reminds me of The World of Interiors…
    my favorite magazine..

  43. Wow, I am going through a similar Miles Redd phase myself. This turned out amazing. You really captured it! Congrats!

  44. LOVE it- you have such great style- the green/ hotpink head board combo is to die for

  45. Sunnie

    That's inspiring me to choose a bold color in my bathroom. Most of walls are saturated colors but I was thinking of pulling back some in my bathroom but what the hay – I'll go for it!

  46. heather

    @mbc, i loved that AT tour too! I loved how he painted faux molding around the windows! Such a smart idea.

  47. Molly

    I never thought I would like darker green on a wall, but wow. You've made me a believer! I also love the chairs at the end of the bed – never thought of that!!

  48. Maggie O

    ah, a shiny wall – nice. I'm also not sure about the break to white – however the white and green looks fantastic with that portrait. But if it was all green, I would stay with the sheen – it would be a little more enveloping and (oddly) more of a background. A little more pattern somewhere and I'm sold.

    Also, that leaf print reminds me of the wallpaper in the Beverly Hills Hotel – not that I've seen it in person. Nate Berkus and his boyfriend have that particular wallpaper – I learned that in a design magazine. Design magazines are just so rich with all kinds of pictures. Way to go with the Miles Redd inspiration.

  49. stunning!

  50. Angeline

    Oh, Emily, I love the room!
    My favorite thing about your designs is how the art relates to the rest of the room – I so wish you could makeover my home!

  51. Amazing what you can do with a little paint + and a lot of imagination + talent. You continue to inspire me to push myself to try new things. And I agree – the best place to practice is in your own home. WAY too scary with clients or friends. Beautiful guest room! Love it…

  52. I am so much in love with the two-tone! I have been DYING to do this at my own place – which will absolutely be happening in the next few weeks as my husband and I finally move in to a paint friendly apartment!

    Good for you and congratulations on feeling more gutsy with color. Really, the crisp white and the very saturated green with the pink and navy accents is just stunning. I hope to one day have the lady-balls that you have!

    You should list the room on — that way you and your hubby and Bearcat and General Meow can make some extra money while us design-crazed blog addicts slowly take turns being your guest. =)

    Can't wait to see/hear about other color risks you will take and their undoubtably beautiful outcomes.

  53. Caitlin

    Wow! Amazing! I DIE. Love, love, love. The color combos, the furniture, the painting. It's all so good. Thank you for the inspiration…come over and hang out, let's be bffs.

  54. nkp

    I have every color of the rainbow in my house and just love the green you've chosen for your space! My dining room is green and I've been looking to stay in the same palette, but freshen it up. This may just be the green I've been searching for! I have to admit though, my very favorite item is that sublime portrait in the perfect gold frame and the way you've so cleverly hung it straddling the green and white . It's just perfection. Bravo, Emily!

    Thanks for sharing!


  55. Love this Emily! It looks classic and elegant in a very modern girly way. The green and pink look great. Love the vintage art too!

  56. Yet another reason for me to move in with you and Brian.

  57. I love this room so much. The room is beautiful, it isn't forced if that makes sense and I love the colors you used and how you divided the wall with paint without molding. Again beautiful!!!

  58. renngrrl

    I just realized you are renting. How rare and wonderful to have a landlord who lets you paint! Please pass my thanks along to him because I love what you do when you design for yourself (your glass house challenge room is still in my top ten rooms)

  59. Totally cray cray, but I love it!

    And THANK YOU for your words of wisdom re white paint. Light paint in dark rooms no worky.

  60. I'm green with envy. Well done!

  61. Sheri Shay

    Love everything about it!!! Good "Emily style" spin on the east coast blue blood moneyed look.
    I do think the window casing would be fabulous in white,( jus sayin)
    You ma dear, are very inspirational !!
    Sheri Shay
    Designer Junk Finder

  62. Megan

    I love your room! I did a guest bedroom with a similar green – all 4 walls and the ceiling. I've had some people ask if the color was intentional. What do they know?! Your room has so much character. Thanks for sharing!

  63. WOW I absolutely love this room! I can't even point out one thing, because I think its all amazing! The headboard, the white-green wall color, the 60's chairs, the chinese light, the 60's lamps, the antler thing over the bed! It is so edgy and tongue-in-cheek, but also totally comfy and relaxing-looking… (If that's a thing…) Anyway, I was wondering where you got that amazing antler-thing? I don't think you mentioned it in the post and I love it!

    Anyway, great job!!

  64. ummm

    it looks like a cheap truck stop motel. seriously…classless

  65. Paula

    LOOOOOvvveeeee this room!

    Are there any shots of the bedside table between the bed and the wall? I am curious to see what type of unmatched side tables you have going on. Such a styling genius!

  66. Kelly

    Thank you for sharing tip #2!!! I can't ever stress this enough when working with clients.
    The room looks amazing, as do your photographs. Thanks for sharing the process.

  67. Oh, Emily.
    How you have my heart. I am continuously inspired in my own work by the risks you take. I'm 22 years old and just started offering decorating and styling services this past summer, and it's work like this that continues to motivate me to try harder, be better, and improve. Thank you for always sharing with us!

  68. chairs from a thrift store for $60?!? You seriously luck out! I've been looking for just one chair (I'm just north of NYC in Westchester County) and am having no luck. room looks great tho!

  69. Val

    Can't wait for your One Kings Lane Sale then, 'cause I seriously WANT one of those 70s Palm Springs inspired wall lamps for my MCM!!!

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